I don’t believe in coincidences. I don’t know how broadly special timing applies in spiritual matters, but I want to share this with as many godly people as I can because I think I have a godsend here.
Psalm 90 is credited to Moshe. I found these verses particularly moving
“So teach us to count our days,
so that we will become wise.
Return, LORD! How long must it go on?
Take pity on your servants!
Fill us at daybreak with your love,
so that we can sing for joy as long as we live.
Let our joy last as long as the time you made us suffer,
for as many years as we experienced trouble.
Show your deeds to your servants
and your glory to their children.
May the favor of The LORD our G-d be on us,
prosper for us all the work that we do —
yes, prosper the work that we do.”
-Psalm 90: 12-17
If “coincidence is not a kosher word,” as it is said, then what are the odds that these elements would coincide?
- I started diligently reading one chapter a day from the book of Psalms 90 days ago.
- Psalm 90 is written by Moshe.
- We are deep into the book of Devarim. The Torah and Moshe’s life are coming to a close. It is taught that Devarim is Moshe’s 36 day long address to the People of Israel before he dies and they enter the Land without him.
- Today is the 1st of Elul. Elul is the start of a focused reading of the book of Psalms, scheduled to be read to completion by Yom Kippur.
What is the message here? What is the purpose? What should I do? What should you do?
I for one am going to take Moshe’s advice here and figure out a way to count my days. I have already been keeping a journal to help me keep track of my readings and the like. Can I do more there? Maybe. What does it mean to count our days? This is not a rhetorical question. Please help me to figure this out. I want to know what you think. How would you go about counting your days? What does it mean to you?
I have some observations I would like to share.
Psalm 90 feels like it has an almost foreboding tenor. It is a warning and an exhortation, a one-two punch to wake up these people, whose fathers and grandfathers died for their faithlessness despite all they had seen. These men heard the voice of the Most High and turned away from it. They preferred to have Moshe tell them what came from Heaven. When the spies gave the evil report, these same men listened to it. They chose to listen to men, instead of their Heavenly Father. They repented, but they still had to suffer the consequences. Mercifully, their children were left to take possession of the Land. We must learn from their example. We must listen to G-d above all else. We should deepen our communal bonds yes, but we must also act on our own. Only you can make your relationship right with G-d.
Elul is the last month of the Jewish year. One year is waning and another is about to begin. Like Moshe and like the generation who left Egypt, the year is passing. Like Yehoshua and the children of Israel, we stand at the threshold of a new frontier. Be strong, take courage, trust in G-d and fight the good fight. Conquer the year before you for the glory of our Lord and King!
An excerpt from Chabad’s calander entry for today.
As the last month of the Jewish year, Elul is traditionally a time of introspection and stocktaking — a time to review one’s deeds and spiritual progress over the past year and prepare for the upcoming “Days of Awe” of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.
As the month of Divine Mercy and Forgiveness (see “Today in Jewish History” for Elul 1) it is a most opportune time for teshuvah (“return” to G-d), prayer, charity, and increased Ahavat Yisrael (love for a fellow Jew) in the quest for self-improvement and coming closer to G-d. Chassidic master Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi likens the month of Elul to a time when “the king is in the field” and, in contrast to when he is in the royal palace, “everyone who so desires is permitted to meet him, and he receives them all with a cheerful countenance and shows a smiling face to them all.”
Specific Elul customs include the daily sounding of the shofar (ram’s horn) as a call to repentance. The Baal Shem Tov instituted the custom of reciting three additional chapters of Psalms each day, from the 1st of Elul until Yom Kippur (on Yom Kippur the remaining 36 chapters are recited, thereby completing the entire book of Psalms).
This message goes hand in hand with the Count Down to Rosh Hashanah.