The Torah portion Ki Teitzei is always read publicly during the first part of the Jewish month of Elul. It opens with the theme of the protocols of battle.

"When you will go out to battle with your enemy, and G‑d will deliver the enemy to your hands..."

While the verse is translated as ‘with your enemy’, the word used is ‘al,’ upon or above, your enemy.

"When you will go out to battle above your enemy."

We go out to battle with the premise that we are going to be victorious.
Namely, ‘I am already above the enemy and will certainly emerge the victor.’

Elul is the month associated with the letter Yud. In this month we prepare for the high holy days by dealing with our past and accounting for our previous deeds. We do battle, as it were, with our deepest insecurities, negativities and challenges.

In dealing with our life’s challenges, we have two choices. Either the challenging situation is controlling you or you are above the problem and controlling it.

When you go out to do battle, you are already above the challenge...

When you go out to do battle, you are already above the challenge and know that you will overcome.

We go into the month of Elul, as if into a battle. The letter Yud, which is the letter of Elul, represents the spark of perfection, the Divine that is at our very essence. We can accept and internalize with our full hearts that we are tzadikim, because we are righteous and perfect at our core.

When we look back at things that were done that were not aligned with this reality - we say to ourselves - ‘this was not appropriate behavior for a tzaddik.’ Knowing, that when we will be fully aligned with our essential spark of goodness that is our true self, our actions, speech and thoughts will also be perfectly in sync and appropriate to the person that we really are.

[Lightly edited from a subscription mailing of //]