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Rabbi Yossi's Blog

Welcome to Rabbi Yossi's Blog; where you can expect to find thoughts on current events, Torah learning and Jewish spirituality. And of course, some good Jewish humor.

Release the passion

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 Without exaggeration, the most important key to success is to always learn and grow. It’s not enough to simply be open to new ideas - that just means filtering new ideas through decisions we’ve already made and perspectives we’ve already developed.

Pots, pans, tools and the like need to be set and cured; once they’re made they need to be locked in place so that they don’t change with use. Humans, however, are different. In order to succeed, they need to constantly grow and develop; humans need to adapt and change.

A great way of ensuring your continued success, in whatever it is that you are doing - living, parenting, working or even retired, is to read. Many books have wonderful insight but there are none as deep and profound as the Torah. (If your perception of the relevance of Torah is from 6th grade in Hebrew School, it’s time you dusted it off and studied it as an adult.)

In this week’s Torah portion we continue the Exodus story, particularly regarding the first 7 of the 10 plagues. The plague narrative is more than about recounting the events that contributed to the devastation of Egypt, they are also guideposts for each of us to eliminate our own internal “Egypt”; the negative traits that limit us and distract us from achieving our purpose in life.

The 7th plague was that of hail. But this was no ordinary kind of hail - it had fire burning inside it! That’s right - miraculous hail. What can we learn from this peculiar combination of fire and ice?

Too often we concern ourselves with our own needs - at the expense of the needs of others. While we are passionate about things that are important to us and we pursue those things with much effort and enthusiasm, we can be distant and impatient with others; we act cold and indifferent to their needs. Just like the hail - fire on the inside and ice on the outside - we are passionate about our own agendas and indifferent to the priorities of those around us.

True success comes when we are able to “melt the ice” towards others; when we can be passionate about the concern of others too, not only our own. When we realize there is more than us and our agenda, we are able to grow and achieve much more than we could on our own.  

 

Can we get out of this?

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On July 20th, 1969, the Soviet propaganda machine was faced with a unique challenge: how to report the news that the US had effectively won the Space Race while maintaining Soviet “dignity”. 

Here’s what they came up with: For the past 10 years all the world's superpowers have been engaged in an intense Space Race. The race was won yesterday with the Soviet Union coming in second place and the United States coming in second to last. (Remember, there were only two nations engaged in the Space Race at the time.)

When someone has a certain agenda, they can distort anything - even what they see with their own eyes - to maintain their bias. 

Events this week once again confirm this truth; while just about all agree that what happened at the US Capitol on Wednesday was absolutely egregious, everyone seeks to blame someone else. 

The right blames the left, the left blames the right. I’ve seen religious people blaming secularism and the secular blame the religious. Oh, and of course, the media - there must be a way to vilify the media. The one thing on which everyone seems to agree is that it’s not their fault, it’s not them who has to change.

Here’s the thing, as long as someone else is at fault I can’t be expected to do something about it. After all, they’re the one who has to change. 

There are certainly important matters that need to be considered by those who are in positions of responsibility. But those matters are out of our hands and fretting or arguing about it is simply a waste of energy. 

For most of us our role is much more limited; yet entirely in our control. And we don’t have to wait for anything outside to change. 

This week we began studying the book of Exodus. While the Exodus itself took a short while, the process of the newly freed Israelites becoming a free people took forty years!

The real work is internal; how do we manage ourselves? How do we ensure that the insanity ravaging our country doesn’t infect our lives?

The only real way to do this is to develop a spiritually focused life. To focus on our connections with each other and our connection with G-d. No matter what takes place outside, we can and must, reach in and nurture our soul. 

This is how we will heal ourselves and thereby our circle of influence and by extension the rest of the world too.

Chanukah is the most important holiday

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Chanukah is the most important holiday on the Jewish calendar. More meaningful than Yom Kippur and more significant than Passover. 

Give it a few months, Passover will be the most important. And when the time for Yom Kippur comes around, it is clearly the most meaningful holiday on the Jewish calendar. 

But right now, Chanukah takes center stage. 

Yes, Chanukah is a post-biblical holiday but there is nothing minor about it at all. Especially today, when the world seems so dark, the message of Chanukah has all the more relevance. 

