Elul is Now
Do you feel stuck in a rut? Are you waiting for something to give you a push forward? David Ben Horin gives great advice that will even help us prepare for the new year...now!
Boy, do I love to eat. As long as it has the hechsher, into my belly it goes. It’s been that way as long as I can remember.
Recently, I have had to cut back. Pushing 50, high blood pressure, and feeling pains in places of my body I never even knew existed, I had to make changes.
I tried diets; they simply don’t work. My wife loves to cook and I love to eat.
The only solution is to stop eating. Come 6PM, I take that last fork full of whatever I am enjoying and close my eyes. Hashem willing, that will be my last bite till breakfast.
It’s not working. I just find myself eating more during the hours that I can.
One day, I found an answer.
I binged out so badly for lunch that I started to feel really sick inside. It was 2PM and in a moment of total self-disgust, I decided that 6PM was coming early.
That was my last bite until the next day.
Sometimes when I go so far in a bad direction, I have to take the next step early just to get back on track.
After declaring 6PM in the early afternoon, I decided there are other times in my life that need to come sooner than expected.
This summer has been a lazy one. My entire family got COVID-19. My kids bounced back really fast. My wife and I took a little longer. My amazing 74-year young mother-in-law, who got it two years ago in Queens, managed the home over the past two weeks.
Everything we did in our day took a huge hit. Full davening with a minyan became bare bones praying at home. My learning went to the minimum. My whole life was moving in slow motion.
The hardest part of having COVID was letting God down.
Every day that I couldn’t do what I had been doing all along felt like overeating.
With the reduction in action comes the reduction in spiritual vigor. Going out to a store in the heat of the summer is no longer a practice in guarding everything. Somehow, my ears have become more sensitive to the hip-hop music playing in the background.
That takes my slow-motion and turns it into full reverse. The losses are piling onto each other.
Even as we are all on the mend, it feels like my neshama goes up to heaven every night to report that for the 15th day in a row, I forgot to do my homework.
I decided to do something radical.
As of Rosh Chodesh Av, it is officially 6PM. It’s Elul.
I am going to start my teshuva a month early. I won’t do things like Slichot, which go against halacha, but I can do repentance every day. Come this Rosh Chodesh, I will start to step it up.
Even if I can blame COVID for my deep fall, it’s still a problem I need to fix.
What happens when you fall down on a hike – when you are with 20 people, all moving at a brisk pace, and you find yourself motionless with your knees to the ground?
You get up. You speed up. Then you catch up.
We all have moments like these: When we’re stuck in a rut and wait for something to trigger us out of it. It feels like laziness, just waiting.
The only remedy is alacrity. That means not waiting to get out of a funk, but taking the next step right now, even if it is “scheduled” for later on.
G-d willing, if we, the Jewish People, start doing things earlier than planned, our King will send us Redemption and Mashiach earlier than planned.
David Ben Horin is the writer and trader for Endurance Investing & Trading Daily. He lives in the Jezreel Valley with his wife and children, lots of Jews, Arabs, and the occasional shepherd.