July 22, 2024
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Helping Women Prepare Spiritually for the Yamim Noraim

Highlighting: “The Eishes Chayil Yamim Noraim Treasury” by Rabbi Dov Weller. ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications. 2022. Hardcover. 300 pages. ISBN #: 9781422632321.

(Courtesy of Artscroll) The days between Rosh Chodesh Elul and Yom Kippur are some of the busiest in a woman’s life — and the most important. It is now that we have the best chance to do authentic teshuvah, deepen our connection to Hashem, and engage in the incredible power of tefillah.

Designed to fit in with Jewish women’s busy lifestyles, “The Eishes Chayil Yamim Noraim Treasury” by Rabbi Dov Weller features brief and powerful insights and stories on Chodesh Elul and the power of teshuvah, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, as well as commentary on selected prayers and Torah readings.

The ”Eishes Chayil Yamim Noraim Treasury” is for women who want to enrich and enhance the upcoming Yamim Tovim (and take a few well-earned minutes from holiday prep!). It’s for women staying home with their children on Yom Tov and for women enjoying a few quiet minutes in shul. Indeed, it is for every Jewish woman as she looks forward to a healthy, happy and prosperous year.

The following is one excerpt from the new book with a powerful and practical message for this time of year.

• • • •

Living With a Plan

Psychologists document that goals fail for two reasons. First, the goal itself is unattainable:

“I will never get angry.”

“I will daven the entire tefillah with concentration three times a day.”

“Sugar will never pass my lips again.”

Although such goals are commendable and may even be required of us (the Rambam teaches that one should indeed avoid getting angry at all costs), aiming for such a general, overarching goal is bound to fail from the start, which only discourages future growth.

Second, even when the goal is attainable and practical, if a plan of action that will enable the successful realization of the goal is not put into place, it is likewise bound to fail. Setting attainable goals and implementing a plan of action are essential ingredients for accomplishment.

As we approach the Yom Hadin, our mission is to improve ourselves. We never want our spiritual accomplishments and personal achievements to be on cruise control from year to year. For this, we need to define our goals for improvement and strategize ways to actualize them.

Nearly anyone who has successfully actualized a goal did so through making a detailed plan or process that enabled him to attain success and fulfill his goal. From the smallest goals to the largest, preplanning, calculation, and forethought are necessary to ensure success.

Someone who is traveling from Monsey to Far Rockaway on Erev Shabbos would be wise to leave early and turn on Waze prior to setting out on his journey to determine the route with the least traffic. A person who wants to control expenses in order to maintain a healthy budget and avoid credit card debt sits down and makes a calculation of the money he earns and what his monthly expenditures should be. Every business has a goal-oriented roadmap that aligns it with the day-to-day priorities and provides the direction the company needs to take in order to be successful.

The same idea should be put into place with regard to who we want to become and what we want to accomplish in life.

We should ask ourselves: Am I living with a plan to become someone who is elevated and spiritually close to Hashem? Am I developing a path in life, a daily schedule, that is focused on what’s truly important and real? How am I effecting good in this world — in a practical, meaningful way?

By asking ourselves these questions, we are on the way to formulating a practical, successful plan of action for achieving the spiritual gains we want. 

 

Small Steps

A talmid went to the great mashgiach of Chevron Yeshivah, Rav Leib Chasman, during the month of Elul and asked what he could take upon himself for the new year. Rav Leib answered, “Think of one thing, and one thing only, that you want to work on and that you feel is within your reach to accomplish. Choose something easy and then return to me.”

The talmid returned a little while later having identified something he wanted to work on that was within his grasp to achieve. Rav Leib then told the talmid, “Now take your kabbalah and split it in half. Aim to achieve half the goal that you set for yourself. Through this you will grow!”

The yetzer hara wants us to set extravagant goals, knowing that we will never be able to hold onto them in the long run. He wants nothing more than for us to stumble and quash all interest in further growth.
It’s far more effective to work on something small, actualize the goal, and feel good that we accomplished what we set out to do. The positive energy born out of achieving even a small goal triggers the desire for further and more impactful growth.


Rav Elazar Menachem Man Shach would say, “The smaller the resolution, the greater the success.” One Rosh Hashanah, Rav Shach, accepted upon himself to look into a bentcher when he would recite the first berachah of Bircas HaMazon. One berachah from a bentcher—this was the kabbalah of the great rosh yeshivah and gaon Rav Shach (Kinyan Torah Haggadah, p. 127).

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