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Core Values

Thursday, 23 August, 2012 - 9:55 am

School is starting and vacations are ending. High Holidays are in a few weeks and there is a breeze in the air. In the shtetl it was referred to as an ‘Elul vint’, Yiddish for the ‘wind of the month of Elul’.

The month of Elul  the final month of the Jewish year has different focuses.

Last week we focused on spiritual stocktaking. This week let us focus on another part of the month - Teshuvah, normally translated as repentance but actually meaning return. Like in any business, the question is what are our core values? The call of the hour is to return to core values.

Personal and spiritual core values vary by person. To determine what yours is, try this; take an hour off, go alone to a quiet place, and contemplate the following.

When I pass away, what do I want to be remembered as? i.e.: Kind person, loving parent, friend to many, generous donor to important causes, advocate for Israel.

From a spiritual standpoint, where do I see myself? i.e.: In touch with G-d on a regular basis, practicing spirituality, more religious then spiritual.

With these two defined I can clarify my 3 most important core values. (Chabad’s core values are in a nutshell “The three loves: love of G-d, love of Torah and love of a fellow Jew are all one. One cannot divide them, as essentially they are one.”)

To return to who I really am, and who I really want to be, means that by next High Holidays I need to take action and commit to doing that which will lead me there.

Some Examples:

· To be more in touch with G-d, I will start to read the weekly Torah portion. (link)

· To develop my kindness and generosity, I will put a Charity box in my kitchen (email me if you need one) and put a coin or two in every day (excl. Shabbat and Holidays).

· To strengthen my relationships, I will call my friend/relative who I haven’t spoken to in a long time before Rosh Hashanah and wish them a Shana Tovah.

It is not easy work but the wind is blowing and YOU will be happy you did it.

Have a good Shabbos and may we all be inscribed for a happy and healthy sweet new year.

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

P.S. No need to share the conclusions but I’d love to hear your feedback about this exercise.

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