August 2014

The goal of Elul is awakening us spiritually. What are we trying to wake up to?

  • Trusting that everything in our life is from Hashem. He has created this loving tailor-made journey for our training and development.

  • Trusting that Hashem loves us unconditionally. He recognizes the difficult battles we fight and thinks we’re amazing.

  • Yearning to do what Hashem wants us to do; to do His will. Our greatest effort is to reach out to Hashem. He is waiting for our pure call.

Every day from Rosh Chodesh Elul through Yom Kippur, pause. Ask Hashem to help us wake up! Ask Him to upgrade our life!

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With gratitude to Rebbetzin Tzipora Harris for sharing this inspiration on the Aneini Tehillim Teleconference, Rosh Chodesh Elul 5774.

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Elul: The last month in the Jewish lunar calendar, prior to the High Holy Days

Hashem: G-d

Rosh Chodesh: Beginning of the new month

Tehillim: Psalms


My first job out of college was at the Greater YMCA in Boston. I started as a receptionist (not what I went to college for!) and about a month later was promoted to payroll clerk. This was an unlikely turn of events for the student who barely made it through math class. My co-workers and manager had a lot of confidence in me and taught me the ropes – most of them.

So what’s so hard about being a payroll clerk? It’s all automated, right?

No. This was in the mid-1970s; computers took up an entire temperature-controlled room and data entry was via keypunch cards. (You may have read about this method.) To prepare the weekly payroll, the Payroll Director gave me a green and white print out each week with all employees listed by branch. Each branch rep called me and gave me their employees’ hours and gross pay. I dutifully hand-wrote the information next to each person’s name.

One week, two employees were to receive $300.00 each. So I dutifully wrote $300 (no decimals, no extra digits) next to each of their names. On Payday, they each received a check for $2.52! The key puncher had entered in $3.00 (notice the decimal point); the government entities took out taxes!

Good thing the employees had a sense of humor that Payday. They showed me the check and we had a good laugh. Even the execs thought it was funny – and they graciously corrected the error immediately. We couldn’t believe that the one could have taxes taken out of a $3.00 paycheck!

I quickly learned the value of a decimal point! I also learned that perhaps Payroll Clerk wasn’t my calling!