Friday, October 30, 2009

Life is a Test, But What Kind of Test?

In memory of R. Chanan Feld, the great Bay Area mohel, who passed away Wednesday. May his memory be for a blessing.

Did you ever make a plan to change your life but then things didn't work out as planned?

I know this woman who made a plan during Rosh Hashana-Yom Kippur to start a daily 5-minute session of reflection. She decided to spend 5 minutes every evening before going to bed thinking about the purpose of her life.

The problem is, ever since then, she has barely done it. Almost every night, something has happened to prevent her from putting in her 5 minutes. It could be the telephone rings and her best friend needs to talk to her for an hour and then she forgets. Or one of her children is sick, and after taking care of him, she's just too tired. Or she had a "disagreement" with her husband and felt too emotionally strung out.

Question for your table: Would she be correct to feel disappointed or frustrated at her inability to accomplish her 5-minute-a-day goal?

After you think about that for awhile, read on....

Judaism would say to her: Who says that you know what's best for your spiritual growth? The fact that you made this commitment is what is important. When things happen that are out of your control, they are happening for a reason. It must be that this is what is best for you. Your real spiritual growth is in how you react to them:

Do you get frustrated?
Do you get angry?
Do you remain calm?
Do you remain happy?

The events are out of your control. Your reaction to events is 100% in your control.

Shabbat Shalom

PS - This amazing film shows what can be accomplished by someone who sees obstacles as challenges rather than barriers (literally!):

“I like a man who grins when he fights.” - Churchill

The goal of Table Talk is to foster meaningful conversation at the Friday night dinner table. Please consider printing and sharing.

No comments: