An Ashkenazi shofar
The shofar is blown every morning from the first day of Elul until Rosh Hashanah (except on Shabbat).
Native nameאֱלוּל (Hebrew)
CalendarHebrew calendar
Month number6
Number of days29
SeasonSummer (Northern Hemisphere)
Gregorian equivalentAugust–September
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Elul (Hebrew: אֱלוּל‎, Standard ʾElūl, Tiberian ʾĔlūl) is the twelfth month of the civil year and the sixth month of the religious year in the Hebrew calendar. It is a month of 29 days. Elul usually occurs in August–September on the Gregorian calendar.[1]


The name of the month Elul, like the names of the rest of the Hebrew calendar months, was brought from the Babylonian captivity, and originated from the Akkadian word for "harvest". A similar month name was also used in Akkadian, in the form Elūlu. The month is known as Araḫ Ulūlu "harvest month" in the Babylonian calendar.

Eylül is also the name for September in Turkish; this is derived from Arabic: أيلول ʾAylūl, used in Iraq and the Levant (see Arabic names of Gregorian months), from Classical Syriac: ܐܝܼܠܘܼܠ, romanized: Īlūl, also tracing its origin from the Akkadian word Elūlu. In Hebrew, a popular backronym for Elul is from a verse in the Song of Songs: Ani LeDodi VeDodi Li (Chapter 6, verse 3A).[2]


In Jewish tradition, the month of Elul is a time of repentance in preparation for the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The word "Elul" is similar to the root of the verb "search" in Aramaic. Jewish sources from the 14th century and on write that the Hebrew word "Elul" can be understood to be an bacronym for the phrase "Ani L'dodi V'dodi Li" – "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine", referring to one's relationship with God.[3] Elul is seen as a time to search one's heart and draw close to God in preparation for the coming Day of Judgement, Rosh Hashanah, and Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur.[4] Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi compared, by way of analogy, the month of Elul to a king visiting his peasants in the field before returning to his palace.

During the month of Elul, there are a number of special rituals leading up to the High Holy Days. It is customary to blow the shofar every morning (except on Shabbat) from Rosh Hodesh Elul (the first day of the month) until the day before Rosh Hashanah. The blasts are meant to awaken one's spirits and inspire believers to begin the soul searching which will prepare them for the High Holy Days. As part of this preparation, Elul is the time to begin the sometimes-difficult process of granting and asking for forgiveness.[4] It is also customary to recite a Psalm 27 every day from Rosh Hodesh Elul through Hoshanah Rabbah on Sukkot (in Tishrei).

Aside from the blowing of the shofar, the other significant ritual practice during Elul is to recite selichot (special penitential prayers) either every morning before sunrise beginning on the Sunday immediately before Rosh Hashanah, or, if starting Sunday would not afford four days of selichot, then the Sunday one week prior (Ashkenazi tradition) or every morning during the entire month of Elul (Sephardi tradition). Ashkenazi Jews begin the recitation of selichot with a special service on Saturday night between solar mid-night (not 12:00) and morning light on the first day of Selichot.

Many Jews also visit the graves of loved ones throughout the month in order to remember and honor those people in our past who inspire us to live more fully in the future.

Another social custom is to begin or end all letters written during the month of Elul with wishes that the recipient have a good year. The standard blessing is "K'tiva VaHatima Tova" ("a good writing and sealing [of judgement]"), meaning that the person should be written and sealed in the Book of Life for a good year. Tradition teaches that on Rosh Hashanah, each person is written down for a good or a poor year, based on their actions in the previous one, and their sincere efforts at atoning for mistakes or harm. On Yom Kippur, that fate is "sealed."

In Jewish history

See also


  1. ^ "Rosh Chodesh Elul" ראש חודש אלול. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
  2. ^ "Welcome to Elul: Relationship is the key". My Jewish Learning. 2013-08-07. Retrieved 2022-08-30.
  3. ^ "Shir Hashirim - Song of Songs - Chapter 6". Chabad.org. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
  4. ^ a b Suissa, David (21 August 2013). "Love in the time of Elul". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
  5. ^ Hapardes Rabbinical Monthly Journal Volume 19 Issue 7 October 1945 Page 7 (retrieved July 19, 2020)
  6. ^ "Hamodia, Inyan Magazine (Vol. XV, Issue 706), April 25 2012 Kinyan L'Shabbos Page 16". ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)