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CHANCE OF A LIFETIME

by Rabbi Daniel Estreicher    
Torah from Dixie Staff Writer    

As we enter the month of Elul (the month before Rosh Hashanah) we are faced with a wonderful opportunity. Our rabbis tell us that Hashem is closer to us during these days than any other time of the year.

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As we enter the month of Elul (the month before Rosh Hashanah) we are faced with a wonderful opportunity. Our rabbis tell us that Hashem is closer to us during these days than any other time of the year. If we only will turn to Him with sincerity, then He is willing to accept our teshuvah, repentance.

Elul is a time for improvement. In the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, the concise code of Jewish law, we are told that we should have our tefillin and mezuzot checked during this month. The law then states that we should examine all of our mitzvot and wherever we find a "crack" we should make amends.

Most people would be fine in inspecting their religious items. After all, these are objects which are removed from oneself. However, when it comes to one's personal shortcomings, many people find it quite difficult to see themselves in this light. To admit that one is either doing something wrong, or that we could even use some improvement in the mitzvot that we are already performing, is not easy.

Now is the time to make a self-evaluation. We need to take this seriously. Our purpose in this world is to serve Hashem in the best way possible. Great sages would go into seclusion during these days in order to make this cheshbon hanefesh, self-evaluation. They knew that the kind of person they were made a difference.

At this time, let us make a serious effort to look at ourselves and see where we can make improvements. This applies not only to those commandments bein adam laMakom, between Man and G-d, but also to commandments bein adam l'chaveiro, between Man and his fellow. We should try to be more sensitive to other people's needs. If we take this to heart, we will have made a significant accomplishment and placed ourselves on the road to a sweet judgment for next year.

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Rabbi Daniel Estreicher has been a teacher at the Yeshiva High School of Atlanta for over 20 years.

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