Rabbi Mordechai Becher, originally from Australia, is a Senior Lecturer for the Gateways Organization. He was a Senior Lecturer at Ohr Somayach, Neve Yerushalayim and Darchei Binah in Jerusalem for 15 years, was a chaplain in the Israel Defence Forces and taught in a number of Rabbinic training programs. Rabbi Becher is the co-author of After the Return, and has answered thousands of questions on the Ask-the-Rabbi website. His latest book, Gateway to Judaism, was recently published by Shaar Press. Rabbi Becher received his ordination from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. He has lectured for the UJA, Jewish Federations, the Zionist Organization of America, Hillel and is on the speakers bureau of the Israeli Consulate in New York. He has taught in Canada, the United States, England, Israel, South Africa, Australia and Russia. He resides with his wife and 6 children in Passaic, NJ.
I've been reaching a lot of articles on Aish.com and keep coming across concepts like goals, expectations, potential, effort and destiny. How do these ideas relate to each other, and how does each pertain to a Jew's life? I'm confused!
The Aish Rabbi Replies:
An excellent question, and I can understand your confusion.
Goals: What you want to accomplish.
Expectations: What you think you are capable of accomplishing.
Goals should be congruent with expectations in order to prevent frustration. In other words, goals have to be realistic. This includes not just what we know about ourselves but what we know about other people as well -- since they are often involved in the fulfillment of our own potential.
Potential: What you can become. Each person has to strive to be aware of his own potential and set his goals accordingly.
Effort is what we put forth to fulfill our goals. Prayer is one part of effort.
Destiny: What will happen to you. This is determined either as a result of the choices you make with your free will, or that which has been ordained in Heaven as your "lot." We are obligated to try to improve our lot whenever possible. Yet we may find that certain things are "ordained." Our job as that point is to accept what God has ordained for us. And that is perhaps the greatest challenge of all.
The best way to assess all these factors is to engage in a daily “Cheshbon” - a spiritual accounting. Just as any businessperson would take care to know where he is gaining and where is losing ground, so too we should treat our lives with the same degree of concern.
Goals & Destiny:
Today in Jewish History
Yahrtzeit of Rabbi Yaakov Ben Asher (1268-1340), author of the seminal book of Jewish law, The Tur. This was a groundbreaking contribution to Jewish scholarship in that it organized all practical Jewish law into four major sections, subdivided into hundreds of chapter headings. This system served as the foundation for all later rabbinic works, including Rabbi Yosef Karo's Shulchan Aruch, the standard Code of Jewish Law. Rabbi Yaakov lived in Spain and was the son of the famous talmudic commentator, the Rosh. He lived in abject poverty most of his life. Rabbi Yaakov also wrote a commentary on the Five Books of Moses, entitled Ba'al HaTurim, which focuses on hidden messages in the Torah -- gematria (numerology), acrostics and word patterns.
Today's Daily Lift
Enjoy Your Blessings
The moment a poor person gains great wealth, he feels tremendous joy and is sincerely grateful to the Almighty. After a while, he usually forgets the initial joy and no longer takes pleasure in what he has. His focus shifts to trying to obtain more wealth. Regardless of what he has now, it is not considered sufficient.
Contrast this with the person who is aware that every single moment he and his wealth are entirely dependent on the will of the Creator. He constantly feels the original joy anew -- because this moment is not dependent on the previous one.
Today in Growing Each Day
Be courageous as a leopard, light as an eagle, swift as a deer, and strong as a lion to do the will of your Heavenly Father (Ethics of the Fathers 5:23).
Numerous traits comprise the character of a human being. We tend to consider some traits as commendable and others as undesirable.
Traits per se are neither good nor bad. They acquire a value according to the way they are applied. Hate is generally assumed to be a very loathsome trait, but when one despises evil and injustice and seeks to eradicate them, it becomes a constructive and admirable trait. Love, on the other hand, is generally looked upon as a very positive trait. Yet, when misapplied, love can transgress the boundaries of decency and result in grossly immoral behavior.
Rather than seek to eradicate an undesirable trait, we might consciously redirect it so that it serves a useful function. While redirection can happen with some drives at an unconscious level (which constitutes the psychological defense mechanism of sublimation), we have no control over what happens in the unconscious. Preferably, we should avoid dismissing a trait which is generally considered unacceptable and consciously redirect it into a positive channel. It is obviously to our advantage to redirect energy, rather to have to repress it, since maintaining that repression requires expenditure of energy.
Today I shall...
try to direct all my traits in a way that will serve a constructive purpose.
With stories and insights,
Rabbi Twerski's new book Twerski on Machzor makes Rosh Hashanah prayers more meaningful. Click here to order...