“Prioritize.” The word is ubiquitous in business management, whether for small businesses or global corporations. It means getting clear on what is most important, and devising a plan to “put first things first,” keeping them foremost in our minds and actions, and then fitting our daily tasks into that model. Klal Yisroel has possessed this middah since inception; we know it asחשבון הנפש.
I once attended a management workshop for a personal planning system that I use. The pivotal message of the workshop was that in order for the system to be maximally effective, its user must first devote five to seven hours of quiet introspection to develop a “ladder” of priorities, and only after that can the daily life tasks be inserted into a schedule. חז"ל tell us that we should give ourselves thirty days, beginning with Rosh Chodesh Elul, for that very important process of prioritizing our lives. Do not despair. Even if we have not done so at this point, on Monday night Rosh Hashanah begins, and during the עשרת ימי תשובה we have another opportunity.
Everyone has a different list of items to prioritize. As yeshivah parents, the רוחניות and חנוך of our children must always be at the top of our agenda. Elul is an acronym for a posuk in last week’s parshah:ומל ה‘ אלהיך את לבבך ואת לבב זרעך And Hashem will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring.” Why are these words specifically chosen to allude to Elul? Rav Moshe Feinstein זצ"ל says that it is in order to teach us that even if a person has done teshuvah and improved himself, he has not reached his goal of preparation for the ימים נוראים if he has not seen to it that his children follow in the derech haTorah. The word Elul itself is teaching us what our priorities must be!
I would like to wish our PHDS/NEAT family aכתיבה וחתימה טובה. May we constantly realize our priorities and may ה' grant us the ability to reach the goals that we set.
Rabbi Gidon Goldberg
Head of School