“What’s the matter, Bruce?” Josh asked. His friend was noticeably troubled.
“I’m having trouble keeping up with my schoolwork. It’s especially difficult to memorize all the strange terms in my biology and physics classes,” he admitted.
“Well, you know that the 10th-grade courses you are taking require more time and effort than what you have been accustomed to thus far,” Josh pointed out.
“When you add Aramaic Gemara into the mix, I don’t think I’m living in the country where I was born. Everything is so strange!” Bruce added.
“Did you learn about osmosis in biology? It can help you solve your problem,” Josh suggested.
“Isn’t that something to do with liquids?” Bruce asked. “How’s that going to help me?”
“It actually means ‘the tendency of a fluid, usually water, to pass through a semipermeable membrane into a solution where the solvent concentration is higher, thus equalizing the concentrations of materials on either side of the membrane,’” Josh blurted out quickly, dazzling his friend. “I’m not showing off, Bruce. It seems to me you’re expecting to learn new things by osmosis, which is a natural, automatic process. Well, it’s not going to happen. You’ve got to work hard to gain knowledge. My suggestion is to roll up your mental sleeves and get to work if you want to succeed.”
The Mesillat Yesharim [introduction] says a person must first realize the importance of sheleimut, perfect service to Hashem. Then one must put in the study it takes to acquire fear and love of Hashem and sticking close to Him. Just as one cannot absorb scientific expertise or any special skill such as engineering or architecture without concentrated, extensive study, so, too, spiritual knowledge cannot be acquired without concerted effort. Roll up your spiritual sleeves and get to work.
One More Second: Another Thought for the Day
Kindergarten boys were asked: “What does your mother do while you are in school?” One little boy said, “My mother sits at the window and waits for me to come home.” How lucky he is to feel secure in the belief that his mother sits all day and waits for him to come home! (Roiza D. Weinreich, In Joy, p. 95)