GOOD MORNING! We live in a time when stress and anxiety are the norm. Frustrations, worries, pressures, disappointments and regrets easily preoccupy one's thoughts. Serenity is the antidote.
Imagine how wonderful it would be if you could learn to be consistently serene. Serenity is emotional freedom and a general sense of well-being. Your brain functions at its optimal level and you think at your best. Serenity is conducive for health and for recovery. With serenity, you will be able to elevate yourself spiritually.
Now we have the benefit of the wisdom and guidance of Rabbi Zelig Pliskin in his new book entitled ... you guessed it ... Serenity! It is the fifth book in his successful Artscroll series following Happiness, Kindness, Courage, and Patience. It is an easy-to-read guide for living a better life (available from your local Jewish book store or by calling toll-free 877- 758-3242).
The formulas, insights, and stories in this book will help the reader become calmer and more serene. Let them help you. Why experience stress and anxiety when you can benefit greatly from serenity? Be kind to yourself, have the courage to acknowledge that you would gain from more serenity and the patience to read and reread this book. You will be happy you did! Here is an excerpt:
This moment is the only moment that exists for you right now. When you start reading this present sentence, the last sentence you read was in the past and now you are presently reading this sentence.
The next breath that you take, or that you are taking this second, is the only breath that exists for you in reality. Your last breath happened in the past, and your next breath didn't happen yet.
When you speak to someone, each sentence you say is the only sentence that exists in the present. Your last sentence happened in the past, and your next sentence will happen in the future.
The thought you are thinking in a given moment is the only thought that exists for you. Your last thought existed in the past and your next thought will be in the future. Since you are reading this, you can't read these words and think other thoughts in the exact same second. You can switch back and forth quickly, but you can only do one at a time, either you read or you think.
Since you exist in only one moment at a time, to be serene you only need to be serene during that moment. You create serenity when you think serene thoughts and mentally picture serene scenes. You create serenity when you breathe slowly and deeply and relax your muscles. You create serenity when you vividly remember scenes of being serene. If you can access a serene state right now, it means that you have the ability to do so this very moment. (If you can't yet do this, read the entire book and then reread this section.) And in any future moment that moment is the only moment that actually exists for you right then. So, regardless of how you have been at any and all moments before and how you will be at any given moment later on, you only need to be serene this moment. Repeat these last four words: Be Serene This Moment.
Be serene this moment. Some moments will be more conducive for serenity and some moments will be more difficult. Whenever you repeat these words, your brain will be focused on serenity. The more frequently you repeat, "Be serene this moment," the more likely it is that this message will last for you even when you are not repeating these words.
The skill you need to master to be consistently serene is the ability to access serenity at will in present moments. The rest of the book is commentary.
Portion of the Week
We left off last week with Joseph's pronouncement that he was keeping Benjamin as a slave for stealing his wine cup. Judah steps forward to challenge the decision and offers himself as a slave instead of Benjamin. Joseph is overcome with emotion, clears the room of all Egyptians and then reveals his identity to his unsuspecting brothers.
The brothers are shocked! They suspect Joseph's intentions, but accept his offer to bring the extended family to Egypt. Jacob is initially numb and disbelieving of the news, but becomes very excited to see his son.
During the famine, Joseph buys up all of the property and people in Egypt for Pharaoh with the grain stored during the seven good years. The Torah recounts the 70 souls of the Jewish people which went down to Egypt. Jacob reunites with Joseph, meets Pharaoh and settles with the family in the Goshen district.
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states, "And Joseph said to his brothers, I am Joseph" (Genesis 45:3) when he reveals his true identity to his brothers.
The Chofetz Chaim comments that from the time the brothers first came to Egypt to get food -- when Joseph spoke with them roughly and accused them of being spies -- they were puzzled about what exactly was happening and why it was happening. In both encounters with Joseph they had many questions about their experiences. As soon as they heard the words, "I am Joseph" all their questions were answered. The difficulties they had in understanding the underlying meaning of the events -- why Joseph accused them of being spies, yet treated them well, accused them of lying and stealing, but gave them a banquet, insisted on bringing the younger brother to Egypt, etc. -- were now completely clarified.
Similarly, says the Chofetz Chaim, when the entire world will hear the words "I am the Almighty" at the final redemption of the Jewish people, all the questions and difficulties that people had about the history of the world with all of its suffering will be answered. The entire matter will be clarified and understood. Everyone will see how the hand of the Almighty caused everything for our benefit.
When one realizes that the Almighty has a plan and a purpose for all the events that occur, it gives meaning to the hardships and suffering. When a person sees meaning in suffering, it becomes easier to cope. One need not wait until the final redemption to be aware that the Almighty has a purpose behind each event. Even if you do not know the exact meaning of a particular event, the knowledge that there is an ultimate meaning will enable you to view the situation in a positive, albeit painful, manner.
CANDLE LIGHTING - December 21:
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Guatemala 5:20 Hong Kong 5:26 Honolulu 5:36
J'Burg 6:41 London 3:35 Los Angeles 4:30
Melbourne 8:24 Miami 5:17 Moscow 3:40
New York 4:14 Singapore 6:46
With Special Thanks to