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Are you a thermometer or thermostat?

Friday, 10 November, 2017 - 1:33 pm

This week’s Parshah opens with the words “And Sarah’s life was one hundred years and twenty years and seven years – the years of the life of Sarah.

Rashi explains that the Torah repeats the words "the years of Sarah's life" to teach us something about the quality of those years. As Rashi says, “All [the years] were equally good.”

Really? All her years were equally good? What about all the years she struggled with infertility? What about the time she was held captive in Pharoh’s palace or the troubles she had with Hagar?

Can we honestly say that she had an easy and good life?

It depends how you define a good life.

There are two kinds of people - thermometer people and thermostat people.

Just like a thermometer reflects the temperature in its environment, some people are reactive, they are influenced by what’s going on around them. So, for them, when they say, “Life is good,” it really means, “I like the way I’m being treated right now.”

Then there are thermostats. Just like a thermostat regulates the temperature in its environment. there are people who are proactive, looking for ways to uplift their environment. … for them  “Life is good” means “I get to do good” not “I am being treated well.”  They’re happy because they get to serve not because they’re getting good service.

Sarah was a thermostat, and as a result all her years were equally good. Regardless of what was happening to her, she reacted with goodness.

If you want to be guaranteed a good life, make sure you’re a thermostat.

Shabbat Shalom 

Rabbi Benjy Silverman 


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