Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Thoughts on Elul

I wrote this a few years ago, passed it around as an email and posted it on the blog last year. I think the message is still so powerful and I hope you gain from it.

If your parents were to give you money to spend on whatever you wanted, there are a few things you could do.

Either you can buy yourself a present with the money they gave you. That would be very nice as that is what they had in mind when they gave you the money. They give you ten dollars, you buy yourself some pizza and ice cream. They give you more, you buy yourself shoes, clothing or a new book. They give you lots of money, you buy yourself something more expensive.

But even better than that, you can use the money they give you to buy them a present. That would be extra special because you are using the money you got to try and repay them for all the good they have given you. They gave you ten dollars, you buy them roses. They gave you more, you buy them a gift to enhance the Shabbos table. They gave you lots of money, you buy an expensive piece of silver.

But imagine if you were to take that money and use it against your parents. They gave you ten dollars, you buy yourself some fuel and matches and burn the house down. They gave you more, you buy yourself some other destructive device and cause untold harm. They gave you even more, you use it to pay for a car and crash into them and kill them.

Sounds ridiculous, no?!

This is what happens when we sin against our loving father, HaKadosh Baruch Hu. He gives and gives and gives to us. He doesn’t stop. And we have choices of how to use the gifts He has gives us.

We can use them to our benefit alone. We can eat the food he gives us and enjoy it. We can sing songs to ourselves and enjoy our beautiful voices. We have eyes, we can use them to read. We can use our ears to hear sounds and our lips to speak words.

But even better than that, we can use our talents to come closer to Him. We can't repay HaKadosh Baruch Hu for a bit of what He does for us, but we can give Hashem a present by using what He gave us to bring Him nachas and joy. We can say brachos on our foods or use our voices to sing songs that will inspire ourselves and others to come closer to Hashem. We can use our eyes to read stories and look at things that will bring Hashem happiness. We can use our ears to listen to words of Torah and use our lips to daven and sing Hashem's praises.

But when we use our body to sin against Hashem, we are giving Hashem a "slap across the face"!! Hashem gives us eyes and what do we do?! We read and look at things we should have never read and seen. We look at people with a jealous eye instead of fargining. Do we look into the siddur and the holy aleph bais when we daven or do we let our eyes wander around the room diverting our attention and getting distracted from our tefillah?!

We are blessed with the ability to hear and what do we use our ears for?! We listen to words of lashon hara and ona'as devarim. We listen to others complaining and then validate them instead of helping them realize that there may be another side to their story. Should we try to listen more when someone is trying to tell us something instead of interrupting them before they finish their thought?!

We were given the ability to speak. How careful are we with guarding our lips? Do we daven and bentch slowly and carefully? Perhaps we can start to say each bracha with more articulation, thereby enabling us to have more concentration when saying it. When we use our mouths and our lips to do aveiros, we are taking the gifts Hashem gave us and using them against Him! What could be a bigger insult to Hashem than that?! "I give you a gift and this is what you do with it?!" Do we want Hashem to chas v'shalom have to wake us up by taking away one of these gifts so we wont be able to use them altogether?!
We just started month of Elul. It is a time for us to really think. We should use this month to give Hashem nachas by showing Him that we are using every part of our body to serve Him. So work slowly. Take one part of your body and tell yourself, "Today I want to work on my brain. How can I fill my brain with positive thoughts and use my brain to get closer to Hashem?" Is this hard? Maybe. But think about the millions of things you can thank Hashem for. You will never get bored with these thoughts. Go through your body and start realizing how much is going on inside of you. Thank Hashem for your health and that your heart is pumping blood throughout your body... Thank Him for your family and friends. Thank Him for keeping you alive. You have so much to be grateful for! Just use your free time to think about all the things you can thank Him for and you will be serving Hashem with your brain!

You can use each part of your body to get closer to Hashem. It just takes a little bit of time and some serious thought. You can do it. Give it a try. See how it works. You'll be amazed by the feeling you'll have when you realize that you are able to use the gifts Hashem gave you to get close to Him. So instead of throwing the gifts He gave us back in His face, let us try to use them to come closer to Him and thereby merit the coming of Moshiach, where we will see Hashem face to face!!


  1. i havent been on the blog in soo long and now i c what ive been missin!!!rly wat a baeutiful way to look at it i rly hope itll help me in my relatioship with Hashem iyH
    - thanx for sharing

  2. That is such a great mashal - thank you for posting it!

  3. Anon and Rivki-thanks. I'm so glad you liked it!


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