The sixth Biblical month of Elul is often considered “the month of the Bride.” It is a special time of tenderness between the King and His Bride; a time where Bridegroom and Bride can connect in a very intimate and different way than in the rest of the year. In fact, Elul is considered to be an acronym for Song of Solomon 6:3, “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine. Ani L‘dodi V‘dodi Li (אלול).”
Before her wedding day, a bride goes through a time of preparation. She must make sure everything is ready and in place; that the food is prepared for her guests and that her dress is perfect to meet her husband. But there are inward preparations she must make as well. Is she ready to be a wife? Is she prepared to be joined to another person for the rest of her life? Is she prepared to be her husband’s helpmate? For us, as the Bride of Yeshua, we too go through a time of preparation during the month of Elul which includes a time of emotional healing.
Biblically, emotions are closely connected to the kidneys. Often times, the word for kidney is inaccurately translated as “heart,” “mind,” or “soul” in the Bible. Certainly there is some overlap between the kidneys and the heart, but it seems that the kidneys are more restricted to the emotional center of man, while the heart is more concerned with the thoughts and attitudes of man. Consider the first use of “heart” in Genesis 6:5: “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
Other verses seem to confirm this idea. Genesis 8:21 “the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.”; Genesis 27:41 “…and Esau said in his heart,”; Psalms 14:1 “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.”; “out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders….”
In Hebrew, the word for “kidney” is kilyah. It is the feminine form of the word kelîy – which means tool, vessel, or weapon. In a literal sense, kilyah is the kidney organ. Figuratively, it is the seat of man’s emotions. In Hebrew psychology, the kidneys are viewed as the seat of man’s emotions, the innermost being, the soul, the central location of the passions, the seat of human joy and grief, as well as the seat of moral & ethical character. As the Creator of this moral and ethical capacity in each of us, YHVH examines the kidneys to determine each individual’s attitudes and motives, and to determine the appropriate reward or punishment. Appropriately, the kidneys figured prominently in the offering of sacrifices upon YHVH’s altar.
Because of the important connection to man’s emotions, it’s important to examine the function and role of the kidneys not only in our physical health but our emotional health as well. Keep in mind that what happens in the physical is often a mirror of what happens in the spiritual — so be thinking about the spiritual application of the physical ailments and the kidneys as our emotional center as we go on.
Kidney Damage and Emotional Health
Physically, the kidneys filter out waste from the body, so when the kidneys’ functioning is impaired it quickly becomes a dangerous situation. Some kidney problems happen quickly, such as when an accident injures the kidneys. Losing a lot of blood can cause sudden kidney failure. Some drugs or poisons can make the kidneys stop working. Acute Kidney Injury may lead to permanent loss of kidney function. But if the kidneys are not seriously damaged, acute kidney disease may be reversed.
Most kidney problems, however, happen slowly and over time. A person may have “silent” kidney disease for years and never know. People with Chronic Kidney Disease may go on to develop permanent kidney failure. They also have a high risk of death from a stroke or heart attack. Think about it…a person with long-lasting kidney/emotional damage is at a high risk for stroke or heart attack. A stroke kills the brain/mind and a heart attack kills the heart.
There are two major causes of kidney failure: diabetes and high blood pressure. Diabetes can be caused by poor diet, being overweight and emotional stress, among other things. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is dangerous because it makes the heart work harder to pump blood to the body and it contributes to hardening of the arteries and the development of heart failure. While diabetes is the result of not being able to properly process and high blood pressure is the result of excessive amounts of pressure, both can be caused by factors related to emotional stress.
So let’s think about this in a spiritual sense. If we experience emotional trauma, whether in a specific situation or over a long period of time, we are at risk for shutting down emotionally and becoming emotionally unhealthy. When our emotions fail, our mind and heart fail as well. However, if we maintain a healthy lifestyle of being in the Word, drinking the living waters of life, and strengthening our spiritual muscles, then our kidneys will work as designed: to flush out the toxins and poisons that inevitably enter our bodies.
Kilyah and Emotional Healing
In Hebrew, there is a depth to each word that is missing when translated to English. Each Hebrew letter has a word picture and a numerical value attached to it. The gematria, as this is called, allows us to see a deeper level full of rich meaning for Hebrew words and the Scriptures. Below are the word pictures and numerical values for the letters that make up the word kilyah or kidneys.
כ (Kaph): open palm; to bend, open, allow or tame
ל (Lamed): shepherd’s staff; teach, yoke, bind, toward
י (Yod): arm/closed hand; work, throw
ה (He): man with arms raised; look, reveal, breath
*To bend and allow to be tamed by the shepherd’s staff which teaches, yokes and binds us to the work revealed to the man with raised arms.*
כ (Kaph) 20: – balance between YHVH/man and man/man ten times over
ל (Lamed) 30: covenant ten times over
י (Yod) 10 – confidence in YHVH
ה (He) 5 – faith, grace and mercy
*Kidneys restore a balance between YHVH & man and man & man ten times over and establish a covenant of confidence in YHVH of faith, grace and mercy.*
What we see from the gematria is that our kidneys/emotional health determines if we will yield ourselves in complete surrender to the Shepherd and the work that must be done. When we completely surrender to the work of emotional healing during Elul, our kidneys then restore balance in our relationship with God and others. When our kidneys/emotional being is healthy, we can then filter out waste and allow the purification process to take place.
Kilyah and the Month of the Bride
So what do the kidneys and emotional health have to do with the month of the bride? In order for the Bride to be prepared for Judgment Day she must be found to be without spot or blemish. She must also wash herself clean and be clothed in white for her Bridegroom at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. This requires her to remove any spot or blemish from her life.
The month of Elul is a gift from YHVH in which He gives us the time, opportunity, and circumstances to accomplish this cleaning and repentance. Our Bridegroom is not only concerned with our physical and spiritual health, but with our emotional health too!
Our mind-body-soul connection is undeniably important. However, as believers, too often we get so focused on our spiritual health that we neglect our physical or emotional health. While they are all connected, they are also uniquely individual. Emotional healing is just one aspect of our health that YHVH may choose to address during Elul — but emotional wounds are often the most neglected because they are the most difficult to uproot. Whatever area of your life YHVH chooses to shine His spotlight on, I encourage you to fight the urge to downplay the issue as “not that big of a deal” or to dismiss the way God chooses to get your attention as merely a coincidence. But as Gibbs from NCIS would say, “Rule #39: There’s no such thing as a coincidence.”