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Rabbi Yehoshua Alt

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COMING SOON Bez”H

The book Incredible Insights

 

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Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg Ztz”l. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications and is the author of the Sefer, Fascinating Insights: Torah Perspectives On Unique Topics. His writings inspire people across the spectrum of Jewish observance to live with the vibrancy and beauty of Torah. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes, and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

Soulo

There are those who will just follow a routine path and become a “regular” person while there are others that will go against the grain,[1] rising to become the greatest they can[2] be.[3] They overcome their fear of rejection of others.[4] They may say to themselves, “Who cares what others say? Others come and go but I live with myself 24/7!” Living with someone else’s approval may bring temporary pleasure but having your own approval leads to everlasting joy and well-being. “Strive to be who Hashem wants you to be, not what others want to see.”

 

They live with the saying, “Let the world be against you but don’t betray what you are here for.” What would be if Avraham followed everyone else and didn’t rise up and be who became who he was? We all need to follow that example and be like [5]אברם העברי—standing on one side while the rest of the world stood on the other.[6]  There is an expression “You are not here to fit in. You are here to stand out.”

 

Bronnie Ware was a palliative nurse. She would be with those diagnosed with terminal illnesses that were sent home to die because doctors gave up hope. She was with them until they passed away. At the end of her nearly 30-year career, she published a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying where she shared the top deathbed regrets expressed by people she served. The number one most common regret shared by people nearing death was, “I wish I would have had the courage to live a life true to[7] myself,[8] not the life others expected of me.”[9]

 

Criticism of others may stop one from acting.[10] They should bear in mind, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, criticize.”[11] There is a saying, “If it were not for the doers, the critics would soon be out of business.” Someone once commented, “To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.”[12] Some people never make a mistake, nor do they ever make anything else.[13]

 

There are those who accomplish much in their life.[14] They don’t measure success by what others haven’t done.[15] While some people dream of worthy accomplishments, others stay awake and do them.[16] The truth is that “Within each and every soul is a God size hole that only God can fill.” (That is, money and the pleasures of this world won’t fill this need, only spirituality will.)

 

There was a man, Yaakov, that was in perilous circumstances. A wealthy fellow, Shimon, came to the rescue and saved his life. Yaakov asked Shimon how he could possibly pay him back for what he did as Shimon clearly didn’t need money. Shimon told him, just make sure you live a life worth saving![17]

 

So, remember: “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do.” **********************************



[1] Someone once said, “The really dangerous thing about existence is that it is not a question of sink or swim but that it is possible to float.”

[2] For some this may entail going out of the “orthobox.”

[3] There is an expression, “Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it life.”

[4] There is a quote that reads, “A true friend accepts who you are, but also helps you become who you should be.”

[5] Breishis 14:13. See Breishis Rabba 42:8. See also R’ Shamshon Rafael Hirsch to Shemos 3:18. It has been said, “Some of the world’s greatest deeds have been accomplished by two types of men: those who were smart enough to know it could be done and those too dumb to know it couldn’t.”

[6] The Degel Machane Efraim (Mattos, s.v. החלצו) comments onואיש לא יעלה עמך…בכל ההר  (Shemos 34:3) that when one wants to truly serve Hashem he must imagine as if he is alone in the world and he shouldn’t be moved by any person. Very often when we “climb the mountain” we are alone since we need to go against the crowd.

[7] There is a saying. “You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”

[8] The Pasuk says והיה כנגן המנגן ותהי עליו יד ה’, it happened that as the musician played, the hand of Hashem came upon him (Melachim 2, 3:15). It is said from the Maggid of Mezerich that everyone has their own tune, a beat that appeals to them specifically. When the player is harmonious with his tune, then it’s ותהי עליו יד ה’.

[9] The others were the following: 2) I wish I hadn’t worked so hard. 3) I wish I would have had the courage to express my feelings. 4) I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. 5) I wish that I had let myself be happier.

[10] A motivational speaker once remarked that people in life, in general, tell what you can’t do not what you can do.

[11] Someone once commented that there has never been a statue to honor a critic (so just ignore people like that).

[12] R’ Moshe Ibn Ezra once said that to find favor in the eyes of every one is a goal that can never be reached and to avoid all criticism is an aim that can never be achieved (Shiras Yisrael, p. 117).

[13] We should keep in mind, “No matter how many mistakes you make or how slowly you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.”

[14] We need to keep in mind, “Don’t ask, can I? Ask, should I?”

[15] “Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished rather by what you should have accomplished with your ability.” Another quote is, “It is better to have little ability and use it well than to have much ability and make poor use of it.”

[16] There is a saying, “Good intentions die unless they are executed.”

[17] We are compared to the stars (Breishis 15:5, 22:17, Shemos 32:13). Stars appear small since they are at a far distance but up-close they are enormously bigger. Similarly, we may look at another Jew and he seems quite small to us. However, when we take an up-close look, we realize how great they are—when we see all the struggles and troubles they have been through in their life and how much they have accomplished and the like.

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