Minute #579: Do It Again and Then Again

“I can’t believe it! You really rode a bicycle 50 miles!” Berel exclaimed in disbelief. “I don’t think I could do five miles without getting winded!”

“If I hadn’t trained for the event I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish it,” Yoel replied. “When I signed up for this fund-raiser I wasn’t sure if I would be able to complete the course, but I took action and immediately began to train to go the distance. At the end of the day I raised almost $1000 for our local Bikur Cholim.”

“I have a lot of goals I would like to achieve, but never seem to be able to hit my targets,” Berel said. “Can you let me in on your training secrets?”

“Setting a lofty goal is commendable and is the first step towards success,” Yoel advised. “But don’t try to leap to the finish line in your first attempt. Do a little every day and don’t miss even one day. As time goes on you will become stronger and consistent. That’s the secret, my friend!”

In his commentary on Pirkei Avot (3:15), Rambam says that if one has $100 to give he should give one dollar 100 times in order to train his hand to give. When the Tzalka Rav was in a concentration camp where he had no money or possessions to give, he broke off a piece of his daily ration to give bread as tzedakah to a fellow prisoner so that his hand would not “forget” how to give charity daily.

Giving daily transforms a person into a “giver.” The constant repetition of an act is training for the soul. Any good deed can become “habit forming” if you start with a manageable amount and repeat the act over and over until it becomes second nature.  Don’t delay! Start today in a small way.

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

In addition to avoiding debts, one should not waste money on his child’s wedding, spending too much on decorations and such, incurring large debts. Rather, everything should be done with moderation and recognition that the objective is not quantity but quality. (Rabbi Aaron Zakkai, Heaven Sent, p. 146)