Monday, September 7, 2009


As we continue working diligently to improve our character traits, we are being extremely conscientious during Elul. The time has come for us to take a good look at ourselves and see how we are really behaving towards others. This week we were presented with a very interesting and thought-provoking lesson. The lesson taught us that Hashem not only examines the words we speak, but also, all our deep and hidden thoughts. The way we act towards others may come out of mouths with the words we speak, however, the words originated in the deep inner recesses of our minds.... namely, our thoughts. A few weeks ago, we learned that "the tongue is the heart's pen and the messenger of the mind." A statement so beautifully said and so very deep. If the tongue is the heart's pen which is the messenger of the mind, why don't we usually speak from the heart? It seems more like we are speaking from the mind, which may not be as pure as the heart. Does this mean that the heart and mind may not be in sync with each other? Which then means that the thoughts and words are not quite in sync, either??? How frightening to think that we have such polar opposites going on inside us. It's no wonder we are so stressed out.

As we take our self-inventory at this time of year, before Rosh Hashanah, we must be completely honest with ourselves and admit that is exactly what our task is. And for sure, it is a very challenging task. We are working to keep our thoughts pure and always rooted in goodness, so that the words we speak are also pure and good. We are dealing with the influences of the subconscious mind versus the conscious mind. If our thoughts are so deep that we aren't even in touch with them, how can we be held responsible for them? Usually, if we are being really honest with ourselves, we can admit that we are aware of that dark, little place hidden deep inside our thoughts might just have a touch of possible impurity, not exactly coming from goodness. That is the exactly the place the words come from. Yet, if we do realize that those thoughts are completely subconscious, then we can breath a sigh of relief by knowing that the power or mussar is the path to perfecting our thoughts.

Once you begin the mussar process intensely, you can distinguish and recognize when your thoughts are coming from that pure place of goodness. The challenging part of the task is being honest with ourselves and keeping our thoughts as pure and good, as we want our words to be. Mussar becomes the connector between the thoughts, the heart and the words. Through the power of mussar, we are able to master this complex thought-to heart-to word process that is going on, smoothly connecting the messages of the mind to be pure and good, so that the tongue can write the words- that are pure and good and in our heart.
When it comes time for Hashem to judge us, we can stand before Our Father, Our King, certain and strong knowing, that we are striving to do our best to keep the connection... between the thoughts in our mind and the words in our heart- which is the direct connection to the holiness of our souls, the souls of others AND that is what brings us closer to Him.

All we need to do is align ourselves and keep in balance- by keeping our thoughts and hearts pure and good- and always in sync. This is part of the process that brings peace and equanimity into one's life. No matter what is going on around you, when you are balanced by your thoughts and your heart being connected in pure goodness, you won't tip the scales. You maintain your balance with inner peace, calm and strength- as you go through your situations. The moods of other's close to you will not affect you as you stay grounded by the balanced connection within yourself. Once the thoughts and the heart connect in goodness, you will replace the turmoil and conflict with an oasis of peace within you.

As you stand before Our Father, Our King, you will now know- that you can strive to use the power of mussar to connect your deep, hidden thoughts to the love in your heart, so that all your words to Our King, as well as to all others, may be only pure and good. So that, when you are judged by Our Father, Our King, you will receive the most precious and valuable gift of all.... to be inscribed in the Book of Life, for a good life.

L'shanah tova!

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