“When you wage war against your enemies, God will give you victory over them, so that you will take captives.”
As a child, man is given over to his evil inclination, as in “sin is waiting at the entrance to the world,” and he does not start on the road of self improvement – if at all – until he matures. That is the meaning of “when you wage war against your enemies,” who are your evil inclination and the members of your body, accustomed to self-gratification since childhood. However, “God will give you victory over them” – when one tries, he can indeed become better. Then “you will see a beautiful woman” - that is your soul. She will have to “trim the hair of her head,” that is, get rid of erroneous preconceived ideas. “She will have to pair her nails,” that is, to abstain from the overabundance of even permitted physical pleasures. And she will have to change the dress in which she was captured – that is the garment that the soul had created through her previous wrong deeds.
Now she will cry for her father – that is God, and her mother – that is the humanity. She will do this for a month – and that is the month of Elul, which precedes Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur. She will cry for a “month of days” - that is, the soul should rush as if she only has days, not years, in which to prefect itself.
Art: Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Blanzifiore