web analytics
May 3, 2015 / 14 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

‘Personally Unique’

Staum-083112

As we go through life we must constantly remind ourselves of the veracity of this concept. We are created with the gifts and tools we need, and therefore it is foolish to compare ourselves to others.

It is well-known that Mazal Tov is an expression of congratulations among Ashkenazic Jews. At a wedding, bar mitzvah, bris milah, and even when one purchases a new home or is honored at a dinner, we wish the celebrators Mazal Tov.

The origin of the expression is unclear[3]. Moreover, the meaning of the expression is perplexing. Mazal is commonly defined as luck, thus mazal tov means good luck. It would seem that luck has nothing to do with congratulations. Why then, do we wish people mazal tov at every joyous event?

Rav Eliyahu Dessler zt’l[4] explained that defining mazal as luck is a misnomer. Rather, mazal refers to a person’s unique purpose in this world. Because a person’s economic status, or health, is a matter of mazal. Mazal then is a matter of fulfilling one’s tafkid, his unique purpose in the world. Wealth, poverty and illness are all examples of tools that a person must utilize to fulfill one’s tafkid.

Therefore, whenever a person is blessed with something new we wish him mazal tov. Essentially, we are blessing the person that he utilizes the new commodity – an honor, a new home, or reaching a milestone – to further the fulfillment of his tafkid. At a wedding too, we bless the newlyweds that each should utilize their newfound union to further their personal and joint growth in fulfilling their destinies in life.

The month of Elul is devoted to preparing for the imminent Days of Judgment. The Shelah HaKadosh writes the well known mnemonic that Elul alludes to the verse[5], “Ani ldodi vdodi li- I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me.”

Our first task during Elul is to appreciate the first word of the verse, “ani – I.” One must understand his own greatness and then realize that G-d created him in that manner because that is what he needs for optimal growth.

It is only with this cognizance that one can commence the process of repentance. If one does not realize his own value and how much G-d loves him, he will hardly want – or feel worthy – to build a connection with G-d.

Every person has to do his/her best with the cards he/she has been dealt with. It helps to remember that we were the ones to deal the cards we have been dealt, the life we have been endowed with, before we descended into this world. G-d grants us what we felt we need to help serve Him in the optimal manner possible throughout our lives.

[1] Parshas Vayishlach, on the pasuk “shalchayni ki ala hashachar” in a footonote, based on a quote from the gemara Rosh Hashanan (11a)

[2] Women have certain levels of innate holiness that men do not possess. That is part of the reason why they recite the beautifully worded blessing that G-d “has created me according to His Will”. Men require greater levels of growth before they can reach a level of “according to His Will”. But that is a lengthy discourse that cannot be conveyed in a footnote.

[3] It does not appear in the gemara, rishonim, or early acharonim.

[4] Michtav MaEliyahu chelek 4, p.98, in the footnote

[5] Shir Hashirim 6:3

About the Author: Rabbi Dani Staum, LMSW is the Rabbi of Kehillat New Hempstead, as well as Guidance Counselor and fifth grade Rebbe in ASHAR, and Principal at Mesivta Ohr Naftoli of New Windsor. He can be reached at stamtorah@gmail.com. Visit him on the web at www.stamtorah.info.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “‘Personally Unique’”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
A deal is a deal is not a deal.
State Dept.: Iran ‘Hoodwinked Countries but This Time It’s Different
Latest Judaism Stories
Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

It’s an interesting idea, that love is illustrated by understanding another’s needs.

Niehaus-050115

“Keeping” Shabbos means to guard it and make sure to keep every aspect and detail of it.

Winiarz-Shaya-logo

Pesach is a time when we can grow in this perspective. But merely spending a week working on something will not leave any lasting impression on us.

Business-Halacha-NEW

“There is a diamond necklace that I wear on special occasions,” Mrs. Miller told her husband. “It was recently appraised at $6,000. If need be, we can give that as collateral.”

Morah for a parent is connected to shemiras Shabbos because the Shechina shines on, and through, the Sabbath.

“You shall not hate your brother in your heart; you shall reprove your fellow and do not bear a sin because of him.” – Vayikra 19:17   When the Torah mentions the obligation to rebuke a fellow Jew, it ends with the words “and do not carry a sin because of him.” The Targum translates […]

The Bais Halevi answers that we must properly define what is considered to be “in the middle of a mitzvah.”

They had realized they would be far from civilization and kosher food and had packed plenty of fresh and canned food as well as making sure there was a microwave in their room which they knew how to kasher.

He was deeply saddened by the thought of her going to her final resting place alone and that it appeared as if she knew no one and had no family who cared about her.

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

The Debt Lives On
‘The Orphans’ Mitzvah To Repay Their Father’s Debts’
(Ketubot 91b)

Rabbi Fohrman asks what’s the connection between animal sacrifices and leaving crops for the poor?

Putting parents before oneself is a step toward putting the more abstract concept of God before self

In her diary, Anne Frank wrote words that provided hope for a humanity faced with suffering.

The Arizal taught this same approach, making the point that the Torah would never mention wicked people and their sins if there was not great depth involved from which we are to learn from.

More Articles from Rabbi Dani Staum
Staum-042415

Humility is not achieved when all is well and life is peachy but rather when times are trying and challenging.

Staum-013015

People often think that all they are missing is “just a little more” and then they can be truly happy.

To many of our brethren Chanukah has lost its meaning.

A person who truly feels that everything is a blessing from G-d will count his blessings and realize just how much he has.

Avraham became a great man during the 175 years of his life, while his predecessors became increasingly wicked, despite staggering knowledge, during their lifetimes of hundreds of years.

Often in life we become stuck – stuck in the morass of our habits and the rote of our comfort level.

The innkeeper smiled and replied, “Why do you think we are dancing? We are dancing because G-d destroyed the Bais HaMikdash!”

After listening to the driver’s incredible story, Rabbi Levenstein asked him, “What about you? After seeing such a miracle why didn’t you became Torah observant?”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/personally-unique/2012/08/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: