A Wake Up Call
As we approach the end of the Hebrew month of Elul and begin the month of Tishrei with Rosh Hashanah this evening, I've been thinking a lot about how small actions can create ripple effects that influence others.
Very recently, someone did something that was extremely petty and malicious. This one action affected not only me, but several other people that I know. When this event happened, my gut reaction was to call this person out and spread the word about what happened. However, I needed to step back and consider whether that would be the right thing to do.
My husband and I have been learning Mesillat Yesharim (Way of the Upright) by the Ramchal. In Chapter 2 of Mesillat Yesharim, we are reminded to be very careful with our actions and carefully and our approach to life. Some traits that must be mindful of are impulsiveness, greed, and jealousy. As the results of these actions cause hurt and pain to others. The Ramchal says that "one who travels through this world without considering whether his path is good or bad, he is like a blind person walking on the edge of a riverbank, whose peril is surely great, and whose misfortune is far more likely than his salvation.
The Torah Parashah that we read this past week also focuses on our behavior. In Parashat Nitzavim Moshe gathers all the people of Israel and delivers his final address to the nation. He reminds them of the covenant with Hashem. The people have two choices: to choose life and good or death and evil. When we walk in the ways of Hashem, follow his commandments, we will be blessed. Both Parashat Nitzavim and Vayelech center around the notion of Teshuvah- returning to a path of righteousness. In life we will make many mistakes, but we must learn from them in order that we don't repeat the same mistakes.
May Hashem give us the strength to do our own Teshuvah and return to the path set before us. Shana Tovah U'metukah!