Are They Humoring Us or Do Our Solidarity Visits Matter? Reflections on 2 Days in Israel this Week • Watch: Levayah of Aaron Sofer, Z"TL • Arch-Terrorist Barghouti Calls For Fatah Revolution • IDF On High Alert In Golan Heights • Jerusalem Watching Developments On Golan Closely, As Al-Qaeda Grabs Foothold On The Heights • Dallas Dance Nominated for Obama Administration Education Post • Hamas Spiritual Guide Slams 'Extremist' Islamic State • Facing Islamist Threats, Some Arab Nations Tilt Toward Israel • Islamic State Massacres 160 Captured Syrian Soldiers • Tragedy Creates A Heavenly Emissary (Photo Essay) • PM Dismisses Claim He Agreed To State On 1967 Lines • Israel @ War - Day 53 - Day 3 of Truce - Live Blog - UPDATED 6:05 PM Thursday, Aug. 28 (Israel, Aug. 29) • Captives Held By Islamic State Were Waterboarded • Take The Stress Out Of Returning To School • Despite The Fog Of Ceasefire, Israel Has Emerged Stronger From The War • In The Aftermath Of Tragic Loss of Aaron Sofer, z'l • Agudath Israel: Florida Lawsuit Jeopardizes Education of Thousands of Scholarship Students • Israel @ War - Day 52 - Day 2 of Truce - Live Blog - UPDATED 5:17 PM Thursday, Aug. 28 - Page Will Refresh Itself • Watch: Spanish Imam: 'Oh Allah, Destroy the Plundering Jews' (Video) • Street Skids Despite Upbeat Economic News • Kiddush Levana: Aug 28, 1:13 PM to Sep 09 7:35 AM (Kiddush Levanah May only be said at night) • Mishnayos L'zecehr nishmas Mrs. Anne Lustman, z'l,mother of Mark & Stan Lustman, (for the shloshim 21 Elul 5774 http://www.lzechernishmas.com/signup.php?id=4717
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Parshas Shof'tim - ELUL!!
Five thousand seven hundred and seventy five years ago, G-d founded a corporation. He organized a board of directors, a mission statement, and a corporate framework. He analyzed a list of possible employees and placed each person in their most appropriate and effective position.
Each year on the anniversary of this day, G-d reviews the progress of the world and of each individual. Based on past performance and future expectations, He sets the next year’s assignments.
“All pass before G-d like sheep. As a shepherd examines his flock, G-d inspects, counts, appoints, and determines the fate of every living. On Rosh Hashana it is written and on Yom Kippur it is sealed” (High holiday prayers).
Many of us are successful. We make resolutions and follow them through to new heights and. Even so, as the year reaches its conclusion and the time of G-dly restructuring is imminent, none of us can be completely sure that we will be allowed to retain our positions. We set aside Elul, the last month of the year, as a time of Teshuva and introspection.
The Baal Haturim is not just playing word games. There is a significant connection between the end of days and the end of the year:
As we progress along this path of growth, it becomes increasingly difficult to recall the excitement that was its original catalyst. We accept Mitzvos upon ourselves with excitement and we continue to do them, but they slowly become habit, rote, and something we do because we did it yesterday. We lose our spark of excitement, our Isarusa and feel as if we have reached the end of our growth path.
It seems that every Isarusa and growth spurt is eventually followed by a ‘low’. The energy that woke us up will eventually run out. The Torah (30:6) tells us that there is only one solution to this problem: “And G-d will bring back your exiles and He will have mercy on you and he will bring you to the Land that He as promised you and He will remove the impurities from your hearts and from the hearts of your children”.
G-d appreciates the good deeds that we do, He remembers us, and He will help us repent, reform, and reconnect to the original spark of inspiration that started us on our journey.
Over the course of twelve months we experience highs and lows, but when the month of Elul comes we are in need of assistance. G-d is preparing to judge us again just as we are becoming ‘old’ and unexcited about our growth. We possess actions, but we no longer have the spark of excitement that sent us sailing through the judgment day last year.
G-d does not let us fizzle out. For a full month preceding Rosh Hashana, He helps us remove our impurities and bare our souls He gives us an opportunity to renew our excitement be our very best as He evaluates us and sets our roles for the coming year.
May we all emerge victorious in judgment and maintain our spark of enthusiasm throughout the entire year. (Based on the Afikei Mayim)
Gabbaim Take Heed!
From the Shabbat that follows Tish'ah B'av and onwards, we say for the Haftorah for the seven Shabbatot the seven (Haftorot) of consolation. However, if the first day of Rosh Hodesh Elul falls on Shabbat, we put off,1 ''O you afflicted...'', and say instead the Haftorah,2 ''The heaven is My throne...'', since it also has some consolation regarding (the destruction of) Jerusalem. On shabbat Parashat ''Ki Teitzei'' we then say the Haftorah,3 ''Sing, O barren one,...'', and we add on to this also ''O you afflicted...'' because one follows the other.4 If one erred on shabbat Rosh Hodesh Elul and said ''O you afflicted...'', then if one remembers before saying the blessings after it, one says also ''The heaven is My throne...'' and then say the blessings after it. If one does not remember until after the (concluding) blessings, one says ''The heaven is My throne...'' without blessings. If (however) Rosh Hodesh Elul falls on Sunday, we put off the Haftorah, ''Tomorrow is the new moon...''5 because it does not contain any consolation for (the destruction of) Jerusalem. Instead, we say the Haftorah, ''O you afflicted...''.