6 Tips for a Successful Elul from Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi

6 Tips for a Successful Elul from Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi

In Elul, if we do things right, Hashem will open up for us 13 faucets of mercy in preparation for the High Holidays. But how do we make that happen? JewishMOM, here’s your Elul homework straight from my teacher, Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi…

1. Improve and do something new: This first Elul homework assignment has 2 parts: Firstly, you need to take on a new mitzvah from now until Yom Kippur. Start wearing a long skirt for 30 days. Start praying mincha for 30 days. Start learning Torah for 5 minutes a day for 30 days.

Rabenu Yona teaches that when you accept upon yourself a new mitzvah for 30 days, you will exit from darkness out to a great new light. Hashem will see that you know how to change, and He will change reality for you: you will finally have the baby you have been waiting for, your marriage will finally improve, you will finally find that great apartment/job/husband you have been looking for.

Secondly, you need to improve your performance of a mitzvah that you already do. For example, you pray every day, but for the next 30 days pray with extra focus. You prepare every week for Shabbat, but until Yom Kippur prepare for Shabbat with extra joy. Less screaming and more smiling.

2. A VERY Important Psalm : The Holy Ari promises that whoever recites Chapter 27 (Hashem Oree v’Yeeshee, click for English translation) of Psalms twice a day, morning and evening, until the end of Yom Kippur, the 13 Heavenly faucets of mercy will open up upon him. Why this particular Psalm? Because it mentions God’s name 13 times. So every time you say Hashem’s name, another faucet opens up upon you.

The Ari guarantees, “Every one who says the 27th Psalm, from Rosh Chodesh Elul, in the evening and morning, every day, he is guaranteed a good year, and the coming year will be sweet, and even if an evil decree has been declared against him, it can be nullified. And all of the prosecuting angels will be nullified from him and from all of his family members as well as all difficult and evil decrees. And he will be judged innocent, because Hashem opens up for him the 13 faucets of mercy.”

א לְדָוִד: יְהוָה, אוֹרִי וְיִשְׁעִי–מִמִּי אִירָא;
יְהוָה מָעוֹז-חַיַּי, מִמִּי אֶפְחָד.
ב בִּקְרֹב עָלַי, מְרֵעִים– לֶאֱכֹל אֶת-בְּשָׂרִי:
צָרַי וְאֹיְבַי לִי; הֵמָּה כָשְׁלוּ וְנָפָלוּ.
ג אִם-תַּחֲנֶה עָלַי, מַחֲנֶה– לֹא-יִירָא לִבִּי:
אִם-תָּקוּם עָלַי, מִלְחָמָה– בְּזֹאת, אֲנִי בוֹטֵחַ.
ד אַחַת, שָׁאַלְתִּי מֵאֵת-יְהוָה– אוֹתָהּ אֲבַקֵּשׁ:
שִׁבְתִּי בְּבֵית-יְהוָה, כָּל-יְמֵי חַיַּי;
לַחֲזוֹת בְּנֹעַם-יְהוָה, וּלְבַקֵּר בְּהֵיכָלוֹ.
ה כִּי יִצְפְּנֵנִי, בְּסֻכֹּה– בְּיוֹם רָעָה:
יַסְתִּרֵנִי, בְּסֵתֶר אָהֳלוֹ; בְּצוּר, יְרוֹמְמֵנִי.
ו וְעַתָּה יָרוּם רֹאשִׁי, עַל אֹיְבַי סְבִיבוֹתַי, וְאֶזְבְּחָה בְאָהֳלוֹ, זִבְחֵי תְרוּעָה;
אָשִׁירָה וַאֲזַמְּרָה, לַיהוָה.
ז שְׁמַע-יְהוָה קוֹלִי אֶקְרָא; וְחָנֵּנִי וַעֲנֵנִי.
ח לְךָ, אָמַר לִבִּי–בַּקְּשׁוּ פָנָי; אֶת-פָּנֶיךָ יְהוָה אֲבַקֵּשׁ.
ט אַל-תַּסְתֵּר פָּנֶיךָ, מִמֶּנִּי– אַל תַּט-בְּאַף, עַבְדֶּךָ:
עֶזְרָתִי הָיִיתָ; אַל-תִּטְּשֵׁנִי וְאַל-תַּעַזְבֵנִי, אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׁעִי.
י כִּי-אָבִי וְאִמִּי עֲזָבוּנִי; וַיהוָה יַאַסְפֵנִי.
יא הוֹרֵנִי יְהוָה, דַּרְכֶּךָ: וּנְחֵנִי, בְּאֹרַח מִישׁוֹר–לְמַעַן, שׁוֹרְרָי.
יב אַל-תִּתְּנֵנִי, בְּנֶפֶשׁ צָרָי: כִּי קָמוּ-בִי עֵדֵי-שֶׁקֶר, וִיפֵחַ חָמָס.
יג לוּלֵא–הֶאֱמַנְתִּי, לִרְאוֹת בְּטוּב-יְהוָה: בְּאֶרֶץ חַיִּים.
יד קַוֵּה, אֶל-יְהוָה: חֲזַק, וְיַאֲמֵץ לִבֶּךָ; וְקַוֵּה, אֶל-יְהוָה.

