Past, Present, Future

Day 9:
How Do I stay focused?

כִּי תִתֵּן אֶל לִבְּךָ תָּמִיד: מֵאַיִן בָּאתָ, וּלְאַן אַתָּה הוֹלֵךְ

It will cause you to always think about "where you came from and where you are going."

Akabyah ben Mahalalel said: mark well three things and you will not come into the power of sin: know from where you come, and where you are going, and before whom you are destined to give an account and reckoning. From where do you come? From a putrid drop. Where are you going? To a place of dust, of worm and of maggot. (Pirkei Avot 3:1) 

For in truth, all these thoughts are counter to arrogance and they foster humility, because when a man looks at the lowliness of his physicality and the baseness of his origin, he will have no reason whatsoever to be haughty but only to feel shame and humiliation. 

To what is this similar? To a pig-herder who rose to become the king. As long as he remembers his early days, it will be impossible for him to become arrogant. Likewise, when one considers that at the end of all his greatness, he will return to the earth to be food for maggots, all the more so will his pride be submitted and his roaring arrogance quieted. For what is his good and his greatness if his end is shame and dishonor? (Mesilat Yesharim 23)

(adapted from A Letter for the Ages, p. 47)

Click on image to see the letter in Hebrew and in English

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Bonus Material

Rediscovering My Jewish Roots by Kirk Douglas

It all started in 1991. I was in a helicopter and we had just lifted 50 feet above the ground. At the same time, a small plane was taking off with an instructor and his student. We collided. Our helicopter crashed to the tarmac. But the plane exploded. Its two passengers were killed. I woke up in the...

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Daily Goals

Daily Goals: 
For nearly two thousand years we travelled in hope; and now on the brink of arrival let us not lose our way. We have suffered from complacency and religious underachievement. We have injured ourselves by divisions and petty rivalries. A section of our community is slowly drifting away. We are losing our most precious possessions, Jewish identity, the Jewish family, above all our commitment to the Torah which inspired generations to lead lives of holiness and moral beauty. Are we, who once heard the call of destiny, deaf to it now? Are we, who taught the world that religious faith is a journey from slavery to freedom, unable to cope with the challenges of freedom? We have lost our prophetic vision. But we who live at this momentous time can recover it together. We must work together to renew the Jewish world.

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