Messages for Elul

Oasis Songs: Musings from Rav D
Friday, August 26, 2022 / 29 Av 5782

Summary: This year, I am changing the format of Oasis Songs for the month of Elul. Traditionally, this month has been used as spiritual preparation for the Yamim Noraim, our Jewish High Holidays. I will share a quote from a Jewish historical figure that I find inspiring and offer a few of my own thoughts about the selection. This week the quote comes from Rebbe Nachman of Bratslov, or Breslov. Breslov is part of Ukraine; given that their war with Russia is now half a year old, I thought it appropriate to begin with someone representative of Jewish Ukrainian culture.

Reading Time: One minute

“Before one turns the potential into the actual, the two are tied together and nothing separates them, for as it says in the prayer L’Ka Dodi, ‘What comes to pass first existed as a thought…’

“[Therefore] don’t be frustrated by obstacles you encounter on your path. These are there by design, to increase your desire for the goal you seek. The greater the goal, the greater the yearning that is needed to achieve it.”
-Rabbi Nahman, Likutei Moharan Part One, 66

Some of my favorite people are entrepreneurs, something I discovered when I helped my friends launch their tea company, Numi, from the ground floor. At trade shows, I befriended hundreds of people who were making their dreams a reality. Entrepreneurs understand Rebbe Nahman very well, for this is the real work of an entrepreneur, to inspire and demonstrate to the rest of us that if we can think it, we can make it so. Theodor Herzl, speaking of the Jewish people’s return to Israel after long exile said, “Im tirtzu, ain zo aggadah. If you will it, it is not a legend.”

When it comes to our own lives, each of us is an entrepreneur engaged in the business of becoming. As Elul begins, what is the greatest goal you can entertain for yourself? Do you feel your desire for it deep in your bones? If not, how can you strengthen your own yearning?

Shabbat shalom,

Rav D

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