Click here to see BTYA’s Cheshbon HaNefesh calendar for the month of Elul. It is derived from the 3rd perek of the Chovos HaLevavos Sha’ar Cheshbon HaNefesh.

The calendar starts on Sunday of Rosh Chodesh and gives us an opportunity to spend a small amount of time each day of Elul contemplating a particular aspect of our Creator, His Torah, the world, our Eternal soul, and our relationship with all of these.

Please print this calendar and hang it wherever you will see it daily (your fridge/the front door/etc.).

Bli neder, we will also be posting these reflections daily and they will, IYH, include added insights from Rav Malinowitz.

To get the daily reflection emails, click here and send the email that opens.

We thank Mrs. Tamar Loring for composing the calendar.

This Cheshboh HaNefesh initiative is being undertaken as a zechus for a refuah sheleima of our dear Rav Chaim Ze’ev ben Kayla.

CHOVOS HALEVAVOS-Cheshbon HaNefesh Elul

1509, 2019

CHOVOS HALEVAVOS – Cheshbon HaNefesh No. 15

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Sunday, September 15/ ט”ו אלול

Reflect on the preparations needed for my neshama’s longest trip.  Be ready to leave at any time.  Consider if I have enough provisions to last

Additional insights from HoRav Malinowitz:

When you go on a long trip — do you figure out what you will need and how you will get it?

What you will eat, what will you drink, where will you sleep?  How will you get to your destination?  Do you prepare?

And let’s suppose that your trip is to the destination which is your ultimate goal — not just a day trip, but where you’ll spend the rest of your life!

There’s a long long trip that none of us can avoid — to a destination where we’ll be forever and ever!  Shouldn’t we be spending our time preparing for that trip?  For that destination?

Here — try this link —

1309, 2019

CHOVOS HALEVAVOS – Cheshbon HaNefesh No. 14

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Shabbos, September 14/ י”ד אלול

Shabbos, September 14/ י”ד אלול

Reflect on how much Hashem loves us and helps us in every generation.  Hashem has a bris with the Avos.  We should feel gratitude for His kindness to us and our forefathers.

Additional insights from HoRav Malinowitz:

How loving do you feel towards a dear, dear friend?

Towards someone who is a dear friend, and put you through school, and found you a job?

Let’s say this same person saved your father and his family from the Holocaust?! 

And that is why you are here today, with a life and a family … How indebted would you feel, and how suffused with love for that person?

How often do we also think of what HaShem has done for all the generations preceding us?  To get us to where we are now?

He mamesh loves us!  And so we should love Him back!

1309, 2019

CHOVOS HALEVAVOS – Cheshbon HaNefesh No. 13

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Friday, September 13/ י”ג אלול

Reflect on the difference between my knowledge and my deeds.  Imagine a servant who used the king’s field partly for his private purposes and had to give an accounting for his action.  Think that I will be held responsible and that I have a debt to pay to the King.  Use my time to serve the Creator each day.

Additional insights from HoRav Malinowitz:

Do my deeds match up with the knowledge I have? 

In fact, do my deeds match up with any of the “raw materials” (the abilities, the capabilities) that HaShem has given me?  Am I using them fully to further my avodas HaShem?

Or am I frittering away His gifts to me in other pursuits?

And how often do people say “if I only had X’s intelligence, Y’s charisma, Z’s enthusiasm . . . .”?

HaShem gave each one of us unique and special kochos — are we using them fully?

1209, 2019

CHOVOS HALEVAVOS – Cheshbon HaNefesh No. 12

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Thursday, September 12/ י”ב אלול

Reflect on how much effort I put into worldly matters.  Do I put such effort into the service of Hashem?  Think about the superiority and eternity of the neshama over the lowly and transient body.

Additional insights from HoRav Malinowitz:

How much time, effort, and energy do I spend on transient, ultimately passing matters — and how much blood, sweat, and tears are used up in my avodas Hashem?

We would laugh at a land where the children play with diamonds like marbles, and great attention is paid to the state of the pebbles — isn’t that too often the story of our lives?

