Elul, written in Hebrew lef, Lamed, Vav, Lamed, is often explained as an acronym for the phrase, Ani L’dodi V’dodi Li - I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine.
The Zohar teaches that we enter Elul achor el achor - back to back, in our relationships. And at the end of Elul we are panim el panim - face to face. During the month of Elul, it is our responsibility to turn towards our loved ones in empathy and compassion.
Soul singer Leon Bridges sings:
“What can I do? What can I do?
To get back to your heart
I'd swim the Mississippi river
If you would give me another start”
Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur offer us a fresh start, as long as we are willing to put in the work during Elul. Wishing you strength, patience and empathy on your swim.