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Updated: Dec 9, 2023

Forty days and forty nights of rain. Forty years of wandering. Forty is a meaningful number in our tradition. This Shabbas is Rosh Chodesh Elul, the beginning of the final month of the year, marking forty days until Yom Kippur. If we have not yet begun the process of teshuvah, repentance and return; if we have not yet begun to our cheshbon hanefesh, our spiritual accounting; if we have not yet reached out to others to repair and renew our relationships- now is the time! Our parsha- re’eh- reinforces this message. “Look here!”- the Torah calls out to us- life is full of choices, and those choices are in your hands- blessing or curse, which will it be? Seeing is believing, or so it has been said. Beginning with the month of Elul, we add Psalm 27 to our daily practice- “lulei heemanti lirot b’tuv Adonai”- if ONLY I believed! In the words of Reb Nachman, “If you believe that you can damage, believe that you can repair.” This Shabbas is our reminder that we have forty days to see and decide.

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