It has been a while on my part since my last post. The rest of my summer was pretty hectic, busy with the kids ( who preferred to stay home than got to camp). I never got anything much done, but that too was ok, since we got to spend a lot of catch up time together, and all was good.
Then the new school year began in all its craziness, and safe to say we are all settling in nicely.
I have had a lot of time to contemplate my life , it’s priorities and what near future directions I should take. I have more clarity on that front for now, putting my family first, and being 100% on top of that before I take on anything extra.
However I am a little perturbed and need to tell you all about it. As you may or may not know, the hebrew month that we are in is Elul. The month preceding Rosh Hashana – a day of judgement. Elul is a time for major introspection and self-examination. A time of being true to oneself, ones shortcomings and failings; also realizing one’s strengths and abilities. It is a time to make a plan, some resolutions of change. Like a lawyer we have to prepare our case, and present it to G-d on Rosh Hashana, where we will stand before the judge, and tell him who we hope we would like to be in the following year, and present a case that would swing a favourable judgement on our part.
This is the basics, we know this. It is also a month for teshuva. It is translated as repentance. The root of the word is ‘to return’. It is a time when G-d wants us to return to him, to become what is intended of us, and understand our intrinsic purpose in this world.
I would like you to take a step back from your life. Step out of your picture and view the world from an outer space perspective. Let’s start with the global natural disasters that have taken place of late. I do not want to enumerate all the natural calamities that have taken place, this year alone, because it is actually very depressing. But we certainly know of the more major earthquakes, hurricanes and other catastrophes that have befallen countries around the world. Not to mention that famine on one end, flooding on the next, fires etc.
Let’s talk economy now. The US economy is in a very bad state, and Europe is going through a disastrous debt crisis, and the world is experiencing an unprecedented global recession since 2008.
How about a little closer to home. How many people do we know that are plagued with horrible illness? Growing up – I do not recall this large an incidence of terminal diseases, and so many young people affected. There are many contributing factors to this, one large one being that we have raped our own earth out of greed, and therefore the food we eat and the medication we take are only making us sicker – but that will be another post for another time!
And now let us look at the Middle East and Israel. The Arab world has been turned upside down. Sooner or later fingers will be pointing in our direction and we will be blamed for all the trouble. I have read a few articles stating the Arab countries are rallying together to do a mass walk on Jerusalem, the day after the UN decides the fate of the Palestinian State. If one does look at the facts, it is hard to believe that an international body would award land to a people who have claim to it, only recently, and are willing to kick out 650 000 Jews that have built it up and live there – peacefully. The decision lies firmly in Hashem’s hands , and no-one can predict the outcome.
Are we getting the message here? As much as we are waiting for G-d to boom down from the heavens and tell us the true passage and meaning of life, He is not going to do so. Our mission is to achieve our goals through freedom of choice. G-d does send messages though. Are we listening?
The prophecies from thousands of years ago, have predicted all this natural disaster in detail, as well as many of our modern-day scenarios and leaders. It goes on to tell us what could be, and the picture ain’t that pretty.
What is my point with all of this….?
It says in the Torah, that Moshiach can come in two ways. The first more unpleasant way is through a great war. The second, is if each jew were to return and begin keeping the commandments. Over the past 20 years, we all know many people who have become frum. I am one of them, and there is a very big movement. However, majority of jews are still non-observant. I seems like an impossible quest to go out and get 15 million people to start keeping shabbos and kosher! It is an overwhelming thought. So I have a request. Don’t become religious. I would never ask that of you. What I am asking of you, as a jew, for the sake of compatriots in Israel, and for the sake of all Jews around the world today, and for the sake of the world itself – if it is remotely possible, is to be introspective, and to change even the most minute flaw within yourselves, over this most significant time. And… On Rosh Hashana… state your case to G-d, whether in shul or out. Talk to G-d, tell Him your flaws. Then during the 10 days between Rosh Hashana and on Yom Kippur itself, apologize sincerely, and endeavour to change.
We have been given a trump card. There are 3 things to do that can over turn any decree: prayer, repentance and charity. Give generously on all levels. Pray for your families, your selves and for klal Yisrael. Sincerely regret past transgressions and aspire to change. Have in mind that if G-d forbid there was to be an evil decree, that we have the collective power to overturn it. Each individual counts immensely. All the while remembering that Hashem runs the show. We have to embrace life b’simcha – in joy and happiness. We have to conquer our yetzer harah (evil inclination), and the sweet victory, no matter how small and insignificant the foible, one can attain the highest levels of joy.
You may argue that all of this is hogwash. This is modern times that we live in. What if there is no Moshiach, no scheduled war and all the mitzvos are trumped-up things by rabbi’s who have had nothing better to do with their days for the past 5772 years – and you would have done all this introspective growth for NOTHING? Well then you will have just grown as a person, changed a little for the better, and world would be a nicer place for us all.
However, what if me and all the generations before me, and all the prophecies are right?
Think about it. Any questions feel free to send them my way.