Day 6: Shabbat Edition
(Parshat Shoftim)

The Daily Blast

Channa Ireland
Board Member
Chaviva High
School for Girls

Chaviva High School's annual 5K teaches students how to achieve their goals through discipline.

Torah Reading

Parshat Shoftim: Mind Over Matter

Parshat Shoftim is the first Parsha that we read in the month of Elul; the Parsha initiates a special season within the Jewish calendar year spanning the months of Elul...

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Daily Goals

The Torah’s clear guidelines provide for the constant exercise of discipline. As Rabbi Jonathan Sacks explains: Jewish law is an ongoing training regime in willpower. Can you eat this not that? Can you exercise spiritually three times a day? Can you rest one day in seven? Can you defer the gratification of instinct?

As the Talmud says: “Who is the strong person? He who conquers his lower desires.” (Avot 4:1)

(1) Avoid temptation.

The Talmud (Sanhedrin 107a) advises: For things you find hard to resist, avoid situations that challenge your self-control. If you’re on a diet, don’t visit the bakery. We all make mistakes and the risk of failure is not worth it. God will send enough challenges without needing to tempt ourselves.

(2) Build “discipline muscles.” 

Choice is like a muscle: use it or lose it. The more you train, the stronger you become. Set achievable short-term goals by addressing small (yet significant) issues: e.g. eating healthier; better time management; more even-tempered.

(3) Undertake disciplined hobbies. 

Playing a musical instrument – the focus, repetition and structure – is a great way to build discipline. Ditto for the rules and regulations of sports. The key is to set goals, focus your mental and emotional energies, and work hard to do your best. The sense of discipline will integrate into everyday life.

(4) Sufficient rest. 

When we’re tired, our ability to resist – to say “no” – is weakened. Don’t let “willpower fatigue” cost you mistakes.

This Shabbat, take advantage of the opportunity to rest physically and spiritually and recharge for the week ahead.

Today In Jewish History

6 Elul – Italy Bombs Israel – 1940

On this day in 1940, the Italian Air Force bombed the city of Tel Aviv.  While this wasn’t the only bombing attack on Israel during WWII, this was the deadliest, killing 137, 53 of which were children.

The Italians had just joined the war on the side of the Germans in June of that year.  France had already surrendered leaving no resistance in the Middle East.  With Italian installments in North Africa, the land of Israel, part of Mandatory Palestine at the time, was quite vulnerable.  The British knew this and tried to educate the population on what to do in case of a bombing or gas attack.  That being said, they did not allow the Jews in Israel to bear arms, and there were no anti-aircraft installments set up.  

It is believed that the Italians originally planned to hit Haifa with its ports and refineries where they had previously attacked, but they were intercepted by British planes.  They were then commanded to drop their load on Tel Aviv before returning to their base.  They were instructed to hit the port of Jaffa, but by mistake hit a residential area with 32 bombs, hence the high level of casualties.  Even though the death toll was the largest of WWII in Israel, the event has almost been forgotten from history because the numbers are dwarfed both by other battles in the war, and the horrific numbers of the holocaust itself.

Daily Quotes

"Live your life while you have it. Life is a splendid gift. There is nothing small in it. Far the greatest things grow by God's law out of the smallest. But to live your life, you must discipline it."

- Florence Nightengale

"Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most."

– Abraham Lincoln

"Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment."

- Jim Rohn

Daily Sources

חֲנֹ֣ךְ לַ֭נַּעַר עַל־פִּ֣י דַרְכּ֑וֹ גַּ֥ם כִּי־יַ֝זְקִ֗ין לֹֽא־יָס֥וּר מִמֶּֽנָּה׃

משלי כ״ב

Train a lad in the way he ought to go; He will not swerve from it even in old age.

– Proverbs 22
וְצָרִיךְ שֶׁנְּדַבֵּר עַל תִּקּוּן מִדּוֹתָיו כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּנְהַג בְּעַצְמוֹ הַמִּנְהָג הַטּוֹב עַד שֶׁיִּהְיוּ לוֹ הַמִּדּוֹת הַטּוֹבוֹת כַּמָּזוֹן יִדְבַּק בָּהֶן וְלֹא יִפָּרֵד מֵהֶן מִימֵי נְעוּרָיו, וְיַרְגִּיל בָּהֶן לְאַט קַו לָקָו וְעִנְיָן אַחֲרֵי עִנְיָן
תקון מדות הנפש, הקדמת המחבר ל״ח

Whosoever wishes to attain to the improvement of his qualities must pursue in his own person the goodly course so that the praiseworthy qualities come to be to him excellences, unto which he must accustom himself, from which he must not separate from the time of his youth, and whereunto he must apply himself step by step and little by little.

– Solomon ibn Gabirol, Tikkun Middot HaNefesh, Introductory Essay 38

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