Monday, August 20, 2012

Getting Into the Elul Mood

Here is an excellent lesson from Rabbi Avraham Shapira zt"l called The Power of Preparation. I think that it can help us get into the Elul mood:
Each year, in the month of Elul, I call to mind how the Hafetz Haim used to conduct himself at this time of the year. I used to attend prayer services in Zichron Moshe. Many great rabbanim who had come to Eretz Israel from Russia had made Zichron Moshe their home and place of prayer and study. Among them was the Rav of Radin (Poland), R. Zalman Sender, who was also a relation of HaRav Herzog. He would tell me about the Hafetz Haim who used to live in Radin. The Hafetz Haim was not the Rav of Radin. He served as Rav for a time and then resigned, and lived there as a simple member of the community. And from this too - from the manner in which the Hafetz Haim lived as a simple member of the community - there is much to be learned.

Years later when R. Sender was in Eretz Israel, he would tell me how, each year, on the Shabbath preceding Rosh Hodesh Elul, when the blessing for the new month was said, and the hazan announced: "Rosh Hodesh Elul will be on this and this day..." the Hafetz Haim would begin to tremble and shake! It was not yet Elul, but the mere mention of the month was enough to cause the Hafetz Haim to be filled with trembling.
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