A story is told of a pauper in Krakow by the name of Isaac ben Yakil. He struggled each day, scraping together food, going to sleep hungry and waking up the face another day of hunger.

One night, he dreamed of a large bridge in Prague, under which was buried a tremendous treasure. He woke up in the morning, flickers of hope whispering within.

“Can it be that I might really find that treasure and become instantly wealthy?”

He was scared to believe a dream, but when he dreamed it three He knew that his fortune was about to change consecutive times, he knew that his fortune was about to change.

Setting off with nothing in his pocket but dreams and anticipation, he could hardly wait to return home a wealthy man.

He arrived at the bridge in record time and immediately began digging, sure he’d find the treasure instantaneously. But to his surprise, he found nothing.

He tried digging a bit further down. Once again, nothing. He tried a little more to the right and then to the left. There was no treasure to be found. But he was determined, so he dug and dug.

A soldier, seeing all this digging, became suspicious.

“What’s going on over here? Do you have a permit to be digging around this bridge?”

Isaac stammered, embarrassed to explain the reason for his digging. Left with no choice, he told the soldier of his dream.

“Ha!” laughed the soldier. “You traveled all the way here, just because of a dream? Why, I have been having a dream every night that in Krakow there lives a pauper named Isaac ben Yakil, and under his house is buried a huge treasure and he doesn’t even know! I wouldn’t travel all the way to Krakow just because of a dream!”

Isaac realized that this was the treasure he had been meant to find. He immediately turned around and traveled home, and began to dig beneath his home. Indeed, there was a buried treasure, and he became rich overnight.

Believe it or not, this story is about each of us.

We all have incredible treasures buried within. We have wisdom, we have soul power. But when we are not aware, we don’t even know to dig. If we would dig, we would be surprised by the treasures we would find.

So how can we dig deep within? Believe it or not, the shovel is a very simple tool. It’s a pen!

Take your pen and paper. and begin writing.

This time during Elul and Tishrei is a special time—one of introspection and growth. Due to COVID-19, our world has also been plunged into a time of introspection, a time of growth. The ground is ready for you to dig.

Here are some tips to help your digging expedition:

How to Write

  1. Set your timer before you start. If you have an unlimited amount of time, you’ll get lost in your writing. Set a timer for five to 15 minutes and be committed to stopping when the timer rings.
  2. Do not focus on spelling, grammar or any rules you know. Therapeutic writing is only for yourself. It’s not for your boss, therapist or mother. No one will see it. Just write without thinking or analyzing.
  3. When the timer rings, write a reflection. Read over your writing and then reflect on it. What do I feel as I read it? What can I learn from my writing? What do I feel I can do now that I have read my writing?
  4. Date your writing. You will want to look back at it in the future. I know of no better method to track your own growth than through writing. You will be happy one day to read through your processes and witness your growth. This writing will become one of your most precious possessions.
  5. Keep your writing private. The only way you can write the truth is if you know that no one else will see it. If you think that someone might read it, you’ll never write the absolute truth and will always consider what someone else will think. Do yourself a favor and keep your writing private.

What to Write

Now, let’s discuss what to write. It can be about anything, but to make it easier to start, here are some prompts:

The New Year

  • As I greet the new year, I ...
  • The worst part of this past year is ... The best part of this past year is ... I bring this into the upcoming year by ...
  • What will be different for me in this coming year? What does it look like?
  • What are my spiritual goals for the coming year? How will I work on achieving them?
  • This past year was ... Why? I want the coming year to be ...


  • Write a letter to the virus, telling what you think of it.
  • If the pandemic hadn’t happened, what would have been different this year?
  • What did you lose because of COVID? And what did you gain?

Your Inner Wisdom

  • What do I need to write about right now?
  • Who am I? What do I want? Where am I heading?
  • Deep down, I know that ...
  • Three questions that I wish I knew the answers to are ...
  • Who would I wish to meet to give me answers? What do I think they would tell me?

Where to Write

Write when no one is around or at least when you have some emotional space.

When to Write

Right now!

Don’t think too much, and don’t worry if it will be good or not, if you’re doing it properly or not, or if it will be effective or not. Just take out your pen, find a paper and write.

Remember to set your timer before you begin. Don’t stop writing until it rings. Even if you feel like it’s silly, keep on writing. And when you’re finished, read it over and then write a reflection.

We are in the season of introspection, the world is in a global introspection, and the grounds are ripe. It is Elul; the King is in the field waiting for us. It’s a perfect time to start digging. You’ll be surprised to discover the treasures that are buried within.