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.

Get out of your way

break free.jpg 

We each face huge obstacles to growth; we make an effort to change and we are stymied time and again. That’s the bad news. The good news is that we also hold the key to overcoming this obstacle. 

You see, our biggest obstacle to growth is also the one which is most in our control. Yes, that’s correct, we ourselves are our own biggest obstacle to growth. 

How often do you hear people say things like “I’m not a morning person” or that’s me “I always get lost”, or “I’m so bad with names”? Perhaps you tell similar tall tales to yourself as well? 

One of the most common responses I receive when encouraging additional mitzvah observance or Torah study is, “but Rabbi, I’m not religious”.

Let’s take a moment to understand what is going on here. Instead of working on myself to be able to get up and be ready in the morning, I give myself a preemptive built-in excuse: “I’m not a morning person”. Instead of making the effort to learn the directions or remember the name, I excused myself for failing - before I even made the effort. In fact, my excuse is so powerful that it allows me to fail without even attempting to make an effort!

And instead of learning and observing what I can, I define myself as non-religious and therefore “unable” to do anything Jewish.

The first step of positive growth is to allow ourselves to make the effort to grow. To take away our own built-in excuses and mentally re-frame the effort as something that we can work on achieving. 

“I struggle with getting started in the morning, I’d love to work out how to start the day on a better foot”; “I need to take a little more time to understand the directions so that I don’t get lost”; “Please remind me your name, if I use your name a few more times it will help me remember it”. “Rabbi, I haven’t been observant and I don’t know much but I’m always willing to learn new things”.

These sorts of responses remove our self imposed limitations and provide the context for growth. This doesn’t mean it comes easy; this means it can be done.

Everyone is familiar with Rosh Hashanah being the beginning of the New Year - but it’s also the close of the previous year too. Embedded in the observances of the day is the message that the past is exactly that - passed. It does not define our future. The new year is brought about by an entirely new Divine energy that creates and animates our universe - and enables us to emulate it by renewing ourselves.

This Rosh Hashanah make sure to delete the old tracks that have been playing in your head. Entirely delete the tracks that have held you back and blocked your path. With the beginning of the new year, start playing new tracks in your head - ones that are empowering and enlivening. Only play the tracks that encourage you and push you forward.


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