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How was your morning?

by Davy Dombrowsky

I woke up today and I didn’t wash my hands right away. I didn’t keep the wash-cup near my bed either. I didn’t put on my shirt while still in bed. I also didn’t put on my tzitzis right away. My kids were jumping all over me and, after warning them numerous times they spilled my coffee, and I yelled at them. When they were finally gone, I needed to space out and I missed Zman Krias Shema. For the past week or so, my shul cancelled all the minyanim, so I’m finding it hard to push myself to pray early and everything gets started sooo late. Not to mention, it’s getting harder and harder to pray alone in my house. I sit down to learn something and my phone’s vibrating with messages, which distracts me. It takes me about an hour to learn something that should have taken me 20 minutes. I’m behind. The bank calls, saying I need to come in right away, so I go there and I have to wait and wait outside for them to let me in. The kids are coming back from school soon, I told my wife that I’d prepare lunch today. I also have to start work soon and I feel like I didn’t get anything worthwhile done. What am I doing with my life?

Does any of this sound familiar? For your sake, I hope not. Maybe it’s just me?!

In Torah 282, Rebbe Nachman urged his followers to search vigorously and find their own good points and the good points of others. This technique of attaining joy is crucial, and it’s advice that he encouraged his followers to review constantly.

Let’s reframe my morning with the Rebbe’s approach:

I woke up today and I have the great merit to be a Jew! I didn’t wash my hands right away but I washed them. I didn’t keep the wash-cup near my bed either but I washed them according to Halacha with a wash-cup. I didn’t put on my shirt while still in bed. I also didn’t put on my tzitzis right away. I wear tzitzis every day though. Both the small tallis, worn under my clothing and also the large one, designated specifically for prayer times. My kids were jumping all over me and, after warning them numerous times they spilled my coffee, so I yelled at them. Who wouldn’t yell at them? I also kissed them and hugged them and helped change them and feed them. When they were finally gone, I needed to space out. Sounds like a need and I missed Zman Krias Shema. Mistakes happen. At least I care that I missed it. I usually try and make it. I’m a person who takes that seriously. For the past week or so, my shul cancelled all the minyanim, so I’m finding it hard to push myself to pray early and everything gets started sooo late. Not to mention, it’s getting harder and harder to pray alone in my house. But I prayed to God today. I really did! Can everyone say they prayed to God today? Who is lucky enough to try everyday to develop this Divine relationship? Even in the dogmatic lip-service, I certainly had a few words that were meaningful and directed to Him with yearning for closeness. I sit down to learn something and my phone’s vibrating with messages, which distracts me. It takes me about an hour to learn something that should have taken 20 minutes. This is truly outstanding. I learned Hashem’s Torah today. Can this be taken for granted? To be honest, I actually make an attempt to learn Hashem’s Torah everyday. Without exaggeration, its is fitting to dance for 1000 years for this gigantic merit. I’m behind in my learning (My learning. Such a beautiful thing to say). The bank calls, saying I need to come in right away, so I go and I have to wait and wait outside for them to let me in. The kids are coming back from school soon, I told my wife that I’d make them lunch. I also have to start work and I feel like I didn’t get anything worthwhile done. With all the stress of life, I’m still helping my family and others. I haven’t lost my sanity in this insane world. I havent given up hope on myself and I’m still trying to be better than yesterday.

It seems like this lesson is just an exercise of positive thinking, which it certainly is. But Reb Nosson (Hashkamas Haboker 1:1) teaches that all the good in the world is from Hashem, and when we can find the good in ourselves, we’re actually recognizing the Divine image that is found within us. By recognizing our essential good, we are cutting away all the exteriors and finding our true selves. More than a reframe of positivity, it is an exercise of self-searching and spiritual Divine yearning. It’s extremely invigorating to practice this technique, because it uncovers who we really are and strengthens our most real selves.

There is so much that will go wrong everyday around us. Negativity and frustration are looming at every turn. It’s guaranteed! But how will we see things? Will we write ourselves off as underachievers and seal our fate, or will we work to uncover our true greatness and live in the Divine nature of every moment? Our choice.

published on TikkunHaklali.net.

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