Elul Reflections (Part One)

Posted by | August 24, 2012 | Articles, Blog

As Jews enter Elul, the last month of the year 5772, we reflect back upon the year that passed and look forward with anticipation and trepidation to the year ahead.

What will the new year bring?  Will it bring health, good news and job security for all the members of our family?  Will it bring peace and contentment to our very troubled world?

I am sure I speak for many of us when I say the last year has been a roller coaster ride personally and professionally.   I know I am not alone. I have watched as neighbors who worked the same jobs for years had their worlds turned upside down in the space of a few hours.  I have seen people who donated generously and volunteered weekly distributing food packages for Shabbos to those in need  turn from donors to recipients within the space of a few months.  And I have seen those with secure careers face non work-related challenges.

Question: How does one cope?

Answer:  Everyone copes in his or her own way.  For those of us drawing sustenance from the Torah and Jewish tradition, there are two core beliefs from which to draw strength: faith (emunah) and trust (bitachon).  Faith that every challenge in life is a test, and trust that the test is there to strengthen us as individuals.  Faith that everything comes from the same Loving Source, and trust that even while the test is scary we can withstand it and even triumph.

Could it be there is some reason– not visible at this time– why you are suddenly sitting at home rather than at your old desk?  Perhaps to pay more attention to a child, or attend to an elderly parent?  To spend quality time with your spouse? If you are single, to build relationships outside the workplace?

Could it be it is to make you more sensitive to the poor person you previously looked down upon or turned away when they asked for help?  Could it be that this is an opportunity to shift to a whole different line of work or explore volunteering—something you dreamed of but never dared to risk before?

It is worth reflecting upon these hidden possibilities!   If one is a believer, there is a purpose to everything.  We must search for the meaning within, and seek out the sweet inside that lies within even the most seemingly bitter fruit.

Read Part 2

Debby Smith
Director of Development


p.s. Have you discovered a hidden blessing in your situation?  Please share it with us!

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