Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Always Watching

We are now right at the start of Chodesh Elul. It’s the beginning of a big month, a month that we all hope to fill with change and growth. Change does not happen on it’s own – it’s something that requires work, time, thought and effort.

I learned that the Jewish calendar year can be compared to a spiral staircase – although we have the same yomim tovim every year, we are (hopefully) climbing higher and higher every time we reach that point in the calendar. The year goes in a circle and we come to the same spot again every year but we hope that this year we are at a higher level than we were on last year.

It is a very big challenge to keep climbing and going higher. It can be compared to standing on an escalator that is going downward. If you do not make sure to step up, you will automatically be going downwards. It's a climb! But it is definitely worth it when you reach the top.

One way to make sure you utilize the time during Elul to the fullest is by thinking shivisi Hashem l'negdi samid - (I always have Hashem before me) as many times as you can throughout your day. This pasuk is so powerful and can change the way you act at any moment.

For example, if you think about this pasuk on your way to work/school/camp activity, you can try to come up with ways to bring Hashem into your day more. If you are about to make a bracha, this can help enhance your kavannah. Thinking about it can cause you to refrain from negative speech because if you remember that Hashem is watching you, you will not want to do the wrong thing! When you are faced with a decision and are unsure what to do and this thought comes to mind, it will surely help you gain more clarity.

Give yourself a time during the day when you will think about it - at least once. It can be while you eat breakfast or lunch, before you check your emails or even while you are on the phone with someone. You can let this pasuk go through your mind when you have some quiet time in middle of your day.

There is a famous story about the Chofetz Chaim who had hired a wagon driver to take him somewhere. While they were passing a farm, the driver abruptly stopped the wagon and climbed down in order to steal something from the farmer. He left the Chofetz Chaim in the wagon as a lookout. As the driver embarked on his mission, the Chofetz Chaim called out: "He's looking!" The driver raced back to the wagon, spurred the horses to a vigorous gallop and made his getaway, the Chofetz Chaim in tow.

When they had gotten a safe distance away, the wagon driver turned to the Chofetz Chaim and asked, "Who was it that saw me?" The Chofetz Chaim gestured upwards and said, "He sees everything."

Yes, we all know Hashem is always watching us and sees everything we do.
But how can we make it more real to us?

By thinking about this pasuk, shivisi Hashem l'negdi samid more often during the course of your day, you will be more aware of Hashem's presence in your life. This will help you think twice before you act and help you make the right choices - positive choices.


Inspiration gained from this post should be a zechus for the
aliyas neshama of my friend's mother, Ruchama Rivka Sondra bas R' Yechiel whose forth yartzheit is tonight and tomorrow, Beis Elul. May we soon be reunited with the coming of Moshiach and techiyas hameisim!


  1. I love the comparison of the calendar to a spiral staircase. It's true that each year I start to reflect on where I'm coming from, on what I've improved on and what could use more work. Thanks for the great post!

  2. One amazing example from the Torah is when Yosef held himself back from temptation in order not to sin with the wife of potifar, because he saw the image of his father. We, too, must see the image of our Father, Hashem, before every action we do, to make sure it behooves the daughter of the King.

  3. Rivki-thanks. I loved it too when I heard it for the first time. It is such a good mashal! Glad you liked!

    luv-nice thought. That's right - and hopefully this can help us get there!


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