Let’s count some of the ways:

1) The name of the holiday, Chanukah, is derived from the word Chinuch, which means inauguration; Chanukah commemorates the re-inauguration of the Holy Temple after its defilement by the Syrian-Greeks. No matter how bleak things may seem, with sincere dedication and commitment it can always be turned around.

2) The same word, Chinuch, is the Hebrew term for education. Chanukah is about initiating and educating our family - and ourselves - in the ways of Torah and holiness.

3) Chanukah also teaches us the power of light to overcome the darkness. Darkness is not chased away with a stick, it disappears with the simple act of illumination. In our own lives, don’t fight the darkness - spread  light instead.

4) One light is good for today but not enough for tomorrow. Each day we have to grow and increase our efforts in the realm of goodness and kindness. Don’t be satisfied with who you were yesterday because today it is obsolete.

And of course, to implement any of this requires a focused Maccabee-like attitude, not allowing external societal pressures to dictate how we live our life. 

And there is so much more! There is so much significance connected to Chanukah, much more than latkes and dreidels. Let us spend the holiday of Chanukah applying these messages in our day to day life.

Don’t let anyone tell you that Chanukah is just a minor holiday!

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Chanukah! 

Yes, 2020 is the perfect year to be thankful

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Thanksgiving is likely the American holiday most closely aligned with Jewish values. And this year, especially considering all the craziness that has recently played out, is definitely the perfect time to be thankful.

Yes, there’s much about which to gripe but that shouldn’t get in our way of recognizing the blessings too. I mean, when President Lincoln instituted a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens" in 1863, it was still in the middle of the Civil War for goodness sake!

Which highlights a profoundly different perspective of the entire concept of Thanksgiving; it’s not (only) about appreciating the openly good aspects of our life, it’s also about recognizing the blessings within the difficulty that we face too.

We read in this week’s Torah portion about Jacob our forefather who suffered for years under his father in law Laban. Laban was a duplicitous and conniving individual who rescinded every agreement that didn’t result to his benefit. Jacob suffered under Laban for 20 bitter years, constantly being duped and lied to.

Why did Jacob have to endure these 20 difficult years? Chassidic thought explains that Jacob’s experience with Laban was in order to extract “sparks of holiness” that were hidden by Laban. In other words, there was a benefit to be found in all of Jacob’s suffering.

In our own lives too, it’s important to remember that when we experience difficulty, the entire purpose of these setbacks and obstacles are to enable us to grow.

Thanksgiving is not only about recognizing the open blessings in our life (and we all, without exception, have many for which to be thankful); it’s also about realizing that the challenges we face enable us to grow.

Instead of being cynical about Thanksgiving 2020, or bemoaning our current situation, it’s time we discover the inner strength and fortitude we each have.

Now is a good time to step up and express what our recent experiences have taught us, and that’s worthy of true thankfulness and gratitude.

Even better, use that gratitude as a stepping stone to implement positive change in your environment.

Getting unstuck

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It’s typical to withdraw inwardly when feeling down and out of sorts. When feeling sick, most people spend their time alone, away from others and caring for themselves. This is also the case when people are feeling mentally depleted, overworked or down - for whatever reason. 

While there are times that what’s needed is to indulge in some down time and reset, often the excessive focus on oneself can actually perpetuate the funk, leaving the individual worse than where they started. 

Counterintuitive though it might be, the solution is to work for the benefit of others. When something is highlighted and brought into clearer focus, it’s flaws are magnified as well. Withdrawing brings the focus on oneself and makes us all the more aware of our own frailties and failings. 

Shifting to consider how we can bring benefit and blessing to another swings the focus away from us and getting stuck in our “stuff”. More importantly, it elevates us to another level at which our issues are not true obstacles. 

With our close focus on ourselves, every bump is perceived as an obstacle. Raising above the self to focus on others helps us keep the inevitable bumps in perspective and realize how little they truly can interfere. 

On that note, it’s relevant to mention how our Torah portion begins; Abraham is sitting at the entrance of his tent searching the horizon for potential guests. Notable is the fact that he was then recovering from his circumcision, having been commanded by G-d at the age of 99. 

While certainly he could have been excused from hosting guests for a few days, he would not allow his discomfort to stop him from looking out for others. 

If you’re feeling down, consider how you can bring benefit and joy to another. The sooner you think about another, the sooner you’ll feel better about yourself. 

Can you tolerate the "other" side?

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I was very disturbed by what I saw recently. Someone forwarded to me a clip of two television personalities discussing how they had severed relationships with people who didn’t agree with them politically. I’ve seen it up close as well, people cutting from their lives those who don’t agree with them politically.

I fully understand the concerns that people have with the various differing opinions. I understand what is pushing people to vote one way or another. But I cannot accept that any political decision is worth denouncing another individual or cutting them from your life.

This poisonous attitude is not exclusive to one side or the other but it is a result of a number of converging factors. One cause is certainly the over-the-top rhetoric that has become so common in modern political discourse. The second factor and perhaps the more dangerous of the two, is the unspoken notion that the way politics unfold or who wins the elections, is supremely important in my life. 

It is not my intention to minimize the significance of the various policy differences on the ballot; of course they matter and that’s why we vote. But if you’ve found yourself hating the “other side”, if you can’t tolerate someone with a different opinion, if your view of another is diminished due to their political choice, it’s high time for an intervention. 

Someone once put it to me this way - what’s happening in the White House is not relevant to your house. 

Yes, yes, I know - but taxes! And health care! COVID!! How could I say it’s not relevant to my house!?

Sure, government policies affect all of us. But they should never be the driver of our lives. What the government does or doesn’t do shouldn’t affect my ability to live my life. And if you’re so distraught about politics that it’s affecting your ability to live, it’s time to re-evaluate your priorities. 

The guiding forces in our lives should be values that are not dependent on the occupant of the White House (or any other political office). It’s imperative to elevate our life with a value system that transcends the world of politics - and for that matter, one that transcends the trials and tribulations of daily life. 

Our introduction to our forefather Abraham in this week’s Torah portion provides some guidance in this regard. The name Abraham (at this point in the narrative still known as Abram) connotes a connection with supernal wisdom. His life was guided by a higher set of values than anything contained in this world. That’s why he never feared the challenges he faced - and they were many - his true existence was above the fray of daily life. That’s how he managed to navigate life so well.

It’s virtually impossible to maintain perspective when we’re inside the maze of life. We need to be able to rise above in order to successfully navigate our way through. 

This is true with regard to politics and it’s true with regard to all aspects of life - in order to succeed, we must remain connected above.

Is life hard?

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“Life is hard.” Anyone ever told that to you when you were having a tough time? Didn’t help make it any easier, did it? 

“Think that’s bad, you wouldn’t believe what happened to me!” This one may be an even worse response. Hearing about other people’s troubles doesn’t make yours any easier to cope with, right?

So what can help us through the tough times? What can help us overcome, rather than be overwhelmed? What can empower us to achieve our goals even after we’ve been knocked down?

The answer is embedded in this week’s Torah portion, Noah.

You might have learnt the narrative of The Great Deluge recounted in this week’s portion as some sort of fairy tale, you might view it as an entertaining movie; however it’s included in the Torah and is therefore not only accurate but perhaps more importantly - a valuable lesson for us. 

Whatever the case, you really should see in it the story of your life.

Think about it - in the beginning there was this idealistic, perfect world. Everything was wonderful for a while but over time reality set in, human nature went awry until it came to the point that G-d decided to completely reset the whole thing. He brought the flood and destroyed the world; save Noah, his family and a sampling of all animal life.

Then, after Noah exited the ark, G-d told him something very strange. G-d promised never to do it again; never again will G-d destroy the world. G-d even made a covenant with Noah regarding it - He showed Noah the sign of the rainbow as His way of remembering this covenant.

Let me ask you a simple question however - why should this time be different? It would seem that G-d is (so to speak) being a little naive. I mean, how can we know how things will be in a few generations? Maybe 10 generations down the line humanity will have once again deteriorated to the point that destruction will once again be necessary?! Why would G-d pledge to never again destroy the world? If it happened once, couldn’t it happen again?

Here’s the point - initially G-d created the world on His terms according to His high standards; it wasn’t fully aligned with the reality of the fallible human beings that inhabited it. After the flood, the world was recalibrated as it were to fit with humanity. This newly aligned world wasn’t under threat of being destroyed because it took into account the possibility for mistakes to happen and it included a contingency for when they would.

In other words, the world as it was initially created, in it’s idealistic state, wasn’t viable and needed to be reset. The world after the flood integrated the G-dly ideal in a way that was - and still is - sustainable.

What emerges from this understanding is that in truth, the narrative of The Great Deluge is not one of destruction and devastation - it’s primary message is one of hope and inspiration: there is purpose in the setbacks. There is long term success embedded in short term failure.

Being told that life is hard doesn’t make it easier to overcome the hardship; being told about other people’s challenges doesn’t make it easier to overcome your own. But finding the lesson and meaning in the setbacks - that gives us the ability to create a long term model of success. 

Less than a speck of dust

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Have you ever considered the vastness of the universe? It makes you feel kinda small and insignificant, doesn’t it? Think about this: Imagine if Grand Central Station were filled from the floor to the ceiling with dust, one speck of dust would be roughly equivalent to the size of earth. And each one of us are basically like a seventh of a billionth of that speck of dust. That’s without even taking into account the unpopulated areas of earth - not to mention the plants, animals etc.

That’s mind-bogglingly insignificant.

But that’s not the whole story. You see, the Torah begins with the creation narrative. And however you choose to understand it, one thing is certain: G-d brought the world into existence. The entire universe was created before humanity was brought on the scene.

And this points to how mind-bogglingly significant we actually are. From G-d’s point of view.

While our world may be equivalent to a tiny speck of dust, G-d decided that all of existence is worth it for what we can accomplish during our time inhabiting this tiny speck.

All of existence was brought into being so that we could partner with it’s Creator in perfecting this world.

It’s a mighty powerful idea with massive implications. Think about it.

It means we have inherent value, every single one of us. It also means that G-d is invested in our success, He doesn’t want us to accept failure - our own personal failure - as final. We always have the ability to turn our life around and our biggest cheerleader is G-d.

Powerful ideas indeed. 

Were you gypped by your Hebrew School Education?

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If your Jewish education taught you that Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the most important Jewish holidays, you’ve been gypped! Seriously, you should ask for your money back. 

 

I mean how inspiring is it that the most important holidays are serious, with endless prayers and deep regret and repentance? I know that more than one Hebrew School student has checked out of the whole Jewish thing simply for this reason - if this is what it’s all about, I’m outta here!

 

The truth is that Sukkot (which ends today) and Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah, which begin tonight, are the real High Holidays. And Simchat Torah is actually the highest holidays of them all.

 

While Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur tell us in stark and somber tones of the need to return to G-d, Simchat Torah celebrates our innate bond with G-d and Torah that spills over into every aspect of our lives; no matter who, no matter where.

 

So really, whatever your plans may have been for Saturday night, reschedule them. Instead, join us for the Simchat Torah celebration (details below). Joyous dancing, great food and treats for the kids - trust me, you don't want to to miss it! 

When are the wicked forgiven?

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So, it’s behind us. Yom Kippur - the Day of Atonement - all who wish can return to G-d and begin over with a clean slate. It’s an amazing concept and a powerful holiday. It reflects the deep and abiding belief that G-d has in each of us, that we are worthy and redeemable despite our flaws. G-d sees in us what we sometimes don’t see in ourselves.

Many think that Yom Kippur is the pinnacle of the Jewish calendar (and they may be right in some ways) but the truth is that Sukkot has something over Yom Kippur. And it’s message is so relevant and needed nowadays.

Sukkot, which begins tonight, is such a wonderful holiday. With deep meaning and significance, the rituals associated with it are so rich and colorful - Sukkot is my favorite holiday. The obvious associations of the holiday are the Sukkah, the Lulav and Etrog and the dancing and celebration. 

But there is something more - it’s also the time of forgiveness. The Midrash tells us that the unity of Sukkot affects forgiveness for those who are so wicked that even the holiness of Yom Kippur can’t bring about forgiveness for them.

Consider the power of this idea; someone might be considered so far gone that Yom Kippur can’t help them - yet the power of unity brings about forgiveness for them.

It certainly helps us realize how powerful unity actually is. 

Just as a reminder - there’s minimal value in being united with those who share your values and outlook. True unity is when it includes those who bitterly disagree with you and everything you believe. Consider the Four Kinds, the Mitzvah which we observe on Sukkot; they are all different, yet the mitzvah is specifically to bring them together. The Sukkah itself reflects the same idea - it equally surrounds people of any and all creeds in its holy embrace.

