Life is a series of ups and downs. Businesses go through fiscal cycles of growth and decline. Those who struggle to keep their weight in a healthy zone lose weight only to gain it back again. After a period of spiritual growth one may slip backward before rising to an even higher level. It’s also true that no two people or institutions grow at the same pace or reach the same level of success. Everyone is an individual, and life’s ups and downs in all areas yield different results for different people.
Yanky was a good student in high school, slightly above average. He had a group of friends that enjoyed the same extra-curricular pursuits. After graduation, four of the boys, including Yanky, went to the Holy Land to advance their learning. Yanky fell in love with learning and spent every waking hour in the beis medrash, from early in the morning until late at night. When his friends, who were also doing well, invited him to join them in touring, visiting new-found friends and holy sites, Yanky consistently declined.
“How can you waste time from learning to…?” was his critical response, no matter what suggestion his friends made. “Why did we come to Eretz Yisrael? Wasn’t it to fill our days with Torah? Don’t you want to grow? How can you waste so much valuable time with frivolous pursuits?” were some of his responses. Then they stopped asking.
Sometimes a person wants to correct another or perhaps show them valuable pursuits that they themselves enjoy. They want to push the other in the right direction. However, if the push is done in a negative way, it’ll probably push the intended beneficiary away rather than towards the goal.
One More Second: Another Thought for the Day
Just as it takes courage to ask forgiveness, it can take courage to forgive. There are instances when a person feels so hurt that he is not ready yet to forgive. Then you can say, “I wish that I would be able to sincerely say that I forgive you. But as of yet I can’t…” When you view forgiving someone as an act of courage, you will have added motivation to forgive. (Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, Courage, p. 134)
Rabbi Raymond Beyda serves in the Sephardic Community in Brooklyn, N.Y. He lectures to audiences all over the world. He has distributed over 500,000 recorded lessons free of charge. He is author of the book 1 Minute With Yourself: A Minute a Day to Self-Improvement, Sephardic Press, 2008.