HOPE is vital for the stability and success of challenges, relationships and organizations.
Who hasn’t experienced setbacks and disappointments? The Path of the Just writes that the human life span is approximately eighty years and is fraught with difficulties and discomfort. Is it any wonder that so many people suffer from sadness and depression?
As the year closes the Jewish people have not accomplished her tasks and goals. We are a mere thirteen million people and shrinking. Ignorance, assimilation and intermarriage plague us like never before. We have no secure borders in our homeland. Our neighbors bomb us and pray for strength to drive us into the sea. Instead of uniting to fight the enemy, too many of our fellow Jews side with our enemies and assist them in the task.
To combat these challenges G-d gave us resilience and hope. The Jewish people are the most resilient people in the history of the world. We are the only nation that has made a comeback after 2000 years to their homeland! Despite rampant persecution through the ages we are a brilliant and energetic people that lead the world in science, business and of course ethics. This could only be accomplished through HOPE.
HOPE does not grow on trees and is not sold in supermarkets. HOPE comes from the pride and knowledge of the glorious history and destiny of the Jewish nation. HOPE comes from the study of the Bible and the Talmud and through a relationship with the All Powerful Creator that willed us into His world and has sustained the Jewish People through thick and tin these last four thousand years.
It is well known that Hitler maintained the Jewish buildings in Prague, Czechoslovakia so that once all Jews were exterminated the rest of the world would be able to come and learn about the horrid Jews that were thankfully wiped off the face of the earth. If Hitler could stand up from the grave today and see who is selling tickets to whom at Holocaust museums around the world he would not believe it!
The month of Elul is the Jewish month of HOPE. Each year after eleven months of life, hopefully growth, effort and struggles, Elul comes and focuses us on the truly important matters in life. We are encouraged to take an inventory of our apparent strengths and shortcomings and resolve to improve – to do Teshuvah.
We have so much to pray for, to yearn for and to HOPE for. The Talmud teaches that during Elul until Yom Kippur is a special time for our prayers to be launched and attended to by G-d.
Let us join together this holiday season in joy, in prayer and in HOPE that we will achieve great things in the year to come. My wife Debi joins me in wishing all of you a Shanna Tova – A good and sweet year filled with blessings, serenity and success. May we hear only good news from each other of goodness, peace and truth for all of Israel.
Rabbi Ephraim Epstein