Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
Generally, towards the beginning of the new year, new desires awaken within us. To create, to act, to improve, to make the coming year the best and most fulfilling ever. The problem is that our new desires and good intentions often remain only that. They remain unfulfilled.
In the Torah portion we read this past Shabbat, the mitzvot of first fruits are described: when we reach the Promised Land and are privileged to grow and harvest fruit, we are obligated to take the first fruits, place them in a basket, and bring them to Jerusalem.
The Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), founder of the Hasidic movement, explains: when a new desire or good intention awakens within us, when a new fruit of hope and aspiration is born — it is forbidden to allow it to remain only in our thoughts. We need to take it and place it in the basket of reality and carefully examine it. We need to provide it with practical tools to bring it into the world of action. This is our work in the month of Elul, towards the beginning of the new year: to know how to grab our beautiful dreams, to examine them in every detail, and to plan step by step how to make them come true.
May everyone’s new year’s dreams come true.