Elul is traditionally a period of introspection and a time to review one's deeds and progression in spiritual matters over the past year and prepare for the upcoming high holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).
This is known as the month of "Divine Mercy and Forgiveness," Elul is very much an opportune time for repenting (Teshuva), prayer (Teffilah), charity (Tzedaka), and an increase in showing love to a fellow Jew in the quest for improving and coming closer to Hashem.
Elul is a month in which Sefardi Jews recite Selichot prayers on a daily basis except on Shabbat. The purpose is to humble themselves before Hashem.
In Jewish History many events occurred in Elul, the 1st of Elul was the day when Moshe went up Mount Sinai for the third time as was related in Parshat Ki Tisa (Shemot 34:1-4), he eventually came down on the same day as Yom Kippur, where he received the new tablets and atonement was achieved .
The 2nd of Elul is famous as the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish law) was compiled, featuring the Jewish laws one should strive to keep to. This was in the year 1555. The Shulchan Aruch itself was firstly written by Rav Yosef Caro, very shortly later on the 'Rama' wrote how Ashkenazic law is different in appropriate cases in comparison to Rav Yosef Caro's law on what the Sefardim are meant to keep.
Several events occurred on the 7th Elul, firstly, we learned in Parshat Shemot how Yocheved and Amram (Moshe’s parents) separated as there was the decree against all Jewish baby boys being killed at birth (Sota 12a), however they remarried under the advice of their daughter, Miriam, in turn they produced Moshe, who became the leader of the Jewish nation.
The 7th Elul is also the day when the spies died, after they slandered the land of Israel, which we learned about in Parshat Shelach (Bamidbar 13:27-29).
There were many great Sephardic leaders throughout Jewish history, one of the more recent leaders was a man of the name 'Ben Ish Chai' also known as Yosef Hayyim, he sadly passed away on the 13th Elul in the year 1909, he was a master kabbalist and was Halachic ruler. It was under his advice that the famous Sefardi Yeshiva in Jerusalem, 'Porat Yosef,' opened up.
It as also on the 17th of Elul that Noach dispatched the Dove out of the ark, finally on the 23rd of Elul the dove came back with an olive leaf to Noach, showing that it was safe to leave the ark and go back onto earth. Also the dove took this olive branch in order to show its preference for bitter food from G-d, over sweet food from flesh and blood (Eruvin 18b).
The 24th of Elul commemorates the death of the Chafetz Chaim (Yisrael Meir Kagan), a man who compiled a huge study on the laws of Lashon Hara, he died in the English year 1933, he taught us how Lashon Hara (Evil Speech) is one of the biggest transgressions and that Lashon Hara should be avoided at all costs.
The 25th Elul marks the date that the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt during the start of the second Temple era. It was completed by Nehemiah, we also learn about this joyous day in the Tanach, in the section of Nehemiah (Nechemiah 6:15). This same day also marks the death of Rabbi Elazar, who was the son of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.
The 25th Elul was also the day according to strong opinions that the world was created, G-d creating Dark, light, matter, time and existence (Rosh Hashana 27a).
This Dvar Torah is in the merit of Dotan Yehudah Ben Sharona, who is suffering from a very bad cancer, the doctors have said there is no hope, however with the help of your prayers and good acts of kindness anything is possible, please pray for him!!
Hope you all have a fantastic new Month, make it a month of Torah accomplishment!! Chodesh Tov!