May 26, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
May 26, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Every year on Shabbos Parshas Bereishis I would begin my brilliant sermon (I only gave brilliant sermons) in the following manner:

“We set out on an incredible journey seven weeks ago. It begin with shofar blowing and reciting l’Dovid on Rosh Chodesh Elul. The week of Rosh Hashanah we begin selichos, on Rosh Hashanah we heard shofar, recited the unique tefillos and reaccepted Hashem’s eternal monarchy upon ourselves, recited tashlich, fasted on Tzom Gedalia, engaged in personal penitence including teshuva, tefillah, and tzedaka, heard inspiring drashos especially on Shabbos Shuva, performed kapparos, fasted and observed the holy day of Yom Kippur, built and decorated our sukkos, meticulously picked out and purchased our daled minim, joyously observed Sukkos with the ushpizin, recited Hallel each day of the holiday, celebrated at Simchas Beis Hashoeivah, recited the prayers of Hoshana Rabba and geshem on Shemini Atzeres, and danced energetically on Simchas Torah.

And now we have truly arrived… at the beginning.”

It is the beginning—not only of our annual Torah reading, which we recommenced with Bereishis—but the beginning of our efforts to effect lasting changes. It is the beginning of an opportunity to really make this the year we truly hope it will be.

Rav Shalom Schwadron, zt”l, quipped that our evil inclination is very wily and patient. He essentially declares: “I’ll give you the month of Elul and I’ll give you the month of Tishrei. I’ll let you have your time to be inspired. But I’ll bide my time. Just wait until Cheshvan and Kislev, and then you’ll be mine.”

Our evil inclination quickly lures us back into the familiar default mode of habit, so that all of our wonderful intentions for growth and change are quickly left at the wayside.

A friend who owns a bakery related that prior to the Shabbosos after Sukkos and Pesach he bakes many extra whole wheat challos. With the end of Yom Tov’s constant delicious meals, many people commit to lose weight and eat healthier.

But, he reported, by the following Shabbos the demand for whole wheat basically diminishes.

What ends up happening is that most people hold onto the calories while the spiritual inspiration flitters away. If only we could get the calories to fade away while we held onto the spiritual inspiration.

It can be done, but only if one is able to maintain his commitment by writing down his goals, mentally picturing success, and keeping his eye on the end goal.

Rosh Chodesh each month is a wonderful time for a “check-in,” to assess whether we are holding true to our goals.

It is in that sense that we have arrived at the beginning. In the beginning, God declared “Let there be light” and there was light. Our arduous task is to ensure that the light doesn’t fade.

By Rabbi Dani Staum


Rabbi Dani Staum, LMSW, is a rebbe and guidance counselor at Heichal HaTorah in Teaneck, NJ, principal at Mesivta Ohr Naftoli of New Windsor and a division head at Camp Dora Golding. He can be reached at [email protected]. Looking for “Instant Inspiration” on the parsha in under five minutes? Follow him on TorahAnytime.com.

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles