28th Elul -Gifts from our friends

Gifts from our Friend

ודודי – ומתנות

The month of Elul is characterized by the “king in the field” metaphor: we can easily address our Sovereign, bypassing palace bureaucracy and tedious ceremonies, as if the Almighty is our friend (Dodi).

The most famous work where the word "Dodi" sounds is, of course, the Shabbat poem Lecha Dodi. We enter the Sabbath day with a hymn, where we turn to our friend with an appeal to celebrate Shabbat together. But we also call the Eternal One our friend, so in a way we can say that we invite God to celebrate the Sabbath day with us.

The most amazing thing is that Lecha Dodi's poem was written... exactly in the third week of Elul! Dr. Avshalom Kor convincingly showed this in his recent broadcast Be-Ofen Miluli (in translation: Literally) on Israeli radio Galei-Tzahal. The text of Lecha Dodi is filled with quotations from those passages from the book of Isaiah that are traditionally read in the month of Elul. Also the fact that in one of the verses of Ki Tavo Torah portion is quoted hints at the exact time of the creation of this hymn: we read this the third week of Elul. The proof is Dvarim 26:19 where we read:

לִתְהִלָּ֖ה וּלְשֵׁ֣ם וּלְתִפְאָ֑רֶת וְלִֽהְיֹֽתְךָ֧ עַם־קָד֛שׁ לַֽיְיָ֥ אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֥ר דִּבֵּֽר:

We are promised several awards - "praise, fame, and honor" (ERV translation), and most importantly - to be "special" for the Almighty. This is the biggest gift (matanot) anyone could ask for, it's a gift from our friend (Dodi)!

Rabbi Leonid Bimbat, LBC 2007, Moscow Center for Progressive Judaism (aka Moscow Reform Synagogue)