“What is certain is that you love bringing things back to life. It is a wonderful feeling to identify the undermining factors, eradicate them, and restore something to its true glory.”
Tom Rath, StrengthsFinder 2.0 (Gallup Press, 2007, 153)
Strengthsfinder 2.0 is a popular assessment tool for identifying and applying an individual’s strengths. The book is based on the premise that we should spend more time in our professional lives building upon our strengths than trying to overcome our weaknesses. The quote above refers to the person who possesses the “restorative” talent, the ability to resuscitate and rekindle the vitality of relationships. As many of our community’s graduates prepare to transition into new professional settings, their top priority ideally should be to match their strengths to the positions they seek. Institutions can be revitalized; relationships can be renewed. This can only happen, however, when the right “match” is achieved.
This week’s haftarah for Shabbat Hagadol, from the prophet Malakhi, tells us that a day of restoration is approaching. Even though the children of Israel seemingly stand with their backs to God, too ashamed in their imperfection to face the Divine, God will provide a restorer in Elijah, one who will reconcile the open and eager hearts of parents and children to each other.
The season of restoration is upon us once again. The Israelites are coming home—children to parents, families to one another, institutions to their missions. Who among us is prepared to play the role of Elijah?