CLERGY CORNER: Thoughts on the New Year

Posted on 04 January 2018 by LeslieM

Re-Election

In our lives we are running for re-election every year as we close one year and open another. In our election, it is our spouses, our children, our parents, our friends, co-workers, employees, employers and G-d that get to vote. We need to reclaim the admiration of all of them in order to win re-election.

If your children had a chance to “vote” for their dad … or not, what type of vote would you receive? How would your children judge you today as a father? Do we just manage them and throw toys at them so they don’t distract us, or do we create a space in our soul every night to nurture them? Do you let them know in very real ways that they matter?

Small Steps

We try to enhance our lives through small steps, not through huge sweeping changes, for those never last. We add one more mitzvah or resolution into our lives. We resolve that this year we will make one small but real change in our lives.

Let me tell you a story: There once was a poor woman who had no money to feed her children. One day she managed to acquire an egg.

Dear children,” she exclaimed, “let’s not eat this egg! If we wait a while, the egg will hatch and we will have a chick. The chick will grow into a chicken that lays eggs every day. They will also hatch, and soon we’ll have a flock of chickens. We’ll sell the chickens and buy a little calf. The calf will grow into a cow and will give birth to many calves that will grow into cows. Before long, we’ll have a big ranch with a large herd of cattle. Listen, dear children, this little egg will make us rich!”

In her excitement, the mother held up the egg for her children to see. It slipped out of her hand – and cracked wide open on the kitchen floor.

We often make the same error. During this time, we often make lofty albeit worthwhile resolutions. But, as soon as the New Year passes by, we go back to our old ways and the good intentions evaporate. The challenge is to ensure that our resolutions are rooted in the present, and at a level at which we can actually make day-to-day progress.

Be Real

Abe is talking to his friend.

If there’s one piece of simple advice I can give you, Marvin, it’s this. I read it in the Times yesterday and it worked immediately for me.

I’ve finally found inner peace. I’m sure it will work for you too.”

So give me this advice, already,” says Marvin.

OK, here it is,” replies Abe. “The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you’ve started.”

Really?” says Marvin.

Yes,” replies Abe. “I looked around to see all the things I had started but hadn’t finished. So, I finished one bottle of white wine, a bottle of red wine, a keg of beer, the bottle of whiskey, and a large box of gourmet chocolates. You have no idea how good I felt.”

On the New Year, we are called to take a TRUE look at ourselves.

A liar,” said the Maggid of Kelm, “is worse than a thief or robber. A thief steals at night, but is afraid to steal by day. A robber robs night and day, but only robs a lone individual or a few people; he is afraid to rob too many at once. The liar, however, lies both at night and day, both to the individual and to the world.”

Are we real people? How many lies do we say a day? Do we say white lies? Are we honest in our conversations and dealings? Are we true to ourselves as we should be?

Most of us walk through most of our life distracted from the most important and truest question of life: Why are we here? Today, I encourage you to look out, be sensitive for those precious moments — when you may discover a deeper, truer part of yourself — and take it with you.

Have a Happy New Year!

Rabbi Tzvi Dechter is the director of Chabad of North Broward Beaches, located in the Venetian Isle Shopping Center at 2025 E. Sample Rd. in Lighthouse Point. For all upcoming events, please visit www.JewishLHP.com.

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