Divrei Torah Blogs

Go Ecphorize Yourself!

 ecphorize vb trans [fr Gr εκφοροζ {to be} made known] To evoke ideas or dispositions from a latent to a manifest state. cf. OED


Once upon a time, more years ago than I care to recall, I was a regular contributor to a publication of San Francisco Regional Mensa called “The Ecphorizer.”  The publication is now defunct, although there are occasional efforts to revive the online edition.  Thanks to the dedication and devotion of one of the former editors, Tod Wicks, however, the archives of the Ecphorizer live on forever in cyberspace.  If you really have way too much time on your hands, you can see some of my scribblings from 30 years ago by clicking here.

“Ecphorize” is one of those weird words, which once I heard the definition it just stuck in my head…”to move from a latent to a realized state.”

I was at the Selichot service last night, when we recite prayers of supplication, part of our preparation for the High Holidays.  Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, the Day of Judgment, starts on Wednesday night.  In the introduction to the booklet that contained the special prayers, the author wrote “The purpose of the selichot prayers are to move us to live up to our full potential.”  In other words, to help us ecphorize ourselves – to take the potential we have within us, and move it from a latent to a realized state.  To ‘be all that we can be.’

And that, I think is what God really wants of us, especially this time of year when we struggle with thinking about our shortcomings, and where we’ve missed the mark.  It’s like the story about Reb Zusya, a very righteous rabbi, who was on his deathbed crying.  His students said “rabbi, why are you crying, you’re such a tzaddik, you’re like Moses!”  Reb Zusya replied, “I’m not worried that when I die they’ll ask me why weren’t you more like Moses.  I’m worried they’ll ask me why weren’t you more like Zusya!”

If your real capabilities and potential are still laying dormant and latent inside (and who among is truly living up to his/her FULL potential???), this is the time of year when the Jewish tradition says “go ecphorize yourself,” get going with living up to your potential, you don’t know how much time you have left, better get busy before it’s too late…

Barry Leff

Rabbi Barry (Baruch) Leff is a dual Israeli-American business executive, teacher, speaker and writer who divides his time between Israel and the US.

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