We are now at the end of the month of Elul, just before the great days of awe, judgment and forgiveness. I am reminded of the adage “Man plans, G-d laughs!” Approaching the year 5782, we do not know how the latest COVID-19 spike will play out, the timing of an additional vaccine booster shot, or if we will go into another lockdown, with our children missing another year of precious in person schooling.
Many are traumatized from the stresses and strains of events out of our control with no apparent end in sight. Before we try and change the world for the better, we should look inward and try to change ourselves and focus on what really matters in life and the relationships important to us.
The Second Temple was destroyed due to sinat chinam, baseless hatred. As we usher in the new year, we should double and redouble our efforts and seek a renewed commitment in reaching out to our brothers and sisters in kindness and baseless acts of love. Spreading light, a smile or a good word can dispel much darkness.
For each of us, we need to step back and take in the big picture. My mentor, Rabbi Ephraim Silverman of Chabad of Cobb, is fond of saying that the person most responsible for our individual happiness is the one we look at in the mirror every morning!
Happiness is a choice, and we must proactively choose!
From my family to yours, a prayerful and traditional blessing for a good and sweet new year both materially and spiritually, kesivah vachasimah tovah!
Mitchell Kaye served five terms in the Georgia House of Representatives.