Part II, by Hebrew Seminary President Rabbi Dr. Douglas Goldhamer
During the month of Elul, our Kabbalah teaches us that each of us needs to create a Prayer Vision. That is we need to visualize, think, and write down all the wonderful things that we want to happen to us in the New Year. When we create a prayer vision, our Kabbalah encourages us to create a vision of spirituality that is a vision in which we are doing good deeds, mitzvot and prayers in the coming year. Inherent in our prayer vision and vision of spirituality is that we come to the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services with a written proposal in hand to God and we say it whispering very softly during two to three of the prayers: Hashem it is worth investing in my life and making my prayer vision a reality because this is what I’m going to do for you this year. The return on investment (ROI) is definitely worth your while. This is the contribution I intend to make to your global of tikkun olam. You might propose, I will give more to the poor; I will help in the food pantry at my temple; I will become much more spiritual; or, just as I am doing Modeh Ani in Elul, I will do it regularly during the year; I will go to shul at least once a month; and/or I will read at least one book next year on Judaism. A small investment of blessings by you on me will pay off because I will be generous in so many ways next year, you won’t regret your investment in me.
We write on the paper that we are bringing to shul what we promise to do to make this a kinder more gentler year, and in exchange we ask God to bless us with good health for us and our family; a strong financial earning for the coming New Year; and that the cancer that my family member is experiencing go into remission this year.
This prayer vision and proposal of spirituality should be written and spoken every day in the month of Elul and also during the silent prayers during Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. The last thing we do to make Elul the most powerful spiritual month of the year, is to read Exodus 34: verses 6-7 in Hebrew. The words in these verses contain highly charged vibrations that move Hashem to automatically send blessings to you when you recite them aloud during Elul. With the reciting of these verses, you create a spiritual gravity wherein God cannot help but send down blessings for the entire year for you and your family.
All of this is what makes Elul the most powerfully charged spiritual month of the Hebrew calendar. Do it and God will send to you great blessings which will heighten the power of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur in your life.