Saturday 4th September 2020 16th Elul 5780


Deut. 26:1-29:9 (29:8 in TaNaCH); Isaiah 60:1-22; Matt 4:13-24 (Rev. 21:10-27)

by Michael Hillel, Netanya, Israel

In August of 1967, The Young Rascals recorded what would become their fourth Top Ten hit, How Can I Be Sure? The chorus echoes in our thoughts as we traverse the month of Elul in preparation for the Days of Awe, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

How can I be sure, in a world that’s constantly changing?

How can I be sure, where I stand with you?

The month of Elul is a time of introspection, looking back on our lives and actions, on our thoughts and motives, on our attitudes toward the world around us. A time not just to examine, but more importantly to adjust or change what is needed and to work toward reconciliation or restoration when required—both with God and with our fellow man (or woman). So, what does Elul have to do with this song? How can we be sure where we stand in our relationship with our God as well as with others? In Deuteronomy 10:12–13, Moses encouraged Israel,

So now, O Israel, what does Adonai your God require of you, but to fear Adonai your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul, to keep the mitzvot of Adonai and His statutes that I am commanding you today, for your own good?