3. Give Life: Every day of Elul, make sure to shine a ray of light to another human being who is struggling. Every day ask yourself, “Whom can I make happier today?” A Shabbat invitation to a single neighbor, a visit to a hospitalized relative, a note in the lunch box of a child making the tough transition back to school.

4. Forgive and Forget: Hashem gives us a special deal every Elul. Our Sages promise that: “Every person who forgives will be forgiven all his sins.”

We did a lot of sins this year that cannot be forgiven…We spoke lashon hara about people and cannot ask their forgiveness because asking forgiveness would hurt that person badly. We hurt a child, but how can we ask her for forgiveness when she is so young that she cannot fathom how deeply she has been hurt?

The answer…the next time someone insults you, hurts you, makes you see red, you remember “Every person who forgives will be forgiven all his sins,” and you say to yourself “Hashem, apparently you are sending this person to get me angry, because you want to erase my sins for me. So I’m cooperating with You. I’m not getting angry. I forgive her.”

5. Have Mercy on the Animals: “Every person who has mercy on animals—Heaven will have mercy on him.” In Elul we don’t kill little animals. In the case of pests (lice, cockroaches, etc) you can kill, but not with extra cruelty.

6. Watch Your Words: More of the special Elul deal. In Elul, your words to your family members have special weight. The Ramchal says that on Rosh Hashana Hashem considers all of the words that came out of our mouths regarding our family members. On Rosh Hashana, Hashem will ask His angels, “Tell me, what did she say about her husband in Elul?” The angels report back “She said that he’s stingy and lazy.” And Hashem writes down the words “stingy and lazy” in His notebook. According to what we say, Hashem judges our family members and US too. Be careful this month to only say positive things about your family members!

That’s all your homework, JewishMOMs. Good Luck!

Image courtesy of Flickr.com user Yael Beeri


  1. bikores.blogspot.com

    The general practice is to recite psalm 27, L’Dovid Hashem not only until the end of Yom Kippur but all the way through Hoshana Raba.

  2. thank you for this! IT is helpful to have an inspriing and practical list of tips!

  3. I would like to use parts of this article for a piece I am writing on Elul preparations for the Lakewood Shopper. Do I have you permission? I will cite this website as its sources.
    Thank you

  4. I know this is an old post, but it’s timely.

    Someone pointed out to me, re tip #2, that the Arizal had nothing to do with promoting this custom of reciting “L’Dovid Hashem Ori.” In fact, I found this:

    “The earliest mention of the custom seems to be the work Sefer Shem Tov Katan, by the Kabbalist Rabbi Binyamin Benish Cohen, published in 1706.”

    That is long after the Arizal’s time.
    So someone else may have said what is referenced in tip #2 but it wasn’t the Arizal!
    Perhaps you can ask Rabbanit Mizrachi.

  5. Also, it’s 40 days from 1 Elul until Yom Kippur, not 30.

Leave a Reply

Follow by Email