Sunday, August 16, 2015


Elul is officially in full swing.  B’H.  I always feel more calm knowing that our “King is in the field” with us…On the other hand, I also feel more desperate to figure out what I need to do tshuva for and what to change, moving forward.

Looking back at this past year, it is easy to notice both, the moments I did not feel Him as deeply as usual, and also, the moments that I did (especially when we learned together!).

Klal Yisrael has lost loved ones.  We have all watched family members and friends suffer, and at the same time, joined in many simchot! B’H.   

The ups and downs sometimes left me weary and unsure- should I weep or celebrate?  It is clear that the world is in chaos in many areas.  What is my role in this? Should I become a political activist?  Or, should I keep my head down and keep plowing my own field, so to speak... 

Elul is the “deep thinking” month (See Rabbi his Elul classes are super for the guidelines in this and if that is not an option for you right now, then it is worthwhile to join the mailing list of Rabbi Jacobson - attached below).  The first question that Rabbi Jacobson tells us to ask ourselves is: do you believe change is possible? 

Do I?  Haven’t I been attempting to change every year, yet how much have I actually changed?  This question made me pause.  

In Rebbetzin Heller’s article, The Night Will End, in Hamodia, she says; “How does your belief in Moshiach and Techias Hamaisim change your life?  You begin by asking yourself what you really want.  Do you want the illusion that Hashem is in heaven and we in the world have to “deal with real life”?  Hashem created the world to bring light to a dark place.  The intensity of the light can be seen only when you ask, “How far can it reach?”…The Vilna Gaon maintained that if you sincerely want change, you must proactively live now the kind of life that we will all be living when Moshiach comes.  This means more awareness of Hashem, more seeking His presence, and most of all, a more concerted effort to see what it is you want to happen.”

The answer is , YES, I BELIEVE IN CHANGE! Where’s the proof?  It’s in our learning together, it’s in our taking the step to grow, it’s in the desire, the will to be close to Him, even if we feel it less often than we want… After all, the results are always in His hands.

For day two of Rabbi Jacobson tells us to ask ourselves: 
In what areas of your life are you repeating old patterns?  In what ways are they damaging to you? 
Exercise for the day:
- Identify and describe one damaging pattern that you want to break in the coming year. 
- List one thing you must do in order to break that pattern.

However, I would like to add a question that helped give me clarity- What does Moshiach look like to me? How will I be (or hope to be) when he has arrived?  I like to look at physical, emotional, and spiritual areas of my life when I attempt to answer this question.

This brings me to our Elul plan together.  IyH we will resume our learning together this motzai Shabbos at 10 pm NY time.  Shira will iyH send out the phone number and recording number.  We will be learning how to answer these questions and create an Elul plan of some sort.  It will be free- flowing, bring any Elul Torah you would like to share to enhance our growth.  (Shira wrote an article on forgiveness that is beautiful, I am attaching on the bottom).

The days are moving quickly; “in the blink of an eye” has taken on new meaning to me lately.  Let’s make every moment meaningful and lasting, together.

B’ahava gamur!

Aviva Rus

For Rabbi Jacobson info: : 60 Day journey

For Shira’s article: email her at (I am having trouble uploading it)

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