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A Life of Meaning

By: SFW Students & Alumna
Debra Strashun (SFW '09)

The continuous efforts on behalf of , , and the are complete and the time for has finally arrived! The day is and the is ready to be sanctified for . Who will be the first to bring the holy ?

" .

':'-') ) ." '

The leaders of Israel, the heads of their fathers household, brought offerings; they were the leaders of the tribes, they were those who stand at the countings. They brought their offerings before Hashemand they brought them before the Tabernacle. (Bamidbar 7:2-3)

We expect this type of behavior from the - of course they are the first ones to be in the ! However, we can learn a lesson from here that I think is especially important as we approach the end of our year in Israel or for those ending the school-year and transitioning into the summer season.

" on these asks: why here by the do the volunteer to be first whereas by the they donate last? Previously, by the their attitude was: let everyone else give first, and thenwhatevers missing well give. But the gave so much that there was nothing left for the to give except for their contribution of the stones for the and the . Therefore, learning from this past mistake of not seizing the moment, by the à , here they volunteered FIRST.

I think a lot can be taken from this. Firstly, it is important to note that even people as great as the made mistakes. But they didnt wallow in regret or self-pity. Instead, the second a new opportunity came around they seized the moment and rectified their previous mistake. In life we are presented with so many chances to do and , but so often we push them off thinking well get around to it later and in doing so we miss incredible opportunities for growth! in his sefer " " teaches us not to push off doing something until later. And if theres one thing I learned this year its that time passes by too fast, and if we dont take advantage of every opportunity that we have to do a , then it will be too late.

' brings down a ( ) that tells us: " ". This means a young pumpkin is better than a fully grown pumpkin. " there gives a mashal that helps explain this: A friend gives his buddy a vegetable plant and tells him if you want to plant it now, go plant it. But if you want to wait for it to grow riper then you can wait But, the friend warns that it is better to plant the vegetable now, rather than wait because something might come up that will delay him from planting it. And since he has the time right now, why not just go for it?? The message here is simple: - dont delay an opportunity, or as we know from ,

- " "because: " "

. ( ) When a chance to do a mitzvah comes your way dont push it off!

This middah of being quick to seize an opportunity is explained further by the " in of :

" . . ...


Before a person does an action he must have in mind not to delay its performance. Rather, when the opportunity to do a mitzvah presents itself, or when it enters his mind, he must react quickly, without delay, seizing the moment. He must not procrastinate at this time because every new minute can bring with it some new hindrance to the fulfillment of a good deed.

As long as we have life, we have the ability to be accomplish great things. What we do with our time is so precious. We can waste the day or we can take action. In the Ravs Kol Dodi Dofek or Fate and Destiny he writes something that has inspired me so much: Mans task in the world, according to Judaism, is to transform fate into destiny; a passive existence into an active existence; an existence of compulsion, perplexity, and muteness into an existence replete with a powerful will, with resourcefulness, daring, and imagination. Life is about doing; always looking out for a chance to do something productive and make a difference in the world.

As this year comes to an end, I cant help but reflect on the ways I have grown and how I now see the world in a whole new light. This year has been about finding the meaning in life. But Ive learned that there is no meaning to life unless we turn our lives into a life of meaning. We each have the power to make choices and with each decision elevate ourselves to become closer to Hashem. Each one of us is on a search, trying to discover the things that bring us true happiness, surrounding ourselves along the way with people who help us see the goodness in the world. And on our journey through life we encounter struggles, times when its so hard to find the meaning, but we must never stop trying. We have to look for every opportunity to do something good and when these chances come our way we have to grab them. But at the same time weve seen from the that it is okay to mess up, as long as we are able to recognize our mistakes and try harder the next time. Dont ever lose hope. In Viktor Frankls Mans Search for Meaning he writes: Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it is he who is askedeach man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.

May we all have the power to infuse our lives with meaning and seize every opportunity to make this world a better place!

Shabbat Shalom!

J!!! J


Categorized under: 1: Parshat Shavua > Naso