When creating a list of ideas or Jewish concepts that might be good discussion for the month of Elul, I brainstormed both traditional Jewish ideas as well as basic, well-known concepts. Though I was probably thinking of “acceptance” in terms of God and theology when creating this list, or perhaps even acceptance of our Jewish identity and all that accompanies it, I actually think, particularly during the month of Elul, that acceptance can be about coming to terms with who I am, and what I, as an individual, am capable of accomplishing, or not.
Perhaps part of the goal of the month of Elul is not only to prepare a list of what we hope to accomplish in this next year of 5776, but also to help ourselves create a list that is practical, manageable and attainable. As I begin to plan this year for myself and my family, I realize I need to remember what is just enough and what can be too much. Acceptance of our limitations as human beings is key to actually accomplishing our goals and being realistic in our expectations of life.
I have always loved the story about Reb Zusya, who was told that he should not strive to be anyone but himself. Reb Zusya is heard to have said: “if God should ask me why I did not act like Abraham, I can say in truth that I was not Abraham. And if God asks me why I did not act like Moses, I can say in truth that I was not Moses. But if God asks me why I did not act like Zusya, what can I possibly say then?” We must accept that our goal in life is to be as great as each of us is capable of being, no more and no less. Determining what our capabilities are allows for a great level of understanding and acceptance.
Now let the sound of the shofar be heard;
And let our souls be awakened!
Rabbi Debbie Bravo
| || |