A Sacred Time – Elul #3

Many people find the spiritual work of the month of Elul and the High Holy Days somewhat trying. After all, introspection can be so daunting. And if you believe you are going to be judged, shouldn’t you be scared?

But this attitude is all wrong. As the Chofetz Chaim, z”l, put it, “Some think Elul is a ber (Yiddish for ‘bear’]. In truth, Elul is just a kerr (broom). It is a special time to sweep out the negative and revolutionize our actions and attitudes. Not a scary monster that wants to swallow us whole.”

Reb Nosson, z”l, teaches that the foundation of Elul is in working with and from the positive. “The High Holy Days are approaching. We need to evaluate our actions and search and seek to return to G-d from whatever our spiritual level. Our only power is prayer. We must strengthen ourselves to arouse holy longing for good. We need to encourage ourselves very much towards holy yearning. No matter how far we have fallen, how many bitter waters have washed over us, we need to believe in ourselves: that the good is still exceedingly strong and can never be extinguished. Although we need to work on joy the entire year, we must redouble our efforts to be happy during these special days.”

Master of the World! Please help me to see that every good deed done is stored away for eternity. Show me that there is still great hope for me, where I am and whatever I’ve been through!

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