Posted in Hadracha, Yomim Tovim, tagged ani ledodi vedodi li, elul, malchus, malchuyos, rav pincus on rosh hashana, rav shimshon pincus on elul, rosh hashana, shofar on August 17, 2010 |
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I’m sure that anyone standing here tonight can get up and speak for 5 hours regarding the days of Elul. What can I add…what can I share?
The purpose of Elul, is to start at the very beginning, with our eye on the end. “Ani Ledodi, Vedodi Li” – (The roshei Teivos of the word Elul) is an expression of pure love. In other words, these days of Elul are designed for us to practice the art of taking Hashems hand, bringing him in to our lives and never letting go. We are being tasked with the job of developing powerful feelings of love for Hashem Yisborach. This love for Hashem, is what we strive to achieve at the very end of Tishrei and after celebrating the climax of Simchas Torah and Shemini Atzeres. That being the case, why is it that we begin Elul already with stirrings of love for Hashem, if in fact, we are meant to achieve this state at the end of the Yomim Tovim?
The answer to this is reflected in the words of Chazzal when they say, “Sof Ma’aseh B’machashava Techiloh” – “The end result must begin with an initial and complete understanding of the task ahead”.
When a person drives up to the Catskills during the summer to be with his family for Shabbos and you ask him where he is going…he won’t reply that he is driving to the George Washington Bridge and then to the Palisades and then to…. He will not describe and indicate each step in the process of making his way up to the Bungalow Colony! Instead, he will simply say that he is driving to the Country. This man has his mind focused on the end result. He understands the objective and he simply fills in the gaps in the middle. Similarly, when a building is constructed, we can ascertain the end result already at the beginning, by means of viewing and understanding the architectural plans and diagrams. The construction crew already knows what they are building and they simply fill in the appropriate steps to achieve the end result.
This is the reason that we begin Elul right away by working on developing our feelings of pure love for Hashem Yisborach! It is precisely because this is the end goal of all of our efforts during this wonderful stretch of Yomim Tovim (each with its own character, hidden meanings and beauty) – to awaken and to strengthen our love for Hashem, that we begin right away with our eye on the prize!
<Heard From Harav Shimshon Pincus Z”L>
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Chazal teach us “Sofo Na’utz Betchiloso – The end is attached to the beginning”. In a different place, Chazal explain this concept with the words “Sof Ma’aseh B’machashava Techiloh – The final output is dependent upon the initial thought”.
When an Architect draws up plans for a building, he already has the final draft completed – with a full schematic drawn up, before the first brick is even cemented! When a person drives up to the mountains for Shabbos and you ask him where he is going, he doesn’t begin to describe for you the exact sequence of each exit on the highway etc… Instead, he simply says that he is “going to the mountains for Shabboss”. In other words, he already has his eye on the prize from the very beginning ….just like the Architect in our previous example! This same concept applies with respect to our desire for spiritual growth. We need to focus from the very beginning on what it is that we’d like to accomplish at the end. When we say Modeh Ani in the morning, we need to immediately think about how we want our day to evolve. When we hear the first sounds of the Shofar at the beginning of Elul, we need to reflect on what we’d like to accomplish by the end of Simchas Torah and devise a plan to meet that end goal. Elul is a time when G-d takes us on a rocketship to meet and live with him in the heavenly spheres – quite literally! We live in Shamayim on this Earth! To be sure, every Jew becomes enthused and excited during this precious time. However, if we do not draw up a plan of action and decide on exactly what spiritual items we will be ‘purchasing’ , then we will ultimately come away from the Yomim Tovim with nothing but fond memories!!
Therefore, by focusing on the “Sof Ma’aseh B’machashava Techiloh”, we greatly enhance our opportunity for success!
<Heard From Rav Shimshon Pincus>
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Although we know that the Holy days of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are emotional days, we find that during the closing of Yom Kippur and specifically in the special moments of Tefilas Ne’ilah, our people have a tendency to become even more emotional and to weep. Why?
The answer can be explained with a parable. Imagine a King has an only daughter who gets married to a boy from a faraway province. This princess who is used to living in the lap of luxury, must now live on her own in a distant place. Some time after her marriage, the King receives a letter from his daughter full of a longing and desire to see her Father. In the letter, she complains bitterly regarding the simple folk who live in her town. She complains that she is not being treated in accordance with her stature and that she feels miserable living in this boorish and low environemt. The King reads this letter and is concerned for his daughter. He immediately sends word to the town that he will be making a personal visit to the town in just a few weeks. Naturally, this small town starts buzzing with excitement! The king himself is coming to visit! In the ensuing few weeks, the town feverishly prepares for the Kings visit. The streets are swept and cleaned and lavish feasts are prepared. People purchase new clothing in honor of the Kings visit, etc. On the day of the Kings arrival, the entire town comes out to greet their King. The King joins the town for 10 days of festivities and celebrations where the King gets to interact personally with his Daughter, who is naturally ecstatic to be living in her Fathers embrace once again! During his stay, the King finds the community to be attentive and pleasant. However, as he gets ready to depart back to his castle, his daughter begins to weep all over again and begs her Father to stay! The King is puzzled and asks his daughter why she seems so upset…indeed, the people of this town and the atmosphere seems so pleasant!!.. The daughter explains to her father as follows, “My dear Father, don’t you understand that all of these festivities and goodwill was generated just for your visit. However, now that you are going back home, things will slide back into the normal routine which I cannot bear! Please, please do not go away!!! Stay here with me!
This parable is aptly applied to our penchant for crying bitter tears during the closing moments of Yom Kippur. Indeed, the weeks of Elul and all the way up to the culmination of Yom Kippur, are incredible days of Holiness and a closeness with Borei Olam! We are literally living with Hashem and it is like Heaven on this Earth! In this time of bliss, we forget our previous despondency over our ‘reality’. However, in the closing precious moments of Ne’ilah when Hashem is getting ready to depart back to the Heavenly spheres (as it says in the pasuk “Yoshev Bashamayim Yischok”), we cry out to Hashem and we say TATTY!! PLEASE DON’T GO AWAY FROM US, STAY HERE WITH US, WE NEED YOU!!
<Heard From Rav Shimshon Pincus>
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