Elul is a month of preparation for Rosh Hashanah — at least in modern Judaism. It’s interesting then, that the first of Elul is the “New Year of Cattle.” In ancient Israel it’s the time when the cattle were counted and tithed. Cows are mentioned from time-to-time in the Tanakh and other scripture — think about the seven cows (פָּרוֹת) of Pharoah’s dream (Genesis 41), the bullock (בָּקָר) regularly sacrificed, and of course the golden calf (עֵגֶל) that got us into a lot of trouble.
Considering this, you’d expect there to be several entries in the Encyclopedia of Jewish Symbols about cows, calves, bulls, and cattle. But the only one there seems to be the one about the Golden Calf.
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Adapted from a post originally written for Peeling a Pomegranate, 2012