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Nisan 6

Man is judged each day (Rosh Hashanah16a).

A disciple of the Baal Shem Tov remarked to him that the above statement appears to contradict another Talmudic statement, which states that a person is judged on Rosh Hashanah for the entire year.

The Baal Shem Tov noticed a water carrier passing by. "How are things with you, Chaikel?" he asked. "What can I tell you?" Chaikel answered. "In my old age, I still have to earn my meager bread with backbreaking work."

The Baal Shem Tov told his disciple to remember Chaikel's words.

Several days later, the water carrier again passed by. Again, the Baal Shem Tov inquired as to how things were with him. "Thank God," Chaikel said, "if at my age I can still provide for myself by shlepping water up the hill, I have no cause to complain."

The Baal Shem Tov then told his disciple: "Both Talmudic statements are true. On Rosh Hashanah, it was decreed that Chaikel will be a water carrier this year, but how Chaikel reacts to this decree can vary from day to day."

While our particular station in life may be the same, we react to it differently from day to day. We thus have the option to react more favorably and less favorably to the very same conditions.

Today I shall...

try to realize that some things that irritate me today did not bother me at other times, and I have the option not to be irritated today.

With stories and insights, Rabbi Twerski's new book Twerski on Machzor makes Rosh Hashanah prayers more meaningful. Click here to order...

May 21, 2009

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