|I am so not ready to answer for my mistakes.||I am so not ready to give ten zillion speeches in a month.|
|I am so not ready to end my arrogance.||I am so not ready to convince others to end theirs.|
|I am so not ready to admit all of my ulterior motives.||I rely on those ulterior motives to drive much that I do.|
|I spent far too much time on shul and community this year, when I should have spent it on family.||I did not spend enough time this year taking care of the indigent and the emotionally needy.|
|I am afraid to sit down and write my cheshbon hanefesh.||I have no time for a cheshbon hanefesh, even had I the guts.|
|I long to spend more time with my children, both because I want to and because I should, because they need a father who will be there with them and because they need an Abba who will teach them.||I jitter in my chair, my knee jumping, as I try to assemble ideas into paragraphs to say something new, to inspire, to direct, to convey the awe of judgment without haranguing my shul into boredom.|
|I often think that my saving grace as a human being is my sincerity, the fact that I lay it all out there with as much honesty as I can find inside. The challenge of parenting is to find a way to take all of that authenticity and express it in a way that will help my children find their own.||I often think that my saving grace as a rabbi is my sincerity, the fact that I lay it all out there with as much honesty as I can find inside. The challenge of speechwriting is to find a way to take all of that authenticity and express it in a way that will challenge and not tear down, build and not destroy.|
|Some people tell me I am a great father, seeing my beautiful - thank Gd - children and the way they behave so nicely in public, sitting by my side in shul and doing well in school. But in this they rob my wife of the credit which is entirely hers, and inappropriately credit me for the work of another.||Some people call me their favorite rabbi (I kid you not) and other inappropriately laudatory names, measuring with the naked eye, all too willing to judge on the side of merit and go by what they see. I know they only mean to judge what they see and nothing more, but it is still frustrating to know they miss the שלא לשמה self-aggrandizement, the insecurity, the many inappropriate motivations which make Mordechai run.|
I do believe I am a better person, and a better rabbi, than I was one year ago. Some would call this a significant accomplishment, and I do not belittle it. But I can do more - not to quote Barack Obama, but I am better than this.
I need to feel that drive to do more. Elul ceases to be frightening for me when I get past the regret and move into moving on, when I stop feeling sorry for my challenges and commit myself to specific action. It will come. Hopefully soon.