Elul is always a month of introspection, and over the past week or two, I’ve written about self-improvement, good middos, showing kindness and the meaning of not only Elul and the High Holidays but of Judaism itself. But all of what I wrote can be succinctly compressed by a comment I saw yesterday, reminding me of a Chassidic doctrine which teaches us how to treat ourselves and others. It read;
“There is a Jewish saying that we were given 2 eyes for a reason. One eye is critical, always looking in judgment and the other is favourable, always focusing on the good. We’re meant to look at ourselves with the critical eye and to use the other to look at our neighbour.”
But everything must come in moderation, and although we are urged to look critically at ourselves, especially in the month of Elul, we should never become despondent or hateful to ourselves. Rather, we should head into the New Year with the knowledge that we are adequately prepared to stand before the King and reap the rewards of teshuva.
This week, Shabbes candles should be lit in London at 7:13 PM, and Shabbes ends at 8:19 PM tomorrow. When lighting your candles, please keep in mind Chaim Elozor ben Baila, Moshe ben Genya, Moshe ben Hadasa, Chashachana bas Bryna, Chana bas Mushka and Rivka Miriam bas Tsivia Bina. Thank you, and gut Shabbes!
(Also, a huge thank you to Safek for the comment which inspired this!)