Q: How is a woman supposed to serve God in the month of Elul? After all, women are exempt from hearing the daily shofar in Elul and also from saying the Selichot prayers…
A: The month of Elul is the time when the power of repentance is awakened. It is the secret of the bride who says, Ani Ledodi V’dodi Li, (“I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me”) which in Hebrew, is an acronym for Elul. In this month, the service of the entire Nation of Israel – men and women alike – is the service of the woman-bride. When the woman is awakened “I am to my beloved,” the Jewish People awakens to repent and return to God, and then – “and my beloved is to me” – God is drawn to us, forgives us and brings the redemption.
Thus, in Elul, women in particular should add extra chapters of Psalms and prayers to their daily schedules. They should try to hear the shofar and also to say the Selichot prayers, if possible. It is the custom of righteous women to perform certain mitzvahs even if they are exempt from them according to Jewish law.
May you be inscribed and sealed for a good and sweet year.