We are in the Hebrew month of Elul, the month which proceeds Rosh Hashanah. Traditionally, this is a time for preparing ourselves for a new year and considering those changes that we would hope to make in our lives. The psychologist, Abraham Maslow, believed that there is an inner core to every person, and that we grow into true adulthood by uncovering and accepting that which is there from our past. In Maslow’s words: “We cannot think of a person as ‘fully determined.’ The person is his/her own main determinant. Every person is, in part, his/her own project and makes him or herself into the person they are”
So what does it mean? That we ourselves do have the capacity to make significant choices in virtually every aspect of our lives, and that how we choose does make a different in the quality and fulfillment of our lives. Is it easy to choose and to change? Of course not! In fact, I have come to believe that “changing” ourselves in significant ways is the hardest of all challenges that we face as human beings.
Maslow contended that there is an “inner nature” to all of us, and that it is always pressing for open, uninhibited expression. It may be uncovered and revealed, or it may be repressed; but it is always there, and one way or another, it does find a way of “speaking.”
So I guess we all have a ways to go in becoming something more than we are today. May God grant us the courage, the determination and the wisdom to pursue that which is already within us. In the words of the Torah: “Therefore choose life, that you may live.”
Rabbi David Greenberg