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Parshios Netzavim & Vayeilech

Personal Business Plan

By Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig

"For this mitzvah (Divine commandment) that I command you today, it is not hidden from you and it is not distant...Rather, the matter is very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to perform it." (Devarim/Deuteronomy 30:11-14) Ramban (1) explains that, "this mitzvah" is referring to the mitzvah of Teshuva, regretting one's misdeeds and resolving to return to G- d's path. On the Shabbos before Rosh Hashana, our Day of Judgment, we remind ourselves that it is never too late to repent. "The matter is near to perform it": everyone is capable.

Rabbi Chaim Shmulevitz (2) asked, "If the mitzvah is so easy, why don't most people do it?" Even among those who believe that they are being judged, many do not exert much effort to change their ways and improve. Rabbi Shmulevitz explains that people allow the force of habit and natural complacency to prevent them from changing. Many people are completely unaware of their flaws simply because they never stopped to take an objective "personal inventory" of actions and attitudes. Over time, even the bad of which we are aware finds justification, and we do not appreciate how much we have changed as a result of it. When we are unaware of or unconcerned about our wrongdoings, we cannot do teshuva for them.

In the business world, it is common to periodically reexamine progress, to analyze ones successes and failures. By doing so, successful businesses identify methods to improve and grow the company. A relatively small investment of time and effort in this way produces a bounty of substantive results. This is no less true for the business of G-d consciousness. When we set aside the time to think about our actions, we may find that we are being selfish, impatient, critical, short-tempered, or performing mitzvos by rote without the appropriate sincerity. Once we realize what the problems are, we can plan and consult to chart the path to improvement and change.

We can and must change. When we strive and expend the effort, we will emerge different people. Through the transformation we create and in the merit of our efforts, may we all be inscribed in the Book of Life.

Have a Good Shabbos!

(1) acronym for Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman, Nachmanides; 1194-1270; native of Gerona, Spain, he was one the leading scholars of the Middle Ages and successfully defended Judaism at the famed debate in Barcelona in 1263 (2) Rosh Yeshiva/Dean of the Mir Yeshiva, who led his students from the ashes of the European Holocaust to the glory of Jerusalem

Text Copyright © 2004 by Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig and

Kol HaKollel is a publication of The Milwaukee Kollel Center for Jewish Studies 5007 West Keefe Avenue Milwaukee, Wisconsin 414-447-7999



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