1. It is already after Shabbos Mevarchim Elul, the Shabbos on which the month of Elul is blessed. One of the fundamental services of Elul is tzedakah. Indeed, the connection of this service to the month is so central that it is alluded to in the name Elul (אלול) itself, that name being an acronym for the phrase איש לרעהו ומתנות לאביונים (“[Sending portions] each man to his friend and presents to the poor”).

The use of the term “presents” alludes to a high rung in giving tzedakah both in regard to the person who gives and the one who receives. In regard to the person who gives, the concept of giving a present refers to a substantial gift, not merely a penny or the like. In regard to the recipient, the fact that he is given a present shows that he is important, that it is given to him because he brought the giver satisfaction. Accordingly, the giver grants him the present in a manner which conveys respect.

This should be reflected in the manner with which tzedakah is given in the month of Elul. May this also be reflected in the relationship between the Jews and G‑d. In this context, the Jews can be considered as “poor,” i.e., they hunger after everything connected with G‑d, not only the mystic secrets of the Torah, but even its simple explanations which a child comprehends. Since they appreciate that this Torah was given by G‑d, it is considered as a great present.

G‑d will also grant the Jews material sustenance as appropriate according to His potential to give. May the abundance which we will receive increase our preparations for the month of Elul and may we, even before the beginning of that month, merit the coming of the ultimate redemption. May it be now, immediately.