A Worse Block than Cholesterol

This is a guest column by Rabbi Da-vid Rosenthal, from Aish Minnesota.

Writers block is an unfortunate reality. It can be frustrating, especially when you have a deadline.

That’s not the only blockage we need to worry about. Cholesterol blockages, blockages in our drainpipes, sewer blockages; generally speaking, blockages in places where they’re not meant to be can be very damaging.

But none of these blocks compare to the one that we need to be dealing with in the month ahead.

We have just entered Elul, the month of preparation leading up to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Traditionally, Elul is a month of introspection, examining one’s deeds and seeing if you’re headed in the right direction. It’s when we devote major efforts into personal growth, and improving ourselves. A lot of people focus on all the mistakes they’ve made over the past year. Where have they failed, fallen short.

I was told by my Rabbi that this was a BIG mistake.

Of course, it goes without saying that we need to right our errors from the past, apologize to anyone we’ve hurt, try to avoid these mistakes in the future. But a large part – if not the main focus – of what we should be spending our time in preparation for the High Holidays are our impediments.

We all want to be great. We yearn to be bigger than we are, to achieve greatness in whatever way we can. We all have so much to give to the world, such significance to share. I remember my Rosh HaYeshiva (the Dean of Aish) z’tl asking a group of people which of them secretly wished that they were the Mashiach (Messiah). Almost every person in the room raised their hand.

But somewhere along the way, we get blocked.

Blocks can come in many different forms. The one thing they have in common is that they stop us from being “all that we can be.” Elul is a time for identifying those things that are holding us back from greatness. Then figuring out a plan to go beyond them.

Some need to get past procrastination. Others aren’t able to openly confront problems. Still others don’t know how to relate to people. Just as our faces are different, so too our challenges. Only you know what holds you back from achieving distinction.

Let’s all take the time in the month ahead to figure out how we are going to climb the ladder, and become all that we were destined to be.

(Photo: joeshlabotnik)