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Elul 5763 – On 9/11 – by Rebbetzin Tzipporah Heller

Elul 5763

From the desk of: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller

Dear Girls,

Our lives cannot/will be the same as they were last year. So much has happened! 9/11, the war in Iraq, the terror that has reached unprecedented levels of savagery. Let’s look at one of the most fascinating and inspiring to the years cataclysms. When Bracha Toporowitch lost her infant granddaughter in the 21 of Av terrorists attack, the press came to get her input, and they came in full force. After all, she is American, and speaks their language. One of the most significant questions that she was asked was “How do you feel about the terrorist”?. Her answer was “I never gave much thought to him, or my feelings towards him. The thought that recurs in my mind is that we all have a mission, which is to make ourselves better people, and the world a better place. If we would all do this, things like this would not happen”. One of the newsmen, a Black journalist from the States, stayed on after the interview was over and discussed what she meant earnestly and at length. “You mean that we must bring G-d into our lives”, he concluded. “Yes. Only when we let Him direct our lives can we expect to see any real changes”. “Yes”, he replied and left with an entirely different perspective.

It is tragic, but true, that we often discover who we are and what we really want, and most importantly, how we can bring our vision for the future into this-worldly reality, only when we are forced by circumstances to look at life more deeply.

We can make other choices! We can commit ourselves to our mission out of love of good, not only out of dread of being on the wrong side of the equation when the score is finally added up. Defining good and evil is far from easy. Intuitively we look either towards social consensus, or towards our inner sense of truth, both of which are corruptible. It’s Elul. We can find Hashem more easily now than at any other time. We can find Him if we are willing to break down walls. Our egos are fragile, so we protect them by “defending” ourselves: by fighting against our awareness of G-d’s sovereignty by holding Him up to our expectations (where was G-d) rather than doing the opposite (where was I), and denying the fact that His presence is in the hearts of every other human.

Let us use this unique time be more open than we have ever been before. Let us explore our posibilities of improving ourselves, and the world, by integrating what we have learned until now. Let us use the Torah’s truth to free us from the clinches that we may have absorbed from the outside. May next year be one of growth, self-discovery and ultimately redemption for the klal, which is the result of the personal redemption of each one of us.

With every wish for each of us to have a year that is sweet in every sense,

Tziporah Heller