1. Month of Elul
2. Shir Hashirim an Allegory of Love Between Hashem and Am Yisrael.
3. Return to the True Relationship.
Month of Elul
"I am for my beloved and my beloved is for me." (Shir Hashirim 6, 3). The first Hebrew letter of each of the words in this verse spell out Elul. The connection between Hashem and Am Yisrael is one of a marriage. Am Yisrael is compared to as the maiden and The Holy One Blessed Be He the husband.
Shir Hashirim as Allegory of Love Between Hashem and Am Yisrael
Chazal have taught us that Shir Hashirim is not a book of love between a man and a woman, but rather about Hashem’s eternal love for Am Yisrael. This connection between Am Yisrael and our Father in heaven is an eternal bond. Just as a husband needs his wife (his ezer kinegdo) to be complete in life and he cannot realize his full potential without her, so it is also with Hashem and his ezer kinegdo- Am Yisrael. Hashem created Am Yisrael to be his partner. He structured the continued existence and development of this world upon the condition that there be a nation that would carry out his will and be, in essence, his helpmate.
The Beloved (Hashem) knocks on his beloved’s (Am Yisrael’s) entrance and requests that she lets him in. Even at times when she may respond with distance, evasion, forgetfulness and reluctance to open the door, Hashem repeats his entreaties and rouses her from her apathy. He knows that the pure, complete and unblemished heart of Am Yisrael lies beneath this exterior shell of distance and apathy. "My heart of my beloved beats". Once the shell is removed this heart will be revealed, for this period of distance is temporary but Hashem’s true relationship with Am Yisrael is eternal and everlasting.
Thus, the maiden does eventually search for her Beloved. The bride realizes her admiration for her Beloved and seeks Him. She now knows that "My beloved is white and ruddy, and distinguished among ten thousand" and "His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are wavy, and black as a raven." She beseeches Him: "Draw me, we will run after thee. The king has brought me into his chambers. We will be glad and rejoice in thee."
Return to the True Relationship
This is the essence of the month of Elul. "I am for my beloved and my beloved is for me." It is the month of refreshed and renewed closeness between Hashem and Am Yisrael. This renewed bond is not only desirable to the Am but is also Hashem’s will. Hashem rules this world through his mercy. "He does not desire the death of the guilty, but in his repentance he shall live". Hashem desires tschuva and is forgiving. He does not tire of forgiving his people because He wants them to be pure. And so He persists and pursues them just as a father seeks to exonerate and help cleanse his son even though his son might object to his endeavors.
Hashem also desires the purification of his partner. He is, therefore, overjoyed when she turns to Him and accepts her as if she had never been distant from Him. "He has not beheld iniquity in Yaakov nor has he seen perverseness in Yisrael." (Bamidbar 23, 21). "As a flower of the pomegranate is your emptiness. Even your empty ones of Am Yisrael are filled with mitzvoth like a pomegranate." (Brachot 57, A).
The month of Elul is a month of repentance, a month of true happiness, a month of reconnecting. "I am for my beloved and my beloved is for me". This happiness does not lessen the need for introspection and awe, rather it deepens and greatens the quest for true tschuva. "O joyous is Israel, before who do you purify yourself, and who purifies you, our Father in heaven"(Yoma 85, B).