Thursday, February 25, 2010 Daily - Adar 11

11 Adar 5770 / February 25, 2010 Torah Reading: Tetzaveh

#790   Resolve Your Worries

When you are worried, pinpoint exactly what you are worried about, and then try to think of solutions to the real problem.

For example, if you're worried about how to make a living, your anxiety level might be commensurate with someone who's worried that they'll starve to death!

But is that really the case? Most likely, you have the necessary talent to deliver mail, work in a factory, clean floors, or similar jobs. Perhaps such jobs do not enable you to utilize your potential, or you feel they are below your dignity, or will be very boring. So realize then that your real problem is pride or boredom, not starving to death. Your worry level will be decreased if you realize the exact nature of the problem.

Now that your question is how to make a boring job more interesting or how to use your potential, you can make an inventory of all your skills, hobbies, and interests -- and figure out how to best utilize them to earn a living.

(Rabbi Pliskin's Gateway to Happiness, p.158)

11 Adar

Yahrtzeit of Rabbi Chaim Yosef David Azulai (1724-1807), a great Sephardic sage known by the acronym "Chida." He was born in Jerusalem, and for many years served as a roving emissary for Jews in Israel, traveling to hundreds of Jewish communities throughout Europe and North Africa to raise money. Chida studied under the Ohr HaChaim, and wrote some 70 works of Jewish commentary and law, including the famous Birkei Yosef. He also served for a time as chief rabbi of Egypt. He died in Italy, and was later re-interred to his beloved Jerusalem.

11 Adar

God instills an additional neshamah (soul) in a person on the eve of the Sabbath (Beitzah 16a).

We know that two things cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Although spiritual substance need not be subject to the law of physics, we might still ask, "Where does this additional neshamah fit? Was there previously a vacuum in the space it now occupies?"

As the Sabbath approaches, we create a place for the additional neshamah by discarding much of the weekday matter we have accumulated. To the extent that we rid ourselves of the weekday problems, to that extent we can receive the additional neshamah of the Sabbath.

We are instructed to approach the Sabbath with an attitude that all our weekday work has been totally completed, and so nothing has been left undone that could cause us to think about it on the Sabbath. Weekday activities relate to the means of living, while the Sabbath represents the goal of life. It is the time when, freed from all other activities, we can direct attention to the study of Torah, to prayer, and to contemplating on what God wants of us. Vacating the thoughts, stresses and worries of weekday life leaves "space" for that extra neshamah.

We can begin preparing to receive the additional neshamah during the week: we can consider our weekday activities as merely the means to earn a livelihood, and then look forward to the Sabbath, on which we will be able to focus on the purpose of life.

Today I shall ...
... try to realize that work is a means rather than a goal, and to look forward to the Sabbath, when I will be able to more fully concentrate on the goals of life.

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