Friday, March 28, 2014

How Do I Know What My Mission Is?

Is it just me or do you also save the best food on your plate for last? I know it's not just me. But I think I figured out the original source for this behavior. 

The possuk says, אשה כי תזריע וילדה זכר, A woman conceives and gives birth to a boy.  The significance of this is to teach us the laws of purity and impurity, and that after she gives birth she will be impure for seven days. 

Reish Lakish takes this possuk and refers us back to the time of creation, when a human being was initially created. If you go through the story of that era, you will notice that only after every creation was brought to life was the human created. And since all the creations are here to serve the human, it seems odd that they appear before him. 
Before we get to the point, realize that man was created chronologically last. Because God saved the best for last. 
And I'm not kidding. 
Because although we were created last, we are first in importance. 
The human is the epitome of the world. The crown of creation. 

So why are we last? 

Reish Lakish explains the importance of this order. He says that if a person uses his full potential in life, then he earns his place as first in importance, but if not, then even a lowly worm precedes him. 

Um. Say what? 
Seriously? A worm can come out ahead of me? No matter what I do with my life, aren't I way above an insignificant little worm?

Actually, no. The greater the creation, the greater its potential. A lowly earthworm was created to slither around on its tummy and eat dirt. Just by existing it fulfills its potential. Obviously the potential that I possess is so much greater, and therefore so much harder to reach. So, if it is not reached, then the worm comes out ahead simply because he has fulfilled his mission and I didn't. 
Pretty embarrassing. 

So we need to understand how to reach those heights that we were made to reach. 
There are some people who work just to eat and then eat just to have energy to work. They work to make a living and then live just to work for that living. 
And that's it. That's their entire purpose of existence. 

Then there are those who realize that they have an important tool that's needed in order to make the world a better place when they leave it than when they entered it. And they wanna know how to do that. 

I get asked this question at least every week. "How do I know what my mission is? How do I know if I'm fulfilling my potential?"
And this is what I tell them. 
We have two missions in life. The first is תיכון עולמי and the second is תיכון עצמי. We need to perfect the world, and perfect ourselves. And we need to do both at the same time. 
Look inside yourself and become familiar with everything you see there. Learn about your strengths and weaknesses. What makes me tick? What makes me laugh? What makes me feel frustrated? Satisfied? Warm and fuzzy? 
Am I a people person? Am I an organizer? 
Once we know what our talents are and which things speak to us, we look around at our families, communities, and even at the world, and see what we can contribute to them based on their needs and on our abilities. 
Then, while focusing on the positive and starting to make a real difference in the world, we need to return inside ourselves and perfect our weaknesses as well.  

Focusing solely on our shortcomings causes frustration and depression. 
Focusing solely on our strengths encourages arrogance and complacency. 
It needs to be a joint effort. 

How long does it take to get there? As long as you're still in this world, there's more to do. 
אשר ברא אלוקים לעשת
Hashem created this world to DO. To accomplish. To fix. To create. 
Wanna take a rest? When you get to the next world. There you can rest. In peace. 

Have a beautiful shabbos!