Haazinu 5771 – How to Properly Water Flowers

May my Torah drop as the rain (Devarim 32:2)

If a person wants plants to grow, he needs to water them. There are two ways of watering something. One is pouring a lot of water on top of the area and the other is pouring a small amount each day. Although a person might think drenching the plant would be advantageous (as they think pouring more water would make it grow faster), this actually does more harm than good. As we know, the proper way to water a plant is to pour a little each day.

A person might argue that he pours a few drops each day but he does not see anything growing. The answer to this argument is a person needs to wait. Although immediately a person will not see any benefit to watering the plant with only a few sprinkles, after a few days or weeks, the plant will be a beautiful flower. The giant trees did not grow overnight. There were small drops of rain that constantly fell on them for years to make them so big.

The same idea is with Teshuva. Many people want to rush to repent as much as possible and make themselves perfect in these last two weeks before Yom Kippur. It is our last chance before the Book is closed and our judgement is sealed. We don’t need to be perfect though to get a good judgement. To properly repent, we need to take small steps. We do not need to rid ourselves of all of our sins and say, “I will never speak Lashon Hara again.” Or “I will always pray with concentration on every word.” These New Years Resolutions will maybe last a few days at most, and just like pouring lots of water on a plant is dangerous, in the end these large commitments will accomplish nothing.

Instead, we should take one small commitment. There’s a famous story regarding Rav Shach taking upon himself to say Birchas HaMazon from a bentcher when he ate at his house between Rosh HaShana and Pesach only. It was a small commitment, but that is what Rav Shach so great.

We do need to work to improve ourselves, but just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, a person does not totally change himself in a day – not even in 10 days! We should use these 10 days of Repentance to try to improve ourselves, but remember that the best way to improve is by small drops of rain and not by a torrential downpour. By following this advice, years later we will see that we have grown into the most beautiful field of flowers.

Kasiva V’Chasima Tovah!
Good Shabbos!
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