We all know that this Friday is the first day of Elul. The knowledge that it is, however, two days off may allow us to press the 'snooze button' one more time. While on snooze, we urge you to think about Rosh Chodesh Elul in some way. One thing to consider is that our biggest Yetzer Hara may be complacency. Being satisfied with a spiritual status-quo, in fact, serves only to lower one's ruchniyus, as the Torah relates (Bereishis 28:12): 'And behold Angels of G-d were ascending and descending on [the ladder]'. This Pasuk teaches that angels, as spiritual beings, must be ascending or descending. There is no in-between. Likewise the Sforno, in his commentary at the beginning of last week's Parsha (Devorim 11:26-28), teaches that what is placed before us is a blessing and a curse. We are to choose the blessing. There is no in-between, such as half a blessing or half a curse.
One may rightfully argue that his achievements and daily accomplishments far surpass the great majority the achievements of those around him. While this may be true, the question really is--do those achievements and daily accomplishments really and truly reflect my potential and purpose--my 'Tachlis Hachaim'? This is truly the challenge of everyone's life, and cannot be resolved in one sitting. However, we present two types of simple programs to consider for the thirty days of Elul--as a demonstration to Hashem and to yourself that you are making headway in the right direction, and are not just hanging firmly onto the ladder at that same rung. Here are our two suggestions, which you may accept, adapt, or use to spur you on to a program more relative to your immediate needs:
1. If you begin on Friday, the first day of Elul, to learn just three (3) Mishnayos a day of Mesechtos Rosh Hashana, Yoma, and Sukkah, **starting with** Mesechta Rosh Hashana, continuing on to Mesechta Yoma, then on to Sukkah, you will have completed all three Mesechtos by the middle of Sukkos. A nice demonstration!!
2. The Sefer Mesilas Yeshorim is actually not a very long sefer. If you take your edition, and divide it into 30 segments over the month of Elul, you will find that you need study only a few pages a day to complete the sefer before Rosh Hashana. Reviewing the Mesilas Yeshorim over the month of Elul is a fine accomplishment, and a remarkable complacency shredder.
Remember, Rav Shmuel of Lubavitch, Z'TL, would say, 'The World says, if you can't go over, you go under; the Torah says, if you can't go over--you must go over!!'
Reprinted with permission from Hakhel MIS