Many times, a Rav, mashgiach, spiritual leader, notices that one of his constituents has become lax in attending davening. He will approach him and ask “what is going on that is causing you to slack off in your observance?” Many times, the response from this person will be “Right now it is the busy season at work, and I just can’t get away. When things calm down a bit, IY”H I will be right back there in shul as I used to be.” That same person may become confronted on the same day by a gabbai tzedakah asking for funds for some important pressing issue. And the same man might say “right now, business is slow, but when things turn around, I will be happy to assist you.” We as outsiders hear this man contradicting himself, on the same day, about his present work situation. About someone like this, there are those who apply the pasuk in this week parsha
“כִּי דוֹר תַּהְפֻּכֹת הֵמָּה…“ (a generation of reversals…) meaning that the excuses go from one extreme to another without the person even noticing.
I myself wonder what does the man think to himself? Does he see the contradiction or not? To me it is obvious that because of his desires, in each situation, he interprets the situation in the way that it is most comfortable for him, at the time. As we have just finished the yomim noraim some of us may have pleaded to Hashem that He grant us a year of goodness. Though we were lax in our observance, we claim this was due to our busy schedule (if we would only have had more time we would have done more in the arena of ruchniyus). Sukkos is about to commence, and now, when we should have that time for ruchniyus, all of the sudden we feel obligations arising on a social level and we say to Hashem “when my schedule normalizes, I will find a place to fit You in.”
I would like to ask that we take the time and become “tahapuchos” (the people who do the opposite) and we say “though we have obligations, the obligation which should never change is our service of Hashem. I guarantee, as Chazal do, that those who spend their free time in a spiritual way will indeed have a joyous Yom Tov, and those who step up to the challenge of even in their busy time at work to strengthen their observance of Hashem, He will recognize the effort and reward you for what you perceive as sacrifice. May we all merit to have a “piska tova”.