It’s Elul, the last month of the Jewish year.

This special month is a time to look back at the old year and prepare for the new year!
Find out seven simple things you can do:

  1. The month of Elul is a chance to look inwards, reflect on how the year has gone until now and prepare spiritually for the High Holidays. Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of the Chabad movement, likens the month of Elul to a time when “the king is in the field” in contrast to the High Holidays when he is in the royal palace behind the royal guards. Right now, G‑d is accessible, calling out to us and “everyone who so desires is permitted (and able) to meet him, and he receives them all with a cheerful countenance, showing a smiling face to them all.”
    Learn more about the spiritual lessons of Elul.
  2. Each day of the month of Elul (except for Shabbat and the last day of Elul), we sound the shofar (ram’s horn) as a call to repentance. It’s like an alarm clock that awakens our soul.
    Explore 11 reasons we blow the shofar.
  3. When writing a letter or meeting one another, we bless one another by including the greeting Ketivah vachatimah tovah—“May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.”
    You can learn more about all of the different High Holiday greetings.
  4. A little extra prayer is powerful now! Chapter 27 of the book of Psalms is added to the daily prayers, in the morning and afternoon.
    Find out why we say this special Psalm.
  5. The Baal Shem Tov instituted the custom of reciting three additional chapters of Psalms each day, from the first of Elul until Yom Kippur. (On Yom Kippur, the remaining 36 chapters are recited, thereby completing the entire book of Psalms.)
    You can see today’s chapters by going to our Daily Study portal.
  6. Elul is a great time to have one’s tefillin and mezuzot checked by an accredited scribe, to ensure that they are in good condition and fit for use.
    Read a personal story about a High Holiday mezuzah check.
  7. During the last week of Elul, in the days leading up to Rosh Hashanah, the Selichot prayers are recited. On the first night they are recited at midnight; on the following days, in the early morning. Many Sephardic Jews begin reciting Selichot at the beginning of the month.
    Find out why Selichot follows such an odd schedule.

May we all be inscribed and sealed for a good, sweet year!