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Kislev 1

I am but dust and ashes (Genesis 18:27).Everyone must say, "The world was created for my sake" (Sanhedrin 37a).

Rabbi Bunim of Pshis'cha said that everyone should have two pockets; one to contain, "I am but dust and ashes," and the other to contain, "The world was created for my sake." At certain times, we must reach into one pocket; at other times, into the other. The secret of correct living comes from knowing when to reach into which.

Humility is the finest of all virtues and is the source of all admirable character traits. Yet, if a person considers himself to be utterly insignificant, he may not care about his actions. He may think, "What is so important about what I do? It makes no difference, so long as I do not harm anyone." Such feelings of insignificance can cause immoral behavior.

When a person does not feel that his actions are significant, he either allows impulses to dominate his behavior or slouches into inactivity. At such a time, he must reach into the pocket of personal grandeur and read: "I am specially created by God. He has a mission for me, that only I can achieve. Since this is a Divine mission, the entire universe was created solely to enable me to accomplish this particular assignment."

When presidents and premiers delegate missions to their officials, those officials feel a profound sense of responsibility to carry out the mission in the best possible manner. How much more so when we are commissioned by God!

Today I shall...

keep in mind both the humbleness and the grandeur of the human being.

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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Visitor Comments: 1

(1) mysteries, November 15, 2012 7:08 PM

Ask the Rabbi. A tattto is used as art but also as a tribal design to distinguish one from another. Some extreme groups and criminal gangs use tattoos as well. Markings are nice on the body but wholsale art display is debatable. It could be a show for others and a feeling of lacking inside that makes one do a tattoo or an act of conforming with others. An issue with tattoos is when somebody changes their mind and dose not want a particular one anymore. Tattoos should be chosen with care and insight.

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