Shevat 22
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Shevat 22

You shall remove the covering of your hearts and no longer be stiff necked (Deuteronomy 10:16).

The Rabbi of Kotzk secluded himself for a long period of time, and none of his many followers could visit him. Several sent in a petition pleading to the rabbi to open his door to them so that they might have an audience with him.

"They want me to open my doors to them?" demanded the rabbi. "Have they opened their hearts so that they will accept what I have to tell them?"

Sometimes we clamor for leadership and insist that if only we had the proper teaching and guidance, we would behave much differently. Let us be honest with ourselves. Are we ready to accept authentic guidance, or are we so set in our own ways that we will only hear that which pleases us?

Spiritual growth does not come easily. In many ways the desires of the body and those of the spirit are mutually antagonistic, and in order to achieve greater spirituality, we may have to divest ourselves of things that offer more immediate gratification. This deprivation may cause considerable resistance; we may even find arguments to refute the author and teachings of our spiritual leaders. Before finding fault with our leadership, we must do soul-searching to see if we are truly open to change.

Today I shall...

examine my willingness to deprive myself of some things that have been pleasurable if they stand in the way of spiritual growth.

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

Published: May 21, 2009

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