The month of Elul (before the New Year) is a period of drawing upon compassion.
It is a favorable time for receiving grace from above and for the light of Torah to enter the soul.
Hence, the intensification of study at this time and special prayers of penance (slichot).
For as we have said, while a transgression can extinguish the light of a mitzvah, it cannot extinguish the light of Torah.
And when God is being supplicated for mercy, the light of Torah may be a decisive factor.
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From The Candle of God by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz