Our bodies are vessels through which we do our holy work in this world. We need to make the appropriate hishtadlus to ensure that we keep our bodies at their optimum level. Before falling asleep ask Hashem that your mind and body receive the rest they require to keep you mentally focused and emotionally balanced. While exercising focus on increasing your strength and improving your health to be able to accomplish your tafkid. While eating a mouthful of food, meditate on elevating the spiritual energy contained within. With these simple kavanos (intentions) we infuse our actions with meaning and kedusha.
Yesterday I was inspired by a 7 year old boy who struggles to regulate his emotions and control his behaviour. His devoted parents and incredible teachers have worked to plant seeds of love and resilience in this little boy's mind and heart, to shift his mindset from failure and negativity to possibility and positivity. Yesterday, after an incident that could have resulted in a total meltdown, he came into my office took some deep breaths, absorbed my words of encouragement and returned to class with a sweet smile on his face. This beautiful child displayed a strength of character and revelation of potential that many adults can only hope for.
Hashem, all I want is to be the child that You hoped for. A beloved and cherished child who brings You infinite joy. All I want is to be One with you in my thoughts, my words and my actions. My neshomo yearns to do your ratzon (will) with childlike innocence, purity, enthusiasm and exhilaration...without any ulterior motives. Remove the barriers that separate us and allow the love to flow freely. And then you will see how with each and every neshima (breath) I will sing to You songs of gratitude for granting me the zechus to be Your precious child.
Mazel tov. Today my wife and I were zoiche to bring another child into the world. Thank you Hashem for this beautiful and healthy little girl. We daven for the strength to provide her with all she needs to thrive and reach her unique potential. Hashem please grant us the resources and wisdom to create the spiritual and physical space for her to grow into who she needs to become. We daven for the ability to love her unconditionally and the patience and siyata dishmaya to guide and nurture her along her life's journey.
Never ask for it, but when Hashem knows that you are ready the nisayon is sent to draw out a dormant part of your inner being. Your response determines the outcome and is the only thing that you are in control of. A wise and dear friend once taught me that artistic expression and creativity are born and nurtured in turmoil and pain. Very often we revert to our words, our music, our paintings to release the tension and confusion inside - and in so doing we grow wiser, more understanding and emerge from the nisayon as better and fuller human beings.
If you only knew how precious you are to Hashem.
If you only knew how awesome and beautiful your Neshomo is.
If you only knew what you are truly capable of.
If you only knew how much Hashem waits for you to reach out and connect.
If you only knew how much He cherishes every word and deed.
If you only knew that Hashem understands how fragile you are and how difficult the struggle sometimes is.
If you only knew how much He believes in you and loves you.
To live with this knowledge is to live as a Jew.
Hashem, please reveal to me my tachlis (purpose). Please teach me how to use my talents to live a life of meaning, purpose and intention. Don’t let me make the same mistake as Eisav who failed to actualize his potential. Open my eyes so that I don’t deny, reject or ignore what I need to accomplish. Rather let me walk in the footsteps of Yakov Avinu and seize every opportunity to illuminate and elevate the mundane. Hashem please be patient and keep believing in me as I work through my holy mission to reveal Your presence - ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם.
There are days that I wish would never end and then there are days that I would like to forget. There are days when it's clear and everything makes sense, when there is harmony between my מח and my לב (mind and heart). When the words of prayer flow from my lips and Torah I am learning resonates deep within. Those days are a gift from Hashem. Then there are days when I’m numb and despair, when the fog in my head affects the emotions I feel. And yet I persist, with hope and faith that these days will be my gift to Hashem.
Rebbe Akiva’s story is so inspirational for me that I named my child after him. What inspires me is the way in which a Jew with so many obstacles and challenges was able to rise above them and literally change the world. It was Rachel that saw the beauty within Akiva when others were repulsed by his ugliness. Through her unconditional love and faith in his potential, she revealed the precious soul of Rebbe Akiva. We are all precious neshmolehs waiting for someone to believe in us, to love us and not be fooled by the mask that conceals who we truly are.
Failure is part of the process on the path to success. As an infant begins to walk they fall but keep rising with the innate knowledge that this is the way they will learn to walk. Our heilige avos Avraham, Yitzchak and Yakov's response to the obstacles they faced determined the future of their children for time eternal. You can go through life as a victim, complain about how unfair your lot is or how disadvantaged you are, but true heroes grow in spite of life’s challenges with the belief that concealed within the obstacle is the key to unlock their destiny.