“The special date of the 18th of Elul commemorates the birthday of the Baal Shem Tov, founder of the Chasidic movement, and the birth, 50 years later, of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of the Chabad Chasidic philosophy.
The birthday of a tzadik, a righteous person, has a strong connection and a profound effect on the month in which the birthday occurs.
The number 18 is written out with the Hebrew letters which spell the word chai, meaning alive. Thus, the month of Elul, in which the birthdays of these two great tzadikim take place, gains extra vitality and strength.
[The month of Elul is an Eit Ratzon (an auspicious time) to achieve alignment with the will of HKBH, teshuva (repentance and return to Him) and to set intentions of how we plan to grow in the year to come in our performance of Torah & mitzvot and in refining our midot (character improvement).
Studying the teachings and the ways of the Baal Shem Tov and the Alter Rebbe can facilitate our achievements in our efforts of Elul and the new year].