Shof’tim deals with the appointment of judges and officers “in all your gates”; Ellul is the month when we engage in self-scrutiny and identify the sins and transgressions which need God’s atonement and forgiveness.
The message is that even before the arrival of the Tishri time of judgment when God scrutinises all His creatures and decides what to do with them, we need to use Ellul for the preliminary process of being our own judges and sorting out our own record.
The better we spend our time during Ellul, the less we leave for God to do when Tishri arrives.
This being the case, Ellul ought to become one of the busiest months of the year. Just as the end of the financial year is a time for careful audit of our situation, so the end of the religious year requires all our personal reserves of energy and decision-making.
It can of course be taken for granted that we must specially ensure that during Ellul we do not, God forbid, add any more to our slate of sins.
Since the most common sins are committed with our tongues, we should watch our speech with extra-special care. It is better that we don’t speak during Ellul (or at any other time) the wrong words in the wrong way, hurting our neighbours, ourselves and our world.