20 August 2012

Mashiach and his family are waiting, too


2 Elul 5772

(Imaginary) Conversation heard around Mashiach's dinner table:

MDaughter: "I thought all the geulah bloggers and rabbis said 5772 was going to be the year that Mashiach comes. It's already Elul." 
MSon: "And don't forget the Torah codes. Unfortunately, Bashar Assad did not fall in the month of Av, so how reliable is that?" 
MWife: "The year is not over yet." 
M: (Smiles)
MWife: "But, even if 5773 comes and still Mashiach has not been revealed to the world, we will continue to watch and wait and pray with all our hearts." 


17 August 2012

There are no coincidences


29 Av 5772
Erev Shabbat
Erev Rosh Chodesh

On the eve of Rosh Chodesh Elul, the month of teshuva - "return" - I am returning to this blog. Looking back at where I left off in March of this year, I see that the title of that last blog post was "Teshuva=Return." And I didn't plan it that way. I simply met a friend in the course of the day who brought up this blog seemingly out of nowhere and mentioned that he was sorry he no longer had access to it. What is stranger yet is that he had no idea that I was the blog author. I confessed my secret and told him that I would open it back up and so, here we are. If only our teshuva was so easy.

Here is a little something to help all of us begin to prepare for the new month - the last one before Rosh Hashanah 5773.

From The Introduction to THE ELUL PROCESSby Refoel Leitner
“Prepare the holy throne” (Zohar). Holiness requires preparation. Our chief task is not to create it, but rather to become a receptacle for holiness, which comes about according to the manner of the preparation.
Elul is the last month of the Jewish calendar year.  As the preparation for Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Judgment, which immediately follows it, Elul is a month of repentance, marked by a number of Festivals and Holidays, special customs and traditions.
Elul is also the month of soul-accounting. A businessman occasionally needs to calculate an overall profit-and-loss statement, as well as a detailed ledger.  We too need to conduct an annual audit of the state of our spiritual ‘business.’  The entire year we are involved in accruing profit: serving G-d through Torah-study, mitzvah-observance, prayer and good deeds.  In the month of Elul, we make a general reckoning of all we have done throughout the year.
Further, the best possible time for this soul-accounting is the month of Elul, for then the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy shine (i.e. “...slow to anger and abounding in kindness and truth; forgiving iniquity, ...”).  This revelation may be compared to a king  who emerges from his palace and goes out to the field in full view of his subjects.  Only then is it possible to engage  appropriately in spiritual introspection without the danger of sinking into hopelessness and despair.  For, after all, the king is with him in the field—he has our benefit in mind.
A pre-requisite for a proper soul accounting is total acceptance of and self-subordination to the heavenly yoke. This self-subordination can produce a generous ‘growth ,’ just as a seed sown in the ground and covered sprouts a yield far greater than itself.
Although engaging in such spiritual labor can be difficult, making a sincere, all-out effort helps to generate the necessary  inner strength to make our actual, practical service conform with Divine expectations. 
Shabbat shalom, Chodesh tov!