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By Gutman Locks
Now we are in the month of Elul. Elul is the time when we prepare for the New Year. On the New Year we will stand before the King of the Universe, and our portions for the coming year will be set aside according to the judgment that we receive. How well we prepare during Elul may very well affect the judgment that we will receive. Will it be favorable, abundant? Will we find success this year in those areas where we need so much help? This makes Elul one of the most serious and important times in the entire year.
Without doubt, the highlight of Elul comes early in the morning, when we say the Selichot prayers. And the highlight of these prayers comes when we recite G-d’s 13 Attributes of Mercy, beginning with, "G-d, G-d..."
Doubling G-d’s Name is a very unusual thing to do. If the man who was leading the communal prayers would repeat the central prayer, “Hear, O Israel, the L-ord our G-d, the L-ord is One,” thereby saying it twice, we must take him down from his position at once. The problem is that someone might think we are addressing two gods! But here, during these prayers, we all call out “G-d, G-d,” actually doubling His very Name!
Not only this, but when we call out, some people scream loudly, some actually cry and yearn with all their heart. What is going on here? What are we really doing? How are we to call out? What should our intentions be?
We can learn the answer to these questions from G-d Himself. When G-d tested Avraham, He told him to sacrifice his only beloved son, Yitzchak. Avraham picked up the knife and actually put it to his son’s throat, prepared to carry out G-d’s command. What an awesome moment in the history of the universe this was! It was then that G-d called out to Avraham saying, “Avraham, Avraham. Do not lay your hand upon the lad….”[*]
Why did G-d double Avraham’s name? How did He call out to him? It is well known that G-d doubled Avraham’s name because He loved him. He doubled his name as a sign of endearment. He was expressing just how beloved Avraham was to Him, especially at that moment when Avraham showed that he was willing to sacrifice whatever he had for G-d. G-d called out to Avraham with all the love that a father could possibly have for a son.
It is with this depth of love that we are to call out to G-d when we double His Name. “G-d, G-d, we love You, and thank you for all that You have done for us, and for all that You will bestow upon us throughout our lives. Thank You. Thank You.”
When we will call out like this, not only will our prayers be meaningful and pleasant to us, but they will actually cause our judgment and portion for the coming year to be one of love.
[*] Genesis 22:11
from the October 2008 Edition of the Jewish Magazine
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