Minute 769:First In
One by one, the men who participated in the morning learning program arrived and moved toward their tables. Each table had a different Rav teaching a different subject to satisfy the various levels of scholarship and interests in the group. Some first headed for the coffee station to grab a cup of coffee or tea and exchange morning greetings and small talk. Although the order of arrival varied, one thing was certain: Joshua Bennett was always the first to get there.
“How does he do it?” Mr. Stevens asked. “I have a struggle with my yetzer hara every morning just to get here at all, and someone told me that Josh is the first one in every day. Can that be possible?”
“It’s not only possible — it’s 100% true. Bennett opens the doors and is ready to go bright and early every day,” Mr. Brafman said. “I guess you’d have to say he’s the most devoted to his shiur.”
When one has a strong desire for something, one is apt to find the strength and the will to do whatever it takes to fill that craving. It’s also likely that his efforts will be driven by zeal to achieve. The more one wants, the more one tries. The trick to successful growth is to want the right things.
Torah greats embody zerizut — alacrity. Their great achievements are due to a strong desire to do the will of our Creator. It’s natural for a person to take care of himself and only then turn his attention to others. The Mishnah states: “Do His will as though it were your own.” When one doesn’t allow personal desires to interfere with the desire to do His will, one can become “first in.”
One More Second: Another Thought for the Day
Oh, if only sechel (intelligence) would prevail! How different human behavior would be.
We watch an infant reach for something that he thinks is pleasant because it is colorful, and he may cry bitterly until he gets it, only to throw it away after a few moments…We readily recognize such behavior as juvenile; yet intelligent, mature adults often behave no differently. (Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D., Lights Along the Way, pp. 201–2)
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.