It is that time of year again: the month of Elul (yemei rachamim, days of mercy). The Alter Rebbe , the first Chabad Rebbe, gives a moshul (an example) of how accessible G-d is to us during this month. He compares this to a King who leaves his palace and goes out to the fields to greet the common people. In Elul, Hashem comes out to the field, with a smiling countenance, waiting for our petitions and prayers in preparation for the upcoming New Year. So start praying! This is the time to ask for everything that you want and need. And Hashem wants to grant our requests. the month of Av is called Menachem Av: the comforting father, or sometimes referred to as the Father who comforts us. But from the comfort of Av, after all the destruction of Tisha Bav, we now come to the month of Elul, a month of mercy, a month of happiness, when the King Himself comes down to our level, so to speak, and listens to our prayers and greets us with a smiling countenance, encouraging that loving caring relationship with HIm.
In fact, Elul is an acronym for the words Ani L’dodi v’dodi li: I am to be my beloved and my beloved is to me. This is the idea of Elul: the concept of a loving reciprocal relationship with G-d. And this is the preparation for the new year, may we all merit a ketiva vchatima tova, a shana tova umetuka. A healthy, happy and prosperous new year. But most importantly, may it be the year of geulah, the year of redemption with the coming of Moshiach tzidkenu.