1. The Previous Rebbe explained that Chai Elul (which signifies the date, the 18th of the month, but also has the meaning, “The life of Elul”) adds life — energy and vitality — to all the aspects of the month of Elul. As explained previously,1 the name Elul alludes to the services of Torah, prayer, deeds of kindness, teshuvah, and redemption. Chai Elul increases the vitality of each of these services.

A further connection comes from the fact that the portion of the Torah reading connected with the present day contains the verse: ומל ה' א-להיך את לבבך ואת לבב זרעך — “And the L‑rd, your G‑d, will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your children,” one of the verses whose letters serve as an acronym for the word Elul.

Some commentaries interpret this as a reference to the service of prayer and others as a reference to the service of teshuvah. All agree, however, that it is relevant to Elul.

Prayer shares a particular connection to Chai Elul. The Hebrew word for prayer תפילה has the connotation “join together.” Prayer fuses together a Jew with G‑d. The joining of two separate entities is also related to the present day, Tuesday, a day associated with a two-fold good, “good to the heavens” and “good to the creatures.” This, in turn, is related to the Torah reading of this week which consists of a combination of two portions. This also reflects a two-fold service, joining together the service of standing firmly in one’s position and the service of proceeding further as explained yesterday.

To emphasize the stress on a twofold service, twice the amount of money which is usually given will be distributed with the intent that it be given to tzedakah. May this twofold service hasten the tzedakah which G‑d must perform, the redemption of the Jews. Through giving to tzedakah with joy, the joy breaks through all barriers, including the barriers of time and space and we will have the Messianic redemption, here, before us.

This will lead to the Torah reading of the following week which begins, “Heavens, lend your ears; Earth, listen,” interpreted by our Sages to refer to a state where one is “close to the heavens and far from the earth.” Though a Jew will be involved in the service of making a dwelling place for G‑d within the lower worlds, he will be “close to the heavens,” spiritual matters, and “far from the earth,” material concerns.