G'mar chasima tova! I hope you had a meaningful Rosh Hashana and that the next ten days before Yom Kippur will be introspective and full of conversation with the Almighty. I know mine will be!
I read 2020 Vision this week - what a story to make one think! It just seems so obvious that the coming of Moshiach is just around the corner. Look what's been happening in the US with the financial situation. Is it a coincidence that the stock market plunged in its biggest drop in history on erev Rosh Hashana?! That Hurricane Ike did so much damage in the days following Olmert's unconscionable assertions that we're going to give so much of our land to the Arabs - land that many of us are living on, I might add? All over the world things are spiraling out of control - why don't more people see it?! And what if, G-d forbid, Obama makes it to office? It can only spell more disaster for both Israel and the US.
The only things we can do at this point is to pray, do teshuva, and give tzedaka. We Jews have to do what we're supposed to in order to fix the world. We must all of us ask ourselves - what am I doing or not doing that's causing evil to run rampant in the world? We can't look at other people and say, "Look how terrible he is"; we have to look in the mirror and tell ourselves, "Look at the difference between what I am and what I have the potential to be. WHY AREN'T I TRYING HARDER? What's preventing me from being a kinder, more sensitive person? What do I need to do to get back on track?" Hashem doesn't care if we reach our goals; he's only interested in the effort we're putting in to try to reach them. If we start off this new year already stuck in the bad and lazy habits we had last year, what's the point in going on this way unless we resolve to be more productive?
Now I guess I have to explain that last paragraph. Kindly substitute all those "we's" for "I's" because it's really a pep talk I'm giving to myself. I KNOW that I can be much more productive than I currently am. I KNOW that I have to stop looking at the faults of other people when mine are so numerous. I KNOW that I'm not making realistic goals and a plan to reach them. Recently I read something that said that all you (I) have to do is make one small change and Hashem helps it grow exponentially. For instance, if you decide you're going to give your spouse one compliment and a smile every single day, you'll soon find that you're smiling much of your day and becoming a more relaxed, happy person. If you decide that instead of yelling at your kids when you get annoyed, you're going to stop, count to five, and then hug that child - you'll soon find that he misbehaves less and becomes more loving to you.
It's our job as the Children of Israel to make the world a better place; from wherever we are in our lives; in whatever situation Hashem places us - our attitude and countenance comes from within. So let's (me) get healthy and happy and productive and cheerful and giving this new year! May Hashem bless you (yes, YOU!) and your family with a sweet and healthy and constantly-changing-for-the-good New Year!