Sunday, February 05, 2012

The Frustrated Donkey's Solution

When a Jew arises in the morning to face the new day, the Code of Jewish Law exhorts us how best to challenge any lethargies that might rob us from our industrious ambitions: "Wake up - strong like a lion!".

But why, nevertheless, do we find ourselves frustrated with repeated failures to match our expectations? Why can we not have the power of the lion run through our veins from the very start of the day, so that we achieve what we really want to accomplish? Some of us want to wake up early, learn Torah, pray with devotion, exercise, make good resolutions, etc. but continually fail to follow through. Why?

I heard Rabbi Chitrik of Tsfat, in the name of Rabbi Yoel Kahan, answer this question this way: "If you go to bed as a donkey, don't expect to wake up as a lion; To wake up as a lion, you have to go to bed as a lion."

In other words, the morning begins with a good preparation for the morrow's awakening by doing what's right before we go to bed. If we stand strong with our nightly commitments to do what's right, e.g., saying Kriyat Shema, learning, spending time with the kids, and going to bed early - that is the only way to assure we'll get a mighty start the next morning.

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