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The Stealing Month

Both the father and his son were different: The father prayed for years to have a child. I knew from numerous conversations that, no matter how much he wanted a child, he was even more desperate for his wife to bear a child. I observed him three times a day at prayer and could see his palpable desperation. Many of us who watched the consistent intensity and power of his prayers, were moved to pray for him and inspired to become better prayors.

His wife gave birth to a son almost twelve years after they married. I recall his words at the Brit Milah: “Our son is living proof of the power of prayer. Thank You, God, and thank you to all who prayed for us. My wife and I pledge to always try to interact with our son as the answer to our prayers.”

The baby is almost thirty years old. I watched him grow up, and carefully observed the interaction between father and son. The father kept the pledge he made at the Brit; he related to his son as the answer to tens of thousands of prayers. He had suffered for this b child. He had fought hard for this child. His relationship with his son is different.

The son is also different. He has been a powerful davener since he first opened a Siddur. He knows how to fight to get what he wants. He is not fazed by suffering.

I imagine that a Yitzchak Avinu (Isaac the Patriarch) who suffered and prayed for ten years before his sons were born was different from a Yitzchak who is simply granted a child. His relationship with his children is different, probably the source of his love for Eisav.

Both Eisav and Jacob are fighters. Both are familiar with suffering. Eisav was more fighter, while Jacob was more the man of prayer.

The Zohar teaches that Jacob stole the month of Elul from Eisav. The month has Eisav’s power to fight, Jacob’s power of prayer, and the ability to steal opportunities, and combine the fighting and the prayer.

Fighting, praying, stealing, and combining all three, are exactly the qualities we need in the month before Rosh Hashanah, as we review the past year and worry about the next.

We must fight ourselves as we confront our Evil Inclination. We must battle against the sense of lost causes just as the father fought for a child despite being told by one doctor after another that it was a lost cause. Yitzchak fought for a child when others would have given up on their lost cause. There is always a part of the Teshuva process that confronts the Lost Cause: we find ourselves facing sins and mistakes that are all too familiar, sins for which we have repented last year and the year before and the year before that. How many times can we face the same sins without feeling that we are a lost cause.

At this point we must call on the fighter of Elul. We call on the fighter who specializes in battling lost causes.
We use prayer to fight. We use prayer to overcome the sense of lost causes and transform the sins and patterns of sin into growth; we steal those moments back from the Eisavs of the world.

This is our final week of fighting, praying, and stealing. I wish us great success.

Please don’t tell Marshall and Ellie about this; I don’t want them to worry while I am staying in their home. (I did notice some extra locks.)

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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