You have the choice in every moment to decide to respond with positivity or negativity. When we choose negativity we end up complaining, despondent and often despair. However when we adopt a positive bias, our minds and hearts are filled with gratitude and joy as we recognize the many blessings in our lives. There is a huge movement of Yidden who are being more intentional in thanking Hashem and together building a world-wide community of connection and positivity (thankyouhashem.com).
As we transition from galus to Geula, Yidden are seeking a deeper and more meaningful relationship with Hashem and finding joy and gratitude...the perfect medium.
One of the most important things you can do for your children is be a positive role model. Realizing the influence of my actions, I have begun talking less and simply modelling the מידות and lifestyle choices I want my children to embrace. Watching me learn Torah, seeing me select healthy foods and exercising, observing the way I interact with others gives my children a real example of how to live. I am attempting to follow the path of אברהם אבינו who was loved by Hashem for the way he educated his family as with acts of virtue rather than with words spoken.
Hashem I just want You to know how much I love You. I want you to know that even though there are days that it does not appear that way I love You deeply. It’s just that sometimes I am distracted, and sometimes I don’t have כח and sometimes I am frustrated, and sometimes I don’t feel worthy... but I always feel encouraged by Your belief in me and inspired by Your love for me. I hope that through my struggles, in my never ending search for You, You see my true רצון to be One with You בלב ובנפש.
After struggling with extreme fatigue recently my doctor prescribed exercise. It seemed paradoxical...here I am complaining that I am exhausted and he tells me to exert more energy and exercise. I took his advice and last night went on my first run...ok jog...ok ok a walk and some jogging. I pushed through the initial resistance and pain with the kavana that through this exercise I am serving Hashem as the Rambam writes, ‘vigorous exercise preserves the body.’ There are simple steps that we can take to ensure that we remain both physically and emotionally healthy...we just need to do it.
One of the mispallelim in the shule I was the Rabbi in taught me a valuable lesson. Many times after a shiur or drosho, he would sense my impatience with members of the shule to be inspired and grow. In his gentle way he would come over and whisper, “R’ Aryeh, you are planting seeds.”
He was telling me that I may not see the immediate effect of my words but with faith, patience, care and love these seeds will eventually blossom. I took his words to heart and ב”ה have had the privilege of seeing many of my seeds blossom and flourish.
Some time ago I wanted to impress upon my students the importance of the decisions they make, the impact of their actions and help them set a vision for themselves. So I asked them to imagine they were a 100 years old and their family and friends had gathered to pay tribute to their dear Zaidi. I asked them to write the tribute speech that they would hope their grandchild would say about them. It was a powerful exercise and one I would encourage you to do as well as it helps to set a vision for you to live in to.
Sometimes we lose our way. We stray so far from Hashem and our purpose that we no longer know how to return. When a sheep strays from the flock, the shepherd plays his flute and the sheep recognises the niggun and returns. Similarly when we have strayed like a lost sheep and feel lost and confused and no longer know how to return, Hashem plays His sweet niggun. He sends messengers with words of chizuk and inspiration to remind us that He has not given up searching for us. With an everlasting love and unrelenting hope, He awaits our return.
Based on Likutei Moharan Torah 206
Sparks of inspiration is always temporary and often surreal. Inspiration motivates us to move towards our purpose. If we are complacent in the pursuit of our dreams, if we fail to catch the spark, ignore the call or fail to act upon it, then we remain lost in the darkness of our struggle. Our core life purpose is to engage in the search for our true inner calling, to align ourselves with our true purpose.
Will you misread Hashem’s call or act in alignment with your true purpose?
Will you remain open to inspiration and create a vessel for it by committing to real and positive change?
Yesterday my 4 year old son asked me, “Tutty what’s the reason you love me so much?” I responded, “I love you just because I love you, just like Hashem loves us just because He loves us.” You see, the moment you love someone because of something, the love is conditional and dependent on that thing. Which means that as soon as that reason ceases to exist so does the love. Mirror Hashem’s love for us and offer your children unconditional love...a אהבת עולם - eternal love that will never cease no matter what - ואהבתך לא תסיר ממנו לעולמים.
Imagine trekking through beautiful terrain. Over the hills, your destination is in sight but darkness quickly sets in. Your path is obstructed by thick foliage and your progress slows. Travelling deeper into the forest you become disoriented and panic. Growing wearier you begin to lose hope. You pray for help, but instead it begins to rain heavily and thunder shakes every fibre of your being. You persist and suddenly a flash of lightning illuminates your world. For a moment you have clarity and know the path you need to take. Invigorated, you move forward towards your destination.
This is the essence of Chanuka and Rosh Chodesh.