Were You Your Best?
Once again, we are starting a new year in the Jewish calendar. From October 1 -10, we go through a deep introspection period. Did I make last year meaningful or did I just go through the motions? Did I recognize my mistakes and take the right steps to correct and learn from them? What great achievements did I make? Have I reached my goals? What changes are needed to attain the best results? Although especially during this period we feel closer to God, more spiritual, we should feel it regularly.
Many of us feel that we’ll be ready to start living our best lives and make things happen as soon as we get to the next level: after I graduate, when I start the new job, move to a new house, etc. Never quite ready to start living. Now is the time to start planning for your long range goals as well as the short ones. In the midst of our mundane living, inject holiness in it. In spite of challenges, we should still feel gratitude and trust that things will be okay. We must find peace in the middle of chaos.
Rabbi Zusha of Anipoli once said that when it’s his time to go to the world to come, he’ll be asked: “Were you as good as Moses or as Rabbi Akiva?” “That question would not scare me”, he said, “who am I to be like them? But if they ask me: ‘Were you Zusha? The best Zusha you could’ve been? If not, why not?!’ That question scares me,” he said. Obviously we cannot be compared or measured by someone else’s standards but we can be the best version of ourselves. We have our God-given talents that are unique only to us. Only we can do what we must to live the best life we were meant to have, here and now. It’s up to us to make our world a better place, leaving our own print wherever we go and knowing that we gave it all that we’ve got.
Wishing you all a very happy, fulfilling and meaningful new year! L’shana tova!
Naomi Young is an educator of Jewish studies, Bar/ Bat mitzvah preparations in Santa Clarita for 36 years. She’s also a published writer and an artist. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit her art website www.naomiyoung.com
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