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Is Self Transformation Possible?

Thursday, 8 August, 2013 - 12:06 pm


Dear Rabbi,

 I was told by a friend that High Holidays begin this week. Your email says that High Holidays start Sept4th? 

I'm Confused - are you right or my friend right? 


We are both right :). The traditional High Holiday services begin Sept 4th (rsvp here). But the spiritual and internal work to prepare and experience the High Holidays began yesterday. 

To explain let me share with you an email I received from Rabbi Simon Jacobson of the Meaningful Life Center in New York.

"What will happen to each one of us on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur has a great deal to do with how we prepare for these great days."

"You see the Jewish month of Elul (which began 8/7/13) is called chodesh hacheshbon, "a month of accounting," as it comes at the end of the spiritual fiscal year. It's also considered the month of preparation for the new spiritual year that begins with Rosh Hashana. The two themes of Elul—accounting and preparation—are interdependent, because how we account for the past is how we prepare for the future.

In Elul [the word in Aramaic means "searching"] we examine the mistakes of the past year in order not to repeat them. In particular, this means taking an honest look at what is trapping us and preventing us from truly moving forward."

"Obviously, fundamental changes do not happen instantly. But self-transformation is possible, and it is possible to the extent that we want it, that we examine ourselves and identify issues that need work, and that we invest ourselves in that goal.

Any faith in G-d has to include faith in hope and faith in transformation—faith that we will be forgiven for past mistakes and faith that we can change.

Ask yourself:  Do you believe that self-transformation is truly possible?  Do you want to change?  Are you prepared to resolve to do so?"

Have a great Shabbos 

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman 

P.S. There are no services this week 

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