Weekly Newsletter Message

Does Your Calendar Reflect Your True Priorities?

Most mistakes in life stem from our failure to see the big picture.  We get carried away with the immediate and fleeting opportunity in front of our eyes, sacrificing something more important in the future. 

The Talmud states “Who is a wise man?” One who sees what will be born.” (Tamid 32a)

True wisdom, according to our Sages, is the ability to recognize the long-term consequences of our actions.  The wise man sees beyond the here and now, he sees the BIG picture.

This is why we leave our homes on Sukkot and live in a Sukkah, a temporary hut, for 8 days. This helps us reorient our priorities. Sometimes we get a bit carried away with the physical trappings of life. Entering the Sukkah and spending time there with our family and friends, while celebrating the holidays and connecting with Hashem, reminds us of what’s really important in life.  

The sukkah reminds us that life is transient and temporary, and therefore it’s not the “STUFF” that matters. 

They tell the story of the man who came to heaven holding a suitcase. 

The Angels asked, “What are you carrying?” He says “Can’t I bring my stuff?” They say, “that stays down on earth” 

So he says “Can I bring my body” ‘No, that gets buried” 

Finally he says “So what can I bring?”

To which the Angels answer “the only thing you can bring here are your choices”

Sukkot inspires us to ask ourselves, “What’s going to really count in the end?”.  Are we seeing the bigger picture?  Are we spending too much time and energy pursuing things that won’t matter in the long run anyway? Does our calendar reflect our true priorities? 

As wise people let's make sure that our actions are aligned with what’s really important in life!  

Is Your Life Easy?

Unrealistic expectations will most often lead to disappointment.

Once an individual was complaining to the Lubavitcher Rebbe about all the struggles and difficulties he was facing. The Rebbe responded to him: “Since when have you signed a contract with G-d that life would be easy?” Life isn’t meant to be easy. We are on an important Divine mission and part of that mission is to deal with these challenges and difficulties.

Earlier this week Ari Fuld, 45, was stabbed in the back. The terrorist attack took place Sunday morning at an Israeli mall in the West Bank. Amazingly, only after chasing down his attacker, shooting, and disabling him, did Ari succumb to his wound and later died in the hospital. At his funeral, his daughter, Tamar, 22, stood up to say goodbye to her dad. “One sentence my father always told me, that has stuck with me forever: ‘If life is easy, you are living it wrong.’  Life is meant to be a daily challenge. That is what I am doing now, it will be hard, I am sure, but at least I know I am doing something right.”

When we expect life to be easy, we are quickly frustrated when things don’t go our way. However, when we remember that our challenges are an important part of our purpose in life, we see them as opportunities to further our critical mission and are not as easily thrown off by them. The next time you face a difficulty, remember that this difficulty – and the way you respond to it – is a part of why you are here. It is not stopping you from fulfilling your mission - rather, it is your mission; it is not getting in your way, it is your way.

As Rabbi Lord Jonathan Saks recently wrote; “Life may be hard, but it can still be sweet. Jews have never needed wealth to be rich, or power to be strong. To be a Jew is to live for the simple things: love, family, community. Life is sweet when touched by the Divine."

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Benjy Silverman



What's Wrong with the World?

On Yom Kippur we take the initiative to evaluate our lives and decide what we can, and will, fix. 

Many years ago, there was a famous letter written in response to The Times of London question, “What is wrong with the world today?” Readers submitted essays about the world’s ills, but the best letter of all was also the shortest. It read:

“Dear Sir,

I am.

Yours faithfully, G. K. Chesterton.”

It’s a lot easier to point fingers at others than oneself. “Everyone else needs to change, not me”

What’s wrong with our world? The UN

What’s wrong with my marriage? My spouse of course.

What’s wrong with my job? My boss.

Why are my kids behaving this way? Because they have behavioral issues and they need to change.

While this may all be true, the consequence of this mindset is that we sit and wait for the world and the people around us to change, but they rarely do and neither does our situation.

If you want change in your life, whether in your marriage, at work, with your kids or in any other area of life, then you’ve got to be the one to change because you can’t change anyone else. The only thing you can change is yourself.  YOU need to change what YOU are doing, or HOW you are doing it, if you want to see different results.  

The next time you have a negative experience whether with your spouse, kids, mechanic or boss, even if they are at fault, rather than pointing fingers and blaming, ask yourself “what can I do differently or better next time to change the outcome” This is the only way you and your situation will ever change and improve. 

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Benjy Silverman 

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