Printed from ChabadRT.org

Weekly Newsletter Message

Would you rather a meaningful life or one of convenience?

A meaningful life is one full of doing good and bringing benefit to those around you at every opportunity, which often is not convenient. Meaning is associated with effort, growth and challenge. The things that are the most difficult in your life—a high-pressure job, raising kids, caring for a loved one—are often the same things that add the most meaning (and long-term happiness)

The more you seek convenience, the more you experience disappointment and frustration because every inconvenience or challenge is an impediment to your vision of an easy life.

On the other hand, if you seek meaning, you won’t be so thrown off by those inconveniences and you can even find a way to add more meaning as a result. That very same inconvenience or challenge can be seen as an opportunity to make yourself a better person and make the world a better place.

Everyone experiences difficulties, but if you seek meaning rather than convenience the disappointment and frustration will be far less.

It’s like going to the gym. If you go to the gym to relax, as if it’s a spa, you will be sorely disappointed, but if you go to the gym to exercise, the work will be just as hard, but the experience totally different.  

During those last few lifts at the gym, when your muscles are burning, if remind yourself why you are there and you will find the strength to push through.

The same is true with life in general. As Jews we have a daily reminder to seek meaning more than convenience.  It’s called Modeh Ani. The Modeh Ani is a one-line prayer recited first thing each morning that serves as a reminder as to why we are here. (see more here)

Try it out. The work will be just as hard but the experience totally different.

Shabbat Shalom 

Rabbi Benjy Silverman 

Thai Cave Rescue

What an inspiring story!  Divers and rescuers from around the world accomplished (what many referred to as) an impossible rescue.

 

It is a testament to what mankind is capable of. We can accomplish the impossible.

So why don’t we?

Why is there so much dysfunction all around us? Why is homelessness rampant? Why is our healthcare system broken? Why are there no cures for many diseases?  

It’s not because these problems are too large, but rather because we are caught up in politics and pettiness. If we could get rid of personal agendas and politics we would solve every one of them.

But does it take a crisis to put all agenda's aside? Can we throw away the pettiness on an average day?

This week we read a double Torah portion. The second portion, Masei, reviews the Jews journey through the desert and it’s not a very flattering review. The forty years in the desert were full of dysfunction, complaining and rebelling.

But there was one exception; after the infamous sin of the Golden Calf, G-d said: Let them build something together. Instruct the Jews to build a home (tabernacle) for me. This simple command transformed the Jews. During the whole construction of the tabernacle there were no complaints and no dysfunction. The Jews came together and rose to the occasion.

Building something together enables us to transcend our individuality and the impossible becomes possible. But absent a shared goal we descend into individual pettiness and personal agendas and the possible becomes impossible.

During the Thai cave rescue there was a crisis that brought us together, but we don’t have to wait for an acute crisis to build together. All we need is a vision.

This is true on a personal, national and global level.

On a personal level we'll use the example of a marriage. A marriage with a vision, in which the individuals see themselves as coming together to build something greater than themselves, is a marriage of harmony that transcends personal agendas.

On a national level - the cure to the dysfunction in America today is to clarify our national vision. Do we know what we are building together? Is there clarity in our education system and beyond to what it is we are aiming to build?

When we are busy building something together our political differences complement each other, contributing to the “building project” in their unique way, rather than detracting from one another.

And finally on a global level, working together to “build a home for G-d in this world”, we can accomplish the “impossible” and bring peace, prosperity and harmony to our world.  

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Benjy Silverman

 

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