Elul #3

F.E.A.R

It is customary to say Psalm 27, twice daily, from the beginning of Elul until Simchat Torah. Towards the end of the psalm, we say, “False witnesses have risen against me, seeking to wreak havoc.” In the second to last verse of this psalm it says, “Lulei—had I not—believed in the goodness of G-d…”The word “lulei,” when reversed, spells “Elul.”
Reb Nosson explains that the false witnesses include our thoughts of self-doubt and despair. In the world of twelve-step recovery, they say that the word “fear” is an acronym for, “false evidence appearing real.”

When I feel that I have failed, it can seem at least as clear as having heard it from many witnesses. It’s true, I have a lot to improve and many errors to correct. Nevertheless, my feelings of self-doubt and despair are merely false witnesses, seeking to destroy my life. Elul is the time to throw the false witnesses out of the court of my mind. No matter what, it is never too late. We all hear the shofar throughout Elul to shake these thoughts away, freeing us from clouds of anxiety. Instead we work to fix what we can, and believe that G-d does what we cannot. As Rebbe Nachman declared, “If you believe you can destroy, believe you can heal!”

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