On the Hebrew calendar, Elul is the sixth month of the year. On the 10th day of last month – the month of Av – we began the Season of Comfort. The season of comfort continues seven weeks, until the first day of next month, which is Tishrei 1, the same day as the Feast of Trumpets. So we have seven weeks in the Season of Comfort, Av 10 to Tishrei 1.
Elul 1 also marks 40 days until the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), which is always on Tishrei 10.
The weekly portion of Sh’lach L’cha, Numbers 13-15 is the account of the 12 men going into the Promised Land to reconnoiter it and come back to report to the people what it’s like. This is the point at which Yehovah decides that the Israelites are going to spend 40 years in the desert.
40 years! How old were you 40 years ago? It was the 1970s – What were you doing in 1970s? 40 years ago I was 11 years old. A lot has happened since then. What about ten years later in the 80s? I got my first career job. What were you doing in the 1990s and the turn of the century? Think about everything that’s gone on in just the last ten years.
40 years is almost half of our lifetime. It’s a long time. It seems like a harsh punishment. (more…)