The Daily Blast

Rabbi Menachem Tenenbaum
Cleveland NCSY

Rabbi Tenenbaum says that Elul is the time to train ourselves to be players in the game of life, not superfans.

Daily Reading

Leap of Faith: Taking The First Step Toward Change

When humans grow, they must shed some aspect of their former selves. This demands a painful renunciation, a renunciation of a little bit of who I was last week, of the comfortable skin I am used to calling myself. For example, if a person with...

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Daily Sources

וּבְמָקוֹם שֶׁאֵין אֲנָשִׁים, הִשְׁתַּדֵּל לִהְיוֹת אִיש
משנה אבות ב׳:ו׳

In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man.

-Pirkei Avot 2:6

וּבְמָקוֹם שֶׁאֵין אֲנָשִׁים. לֵישֵׁב בָּרֹאשׁ וּלְהוֹרוֹת הוֹרָאוֹת

ברטנורא על משנה אבות ב׳:ה׳

“In a place where there is no man”: to sit at the head and to issue decisions.

-Bartenura on Pirkei Avot 2:5:6

וּנְתָנְךָ יְהֹוָה לְרֹאשׁ וְלֹא לְזָנָב וְהָיִיתָ רַק לְמַעְלָה וְלֹא תִהְיֶה לְמָטָּה כִּי־תִשְׁמַע אֶל־מִצְוֺת יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ
דברים כ״ח:יג

Hashem will make you the head, not the tail; you will always be at the top and never at the bottom—if only you obey and faithfully observe the commandments of your God that I enjoin upon you this day

-Deuteronomy 28:13

Daily Goals

Four Steps To Facing Your Fears

During Elul, we are charged with asking ourselves: are we doing all that we can? Are we giving our utmost? Are we seizing the moment to take necessary action?

Don’t dwell on past mistakes. Interrupt the story that you keep telling yourself based on yesterday’s challenges. You are not your past; you are not even your future. You are who you choose to be right now. Each of us has the potential to be a hero, to rise to the challenge to fulfill our unique purpose that only we can accomplish. But, the number one reason we don’t move forward in life to fulfill our potential is fear. Elul is the time to face our fears, evaluate what we are doing with our life, to seize our unique moment and take action that can propel us to greatness.

The only way to create a life of growth and significance is by overcoming fear and taking the initiative.

Step 1: Move Forward

Don’t settle for comfort; keep moving. You can’t grow if you remain standing in the exact same place where you stood yesterday. Many of us cling to old ideas, habits and beliefs because they make us feel safe, but they also keep us from growing. Don’t settle for comfort when what you really want is progress. You can’t grasp new opportunities while holding onto all of the trappings of the life you currently have. 

Step 2: Don’t Look Back

In 1519, Captain Hernan Cortes landed in Veracruz to begin conquering the New World. Upon their arrival on shore he gave his men the order to burn their boats. Captain Cortes understood that retreat is easy when you have an option. If you want to accomplish something, don’t give yourself a plan B. If you want to take the island, burn your boats. Turn your “shoulds” into “musts.” When you’re 100 % committed, you push past your excuses and either find a way or make a way.

Step 3: Don’t Be Afraid To Jump

Instead of moving away from what you fear, train yourself to go towards it. If you don’t know what your next steps should be, study the path of people who have succeeded in accomplishing the goal that you are pursuing. Success leaves clues, but the one thing that every successful person has done is jumped before they were totally ready. 

Step 4: Don’t Limit Yourself

Don’t get stuck in a scarcity framework in which the more you give, the more you lose. To bring abundance into your life you need to believe that the more you give, the greater you become. The more generous acts you perform the more you invite blessing and limitlessness into your life. Keep asking yourself how you can add value to the lives of those around you and then take action to give.

Daily Quotes

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.”

- John D. Rockefeller

“Do the thing we fear and death of fear is certain.”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Every successful person has had to jump. You cannot just exist in this life... If you are waking up thinking there has got to be more to your life than there is, man believe that it is. But to get to that life, you’re gonna have to jump.”

- Steve Harvey

Today In Jewish History

11 Elul – Black September – 1970

On this day in 1970, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) blew up three aircraft in front of the international press at Dawson’s Field in Northern Jordan in the height of what became known as Black September.

After the Israelis gained control of Judea and Samaria in the 6 Day War, the PLO moved its terrorist operations to Jordan. By 1970, they had begun to function as a State within a State and were calling for the overthrow of the Hashemites, even going as far as to attempt to assassinate King Hussein twice.

The events came to a head on September 6 when TWA Flight 741 and Swissair Flight 100 were hijacked and forced to land at Dawson’s Field. Terrorists attempted to hijack El Al Flight 219 but their scheme was foiled when the pilot put the plane into a nosedive. Then a sky marshal shot one terrorist and subdued the other. Two others were blocked by Israeli security from boarding the plane. They instead purchased tickets for Pan Am Flight 93 which was flown to Cairo and blown up after the hostages were removed. A fifth plane BOCA flight 775 was hijacked on September 9 and joined the other two at Dawson’s Field.

In total, 371 hostages were all removed before the planes were dramatically blown up on this day. All non-Jews, women, and children were taken to a hotel in Amman. 54 Jewish men and crew members were kept in the hot desert for two weeks including the great R’ Yitzchok Hutner zt”l and his son-in-law R’ Yonasan David. The hostages were eventually saved after a prisoner exchange took place.

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