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Friday, 23 May, 2014 - 11:43 am

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Neighbors - those strangers who live next door - they have the best of both worlds; they get to hear both sides of any argument.

Neighbors are important, they can even have an impact on the lifestyle that you choose and the choices that you make. We try to fit in, so we do what our neighbors are doing. That’s why it’s so important to choose the right neighborhood.

When mentioning the camping arrangements of the Jewish people in the desert back in the day, the Torah alludes to the influence of neighbors. Why did a few members of the tribe of Reuben join a rebellion led by members of the tribe of Levi? After all, their untenable grievance was only relevant to Levites!

So why did the Reubenites join the rebellion? Due to the influence of their neighbors!

Take a moment to think: Do the people in your life - actual neighbors or not - help you feel positive about yourself and what you’re doing? Do the people in your life encourage you and build you up? If the people around you make you feel down or pull you in ways that make you uncomfortable, perhaps it’s time to find new “neighbors”?

Surrounding yourself with the right type of “neighbors” is so important; it creates the context in which you build your life. If the context is positive and supportive, your life can truly thrive. If your “neighbors” (i.e. friends, relatives, co workers etc) provide negative energy - get new neighbors! (And don’t forget to be a good “neighbor” yourself.)

The environment in which we live has a tremendous effect on our life, therefore it is so important to ensure that it is a positive one. Jewishly too. Although we may not live in the most “Jewish” area, we can create that environment in our home. Celebrate Shabbat by lighting the Shabbat candles. Begin building a Torah library by buying and studying Torah texts, demonstrating to your family - by example - the high importance that you place on connecting Jewishly.

You will certainly be a good neighbor!


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