Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Here is an idea I heard on Shabbat: All the parshiyot we read during Elul serve as reminders for how we can fix and improve our lives before the coming new year. The opening verses of each of these parshiyot point toward the direction we should go:

“Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse.” We started Elul with the most important idea for this time period: free choice. There is blessing and curse in the world, and every day we can choose anew between good and bad.

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“Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates.” One must carefully watch the body’s “gates” (the eyes, ears, and mouth) and place “judges and officers” over them. That is, one must pay attention to what one hears, sees, and says – to check who one’s friends are in life and on social media, to filter out content one is exposed to, and to think before one speaks.

“When thou goest forth to battle against thine enemies.” There is a struggle here. In the framework of the soul-searching we do on Elul, one must mark one’s enemies –laziness, selfishness, anger, routine – and think about how to prevail over them.

“And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and dost possess it, and dwell therein.” This parshah tells us about “a land flowing with milk and honey.” In other words, all the beautiful ideas above must be turned into reality through our eternal connection to Eretz Israel.

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Sivan Rahav-Meir, a ba’alas teshuvah, is one of the most popular media personalities in Israel. She is a Channel 2 News anchor, a columnist for Yediot Aharonot, and the host of a weekly radio show on Galei Tzahal. Every day she shares short Torah thoughts to over 100,000 Israelis – both observant and not – via Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp.
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