1109, 2019

CHOVOS HALEVAVOS – Cheshbon HaNefesh No. 11

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Wednesday, September 11/ י”א אלול

Reflect and make an accounting on if I use my days to serve Hashem or my yetzer.

Additional insights from HoRav Malinowitz:

This cheshbon is the classic meaning of the phrase cheshbon hanefesh — an accounting!

How did I spend my day, my time in this world?  Did I use or misuse the gifts Hashem has given me?  Did I pursue with them spirituality — or narishkeiten?  What have I done with these gifts?

Make this accounting — every day?  Can’t—OK, every week?  No — OK, every month?  Make the accounting BEFORE the tax man cometh!

This cheshbon hanefesh, number 11, contains the Chovos Halevovos’ classic words:

“A person’s life is a blank Megillah.  When you live, when you act, you are writing in that Megillah your biography — now, how would you like your biography to read?”

1009, 2019

CHOVOS HALEVAVOS – Cheshbon HaNefesh No. 10

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Tuesday, September 10/ י’ אלול

Reflect that Hashem sees and remembers all my deeds – good and bad.  Hashem knows my thoughts.

Additional insights from HoRav Malinowitz:

Do you think about how there is a video-recorder everywhere recording everything you are doing … every word, every grimace, every cough, every remark, every conversation, every backtalk, every statement?

Oh, it gets better — every thought, every reflection, every speculation … 

Even better — every motivation, every desire, every impulse, every incentive …

THE name of this futuristic other-worldly camera?


909, 2019

CHOVOS HALEVAVOS – Cheshbon HaNefesh No. 9

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Monday, September 9/ ט’ אלול

Reflect on the different ways of serving Hashem by using all of my energies and talents.  This includes duties of the heart alone, duties of the heart together with the limbs (davening, learning Torah), and duties of the limbs alone (sukkah, lulav, tzitzis, mezuzah, Shabbos, Yom Tov and Tzedakah).  Reflect before doing a mitzvah and while doing a mitzvah that I care to devote my heart to Hashem only.  Focus on trying to do a mitzvah perfectly out of awe of Hashem.  Think about the meaning and words of tefillah

Additional insights from HoRav Malinowitz:

Am I as devoted and thoughtful about my avodas Hashem as I am, say, in something having to do with what I want to be or accomplish regarding temporal, this-worldly matters?

Do I work on doing my avodas Hashem better?  Do I give thought on how to improve it?

And there are different types of mitzvahs! — and I have to figure out how to do each one to the utmost of my abilities!

Would I travel to a class twice a week on “How to daven better?”  Would I pay money to learn how to improve my character?  How to avoid loshon hara?

Aren’t these matters at least as important as, say, success in your work or improvement in your personal relationships?

809, 2019

CHOVOS HALEVAVOS – Cheshbon HaNefesh No. 8

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Sunday, September 8/ ח’ אלול

Reflect how obligated I am to recognize Hashem’s unity, that He is one with no beginning nor end to His existence.  There is no other.  Second, I am only serving Hashem for the sake of His Great Name.  I don’t serve Hashem for praise, reward, or fear of people.

Additional insights from HoRav Malinowitz:

Wholeheartedness … complete sincerity and acceptance … purity of thought …

This applies to our acceptance of HaShem as the only power in the Universe, the only source of everything … nowhere else to turn … AND it applies to our own motivations in our avodas HaShem — wholeheartedly serving Him for no other reason than — to serve Him!

No other motivations in our avodas HaShem … no other powers in our acceptance of His Oneness.

709, 2019

CHOVOS HALEVAVOS – Cheshbon HaNefesh No. 7

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Shabbos, September 7/ ז’ אלול

Reflect how a servant has obligations to his Master.  The Master takes care of the servant’s needs.  When the servant reflects on his Master’s kindness, he will use his body and soul to find favor in his Master’s eyes.  My service should be with a whole and sincere heart.

Additional insights from HoRav Malinowitz:

The essence of my avodas Hashem, my raison d’etre, is to use the gifts Hashem has given me — from very existence to life itself to everything I have, including food, shelter, everything — to say thank you, thank you, thank you to Him — by doing His will!

(And the ultimate irony — for doing that logical natural service — I actually get rewarded!  For all eternity!!)