As a sometime contributor to BeyondBT, I’ll let you in on a little secret. From time to time the administrators send out emails with suggestions for written submissions. Usually these suggestions are great springboards for someone with the patience and time to write to actually come up with something meaning, relative, and thought-provoking. And then, there’s me.
I got my email from them August 10th. This week, during a casual email exchange with one the administrators very sweetly asked for a submission. The first thought that I had was basically that I have nothing to say. This is what I’ve been thinking most of Elul. I’ve attempted to become more serious about davening (read: take time to think about what I’m saying in the siddur) of the past few weeks. I’ve checked my “cheshbon hanefesh” (spiritual accounting) that I keep on a daily basis to see what areas I’ve excelled in over the past year and what area I need improvement in. I’ve been to the gravesite of a grand-child of Rabbi Yisrael Salanter and said Tehillim. I’ve given tzedaka to organizations. I’ve got my volumes of Strive for Truth by Rav Dessler and the Rambam’s Hilchos Teshuva all marked at the passages de jour. I have even have committed to 10 minutes of daily hisbodedus (speaking directly and informally with Hashem).
Without try to sound to pretentious, can it be that even with all that I think I’m doing to prepare for the Yom HaDin, I still feel like I have nothing to say? Probably, but I can only say this because I’ve thought long and hard about it, even prior to writing this. What is there to say, when I know that very soon I’m going to be having a one-on-one with the Rabbono Shel Olam (Master of the World) and I know that I didn’t do my best this year. There are times when you get caught by the principal or your supervisor at work and you just simply have “nothing to say”. Even saying that you were wrong and that you’re sorry doesn’t feel like it will make a difference.
To us, it might not make a difference. To Hashem, though, every step we take towards Kedusha (holiness) makes an incredible difference. That’s why we have Elul, the Ten days of Teshuva, and the concept that we not only return, but have an even closer active relationship with our Creator. I suppose that it’s not so much about Rosh Hashana approaching, as it might be about how I approach Rosh Hashana.