Friday, August 10, 2007

Run away!

Everyone likes to get away from it all at some point. Forget work pressures, even just driving down a Joburg street is stressful. It’s a relief to get out of town, find a serene spot and unwind.

The truth be told, though, it’s not always that easy. While we can get away from the external pressures of life, we tend to carry a full array of internal baggage with us wherever we go. Even on holiday, our doubts, insecurities and regrets come along for the ride. None of us is perfect, we’ve all made mistakes that we wish we could undo. Even in those quiet moments, we often feel we cannot shake them off.

Imagine if we could.

“Holidays from conscience”- now there’s a great business opportunity! I’m pretty sure if someone would offer us a place to escape our closet skeletons, we’d snatch it.

The good news is that we get a 30-day getaway opportunity every year. It’s called the month of Elul, and it starts next Wednesday (August 15th).

One of history’s greatest debacles was the crumbling of Jewish resolve at the foot of Mount Sinai. Just days after G-d’s unequivocal message that He is the only One, they traded Him in for an inanimate dummy-god. After Moshe gave them a piece of his mind, the Jews surely felt terrible. One can safely assume that they would have carried guilt and a sense of fickle-failure with them for long time.

That would have been the case, had Hashem not unveiled the Elul paradigm shift. He invited Moshe back up the mountain for a 40-day session. During that time, he allowed the People to escape their mess, and start with a fresh slate.

Like the Biblical Cities of Refuge, Elul created immunity for the Jewish People from the faults that threatened to haunt them.

It does so every year.

Escape to Elul. Invest some extra prayer, study and charity in the next 30 days and you’ll start the New Year on the right foot.

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