Perhaps Sukkot is a good time to consider how we view and treat those who differ from us? Give it a try, you might be surprised to find that letting go of division and discord actually makes your life lighter and happier.

Unleashed

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Yom Kippur. Everyone has a different association. Some focus on the fasting, others on forgiveness. For some, it’s a matter of spending much longer than they’d rather in the synagogue. 

Personally, I find it to be a profound and extremely meaningful holiday.

How can Yom Kippur be meaningful, you wonder? I’d happily share my thoughts in person, but suffice it to say that if you’d like to appreciate it too, you need to tune in. Radio waves are everywhere, but without a device; a radio that is tuned in, you will be completely oblivious to the music.

On Sunday night we will gather and hear the Kol Nidrei solemnly intoned by the chazzan (cantor). Many people in the room will close their eyes and sway, others will furrow their brow in deep concentration. Between the haunting tune and the reaction of the crowd, you would imagine that this prayer, “Kol Nidrei,” the one that sets the tone for the entire Yom Kippur, would be a truly profound and moving prayer. Yet, when you turn your attention to the English translation you will find that it’s more or less a technical statement that “the vows that I make shall be null.”

Is that the best we’ve got? Is that all we could come up with to begin Yom Kippur??

As always, when we dig a little deeper we find treasures:

The prayer begins with the words “Kol Nidrei V’esorei” - “All vows and prohibitions.” Hebrew is a very precise language, and therefore often a word can have a different connotation depending on the context. “Kol Nidrei V’esorei.” The word “V’esorei” in this context can mean “that which binds me.”

When Yom Kippur begins, we turn to G-d and we say: We are letting go - we are no longer allowing ourselves to be defined by the limitations, habits and choices we’ve lived with in the past.

When we communicate our choice to disengage from the negative bonds that constrain us, we pray to G-d that He, too, not treat us in the limited fashion that may be in store for us; rather we ask that the bonds and limitations be removed and that we truly be blessed with a great New Year!

Yom Kippur is about unleashing ourselves from our limited self view and allowing us to view ourselves from G-d’s perspective, with unlimited potential.

Does 9/11 make a difference to you?

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I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing and I’m sure you do too. For all of us who were old enough at the time, 9/11 will never be forgotten. 

The question is, so what? So what if we will never forget the events of that morning? Does it truly make any real difference to us?

While there are many emotions and thoughts associated with 9/11, I think that one important takeaway - relevant to all of us - is that each of us can literally change the world. 

Think about it: a group of 19 young individuals, driven by hatred and misplaced religious zeal, hell bent on destruction, were able to detrimentally alter the course of history. Their cause was and remains wrong and downright evil, but they had one thing that enabled them to succeed in their nefarious mission - a deep commitment to their misguided cause.

Imagine what we can accomplish with our commitment to a just and holy cause. Imagine what we can achieve if we deeply commit ourselves to our cause - making this world a G-dly place and encouraging those around us to do the same.

If they can succeed in their mission of destruction, we can surely succeed in our holy work. It’s time for each of us to be leaders in our own lives and positively alter the course of history. 

If so few people could cause so much harm, imagine how much good we all could accomplish!

This inspired me - what inspires you?

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It’s been a while since I’ve been astonished to the point of being speechless. Last night was one of those times. 

We had the privilege of hearing a first hand story of miracles from my friend Rabbi Elie Estrin. His son, Nissi, was diagnosed in utero with multiple heart defects and they were told he would never survive more than a few hours. 

Fast forward four+ years and Nissi is a happy and lively, mischief-loving four year old. Yes, he has had multiple major surgeries and procedures; yes, he is physically limited in some ways but he is alive and bringing much joy to many. 

The presentation raised many fundamental matters; trust in G-d, the limitations of doctors’ expertise and above all the value of life.

It’s not unusual to take life for granted; we wake up in the morning and we go about our day with nary a thought about how amazing it is that we are alive. Hearing the story last night reminded me of the value of each and every life, beginning with my own life.

Don’t get me wrong, we all value life and appreciate the time that we have. But do we truly make an effort to ensure that our time here is well spent? That the investment of resources in our life is justified by the return?

I know myself that there is always room for growth and improvement. And today is just the day to consider it. You see, today is called the “Second Passover”.

