He grew more and continued growing until he became very great.

וַיִּגְדַּל הָאִישׁ וַיֵּלֶךְ הָלוֹךְ וְגָדֵל עַד כִּי-גָדַל מְאֹד (בראשית כו:יג)

The baalei mussar point to this pasuk as an example of how one should try to grow: Slowly, slowly, inch by inch, and not through leaps and bounds.

We understand that HKBH could have made Yitzchak Avinu win the lottery and instantly become a multi-millionaire. However, modern-day statistics of people who actually win the lottery and go from rags to riches in a fleeting moment, show that the windfall adds difficulties to their lives and the “winners” soon become “losers”. Why is it necessary to grow into a position of wealth? It seems to me wealth is not only the amount of assets in one’s portfolio, but it is also how one executes transactions, buys and sells in a level-headed manner, and spending money his money with forethought. An analogy may be made: to a resident of Manhattan: He might be a very good driver, knowing the ins and outs of all the best places to find parking spots, or get crosstown without hitting traffic. But if he finds one day that he has to drive a truck (which cannot go on certain streets, or fit in standard parking spots), he must in a sense relearn how to drive, and adjust the tools that he has to the new task at hand.

Eisav was born “complete.” All the advantages of an adult given to him in one lump sum. However, he did not grow into the position, and therefore squandered the brilliance that he had, not developing it to the next level, rather at random he would kill and steal.

This idea is also found in the world of skilled craftsmen. The same job must be repeated hundreds, if not thousands, of times, though the person has professional equipment, and natural talent, the skill must be drilled in until it becomes second nature.

So too, in the world of avodas Hashem, we must understand it as a professionalism that must be acquired through trial and error, mentoring and learning from those situations that we live, in real life. I read once a statement “did you ever notice that the people who have all the answers, generally do not even understand the question?” This is because appreciation of sophisticated ideas can only be understood by a connoisseur in that field.

As we enter Chodesh Kislev, some of us may be frustrated that we have not yet become the people we felt we could be when we made our resolutions in Elul and Tishrei. Keep in mind that one does not become a professional violinist in two short months. As long as we are וַיֵּלֶךְ הָלוֹךְ וְגָדֵל—taking small steps at a time—we can achieve excellence.