Sunday, August 31, 2008

Elul: Teshuvah and World Events

This month of Elul is a time where many people have a greater reawakening to perform teshuvah than the rest of the year, as this month precedes Rosh HaShanah - The Day of Judgement for the next year. World events seem to be growing more precarious by the day - in illogical ways, whether with Israel being threatened by Iran or the relationship between America and Russia. However, all events are for our best, whether events that are clearly good, or those that might seem on the surface to be negative. The purpose of all events is to encourage teshuvah. In these especially tough and perhaps seemingly uncertain times, it is important that we make an added effort to improve ourselves and perform teshuvah. Teshuvah is a powerful form of "self-defense" against danger. The reason for punishment coming to us would be to bring us closer to HaShem by rejecting our negative actions and coming to improve our observance of The Torah, both the mitzvos and by improved middos - character traits. In sefer "Zechariah", the Malbi"m points out that though HaShem doesn't "change His mind", if events occur, such that the purpose of difficult times is removed - i.e. by people coming to repent in advance of the realization of these difficult times, then HaShem wouldn't bring these difficulties to fruition. This is something we should keep in mind, especially in light of current events. G-d Willing we will merit a smooth transition to the time of Mashiach. Amen!