For 3 years, he didn’t pick up his present

On Monday I received a strange email.

The email was from a bookstore.

“Our records show that this order has not been picked up. Have you picked up these books? Please reply as soon as possible.”

I was racking my brain. Trying to remember which order they are referring to. I do place orders with them but I always choose the shipping option. So what is this all about?

It was a reply to a previous email I sent them. I look at that email. It was an email from… 2017.

(If 2017 feels like ages ago, it’s because it was! Do you know that 2017 is considered “3 BC”, which stands for “3 before Covid”?  )

So an order from 2017 was never picked up. Now I had to figure out what happened in 2017.

Oh, I realized something. 2017 was my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah. I remember ordering him a set of books as a gift. Maybe he never picked it up?

One phone call later and yes – 3.5 years later, he will finally receive his Bar Mitzvah present.

For 3.5 years, the gift was gathering dust on a store shelf in Brooklyn, waiting for its owner to come and pick it up.

This got me thinking about all the gifts waiting for us that perhaps we don’t realize.

We all receive gifts from G-d.

Gifts of talents.
Gifts of skills.
Gifts of abilities.
Gifts of influence.

Yet so often we are not even aware of our own gifts, let alone use them.

We are about to enter the Hebrew month of Elul, a month that is traditionally dedicated to “Cheshbon Nefesh”, “accounting of the soul”. We are meant to review our actions and behaviors in the past year and to asses our spiritual development.

I believe that part of this process is to spend time thinking about the gifts we received from G-d, and asking ourselves: do we fully utilize them?

The month of Elul serves as a reminder that G-d brought us to this world as His partners. He wants us to make His world a holier and a better place, and gave us special gifts to be successful.

It’s just a matter of tapping into them.

May we all realize, and realize, our potential.

About the Author
Rabbi Mendy Kaminker is the Chabad Rabbi of Hackensack, and an editorial member of
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