The “Second Passover” came about due to a group of people who had missed the original opportunity to bring the Passover sacrifice and begged for another chance. Their entreaties resulted in a holiday added to the Jewish calendar, the “Second Passover”.

Nowadays the holiday is more symbolic than observed since we don’t have the ability to offer sacrifices, however the meaning of the day is deeply significant.

The “Second Passover” reminds us that it is never too late - no matter the choices we’ve made until now, no matter the life we’ve chosen for ourselves - we always have the opportunity to choose differently. 

There are often things that upon reflection we wish we could have done differently, choices that we could have decided differently. And many times those reflections conclude with resignation and acceptance of the status quo.

Today is a reminder that we should never be satisfied with the status quo just because that is what we’ve been familiar with until now.

The difficulty is the effort required to change. For me, hearing stories like the one we heard last night provides a boost and serves as inspiration to gather the internal resources needed to make the necessary change. 

What inspires you to make change? Take a minute and think about it.

Tweeting

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When the Torah portion converges with current events, you absolutely know that every rabbi is going to discuss it. This week’s Torah portion discusses quarantine - yes, it’s really true, check it up for yourself. 

But in all honesty there’s something else that struck me about the theme of this week’s Torah portion: The power of words. 

While the actual discussion in the portion doesn’t take place today - no one is being affiliated with spiritual ailments that physically manifest the way it’s described in the portion. Nor are we offering sacrifices as part of the process of refinement. That doesn’t mean we can’t glean guidance from the message - on the contrary, it brings it into greater focus. 

Briefly, the portion describes an instance where someone who was engaged in negative speech patterns would be affiliated with a particular skin disease. This would render them impure and would require extended sequestration and quarantine. 

Once the disease had cleared, an indication of the spiritual rectification accomplished by the individual, a peculiar ritual would take place as part of their refinement process. The Torah describes that the Kohen would take two birds (among other items), slaughter one and send the other out into the field. 

The commentaries explain that birds - known to tweet long before humans ever used Twitter - were a reminder that speech shouldn’t be used mindlessly. A person should think before speaking, not simply tweet excessively like a bird.

Why then were there two birds? And why was one slaughtered and the other set free?

Because there are two types of speech: negative, destructive speech and positive, constructive speech. 

Both are extremely powerful and far reaching. Both, once expressed, cannot be taken back. One should be “slaughtered” and removed. The other should be set free, into the field.

Nowadays the power of speech is even more relevant. We can use it to divide, deride and degrade. Or we can use it to unite, elevate and embrace.

Instead of taking to social media to rant about one thing or another, perhaps a better use of our phone and our time is to call someone and check in to see how they’re holding up. Never underestimate the power of speech - especially when employed to bring a smile to someone’s face and warmth to their soul.

Are you feeling inspired nowadays?

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Are you feeling inspired nowadays? I often don’t feel terribly inspired myself. 

I know, Passover just ended and I should be inspired by the message of freedom that it contains. Maybe I didn’t connect with it as much due to the current circumstances?

I know, we just began the second week of Sefirat HaOmer; the personal spiritual refinement program that leads to Shavuot. But I’m not sure I’m motivated to work on my spiritual refinement; the Coronavirus seems too distracting.

I can’t connect with people the way I’m used to; I can’t run our services and classes the way that I’m used to; I can’t even workout or take the kids to the park the way that I’m used to. Maybe that’s what’s derailing me?

One thing I know - if I’m expecting circumstances to change before I change my life, I’ll be stuck in a perpetual rut. 

Yes, circumstances have changed and we’ve all needed to make adjustments that are not familiar. But we can’t allow ourselves the comfort of shirking our personal responsibility due to these changes. 

We should acknowledge the changes, recognize the difficulties they might present and then, move forward. Stagnation is unhealthy; physically as well as spiritually. The best antidote for a lack of inspiration is to take a step forward. 

Do something, anything really, rather than just sitting and bemoaning the circumstances.

One step in the right direction is so powerful. It changes our state of being to one of forward motion, however insignificant it might seem. And it helps us channel the infinite power of our soul. 

This time is a true gift, it’s a push to each of us to develop and strengthen our internal selves. It’s an opportunity to prioritize what’s important to us based on our priorities, not just on what is expected from us by others. 

Let’s each take a step in the direction of growth.

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