As the last month of the Jewish year, Elul is traditionally a time of introspection and stocktaking—a time to review one’s deeds and spiritual progress over the past year, and prepare for the upcoming “Days of Awe”, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
The letters of Elul form an acronym for the words in the verse Ani le‑dodi ve‑dodi li–“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” (Song of Songs 6:3). Believing that the “beloved” refers to God, the sages take this verse to describe the particularly loving and close relationship with God and this month.
Thus, Elul is the month of soul-accounting and a time for making peace with the three “garments” of the soul – thought, speech and action. It’s also a time for getting clear with ourselves, our close relations, and our community at large, knowing where we’ve missed the mark and asking for forgiveness.