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Just like that, another year is beginning its slow retreat into history. The year 5781 will be one for the records, one of much uncertainty and disarray, and very soon we will welcome the New Year of 5782. The season of the New Year is upon us, a time of stock taking and introspection. The last month of the year on the Jewish calendar is called Elul. It is a month that connects the past year with the coming year—a time when we reflect on where we stand, and where we should be going. Rosh Hashanah is on the horizon. Time to get prepared. 

It is taught that in this month, the “King is in the Field,” and G‑d is readily accessible, willing to hear our requests and listen to our fervent prayers for the coming new year. Every day of Elul we blow the shofar and recite special Psalms in anticipation of the High Holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

This year as I take stock, there is an array of extra line items I am adding to my list of profits and losses and decisions for the future. The line items revolve around Covid and the uncertain times we live in.

Profits: I maintained clarity that this pandemic is Divinely orchestrated and although I don’t know and can’t know G-d’s plan, I can try to derive some lessons from it. I oriented myself to the things that are truly important in life; relationships, family, health, Torah and Mitzvot, and kindness towards others. I maintained clarity as to my Chabad mission and tried to “pivot” to move our organization towards delivering on this mission despite the radical change of circumstances.

Losses: I was too judgmental of others who were fearful and operated from a place of fear. I was too impatient at times not living the messages I understood to be derived from the pandemic. Even with the new found time I didn’t spend enough of it on things of value.

Decisions: To translate the positive lessons and changes made in my life into a regular routine. Specifically, to recall monthly the lessons surrounding values, that there is plenty of time for the things that are really important, that even in tough times G-d is in charge. To work on my empathy for others and to be less judgmental of those who think differently than I. To move relevant and practical ideas about life from mind to heart.

What are some of the Covid Calculations you are making, as you reflect on this past year and prepare for Rosh Hashanah?

As you prepare your P&L for 5781, may you be blessed with a Ktiva Vchatima Tova – May you be inscribed and sealed for a good and sweet healthy New Year!


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