Try to become as great as you can. Some people are afraid to accomplish because they might make mistakes — and those mistakes will be more serious than if they remained simple!
This is not valid reasoning. Each person is obligated to develop himself to the best of his ability. The smallest person has potential for greatness if he utilizes all that is within him.
Sources: Rabbi Yosef Leib Bloch – Shiurai Daas, vol.3, p.130; Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s Gateway to Happiness, p.131
Rabbi Yechezkel Levenstein wrote:
“The way to educate youngsters is to elevate them by pointing out the greatness they can achieve by utilizing their potential.”
Sources: Ohr Yechezkel – Michtavim, p.219; Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s Gateway to Happiness, p.133
It can take a long time until something is invented. But once one person has already broken through the creative barrier, others can easily follow suit and produce the same results. For example, it took many years until someone invented the first railroad train. But after one person invented it, many others built similar railroad trains. It doesn’t take a genius to model the work of a genius!
The same principle applies to spiritual growth. There were people in previous generations who reached great heights. They were innovators in the field of Jewish metaphysics. Since we now have them as models, the knowledge of how to reach spiritual greatness is available to all of us.
Today, think of five great people you have met or read about. What qualities do you most respect in each one? As you reflect on these qualities, consider how you would apply these same attributes to yourself.
-Sources: see Rabbi Yeruchem Levovitz – Daas Chochmah Umussar, vol. 2, p.40
Courage is the quality of great people. More accurately it is a quality that creates greatness. It is the quality of Abraham who recognized the Creator and was willing to give his life for this awareness.
It is the quality of Moses who approached Pharaoh and told him, “Let my people go.” It is the quality of Mordechai who refused to bow to the wicked Haman; and of Esther who approached King Achashverosh on behalf of her people even though she was risking her life.
Courage is the quality of people throughout the ages who were willing to sacrifice everything to live a Torah life. It is the quality that will elevate and empower you throughout your life.
-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s book, “Courage”
A person is lazy because he wants serenity and quiet. Comfort-seeking is the root of laziness. But realize that although the lazy way might at first appear to give comfort, in the long run, a person who is lazy will lose greatness. Why? His life will be one of mediocrity!
Today, think about what have you been pushing off because of laziness. Then commit to begin one action to counteract this tendency.
Sources: see Vilna Gaon – Proverbs 15:19; Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s – “Consulting the Wise”
Rabbi Shlomo of Karlin used to say:
“The worst fault a person can have is to forget his intrinsic greatness as a human being.”
Sources: Dor Daiah, vol. 1, p.172; Rabbi Zelig “Pliskin’s Gateway to Happiness,” p.131
A person is obligated to say:
“The world was created for me” (Talmud – Sanhedrin 37a), and
“When will my deeds reach the level of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?”
The Torah attitude is that we are obligated to be aware of our greatness. Feel proud that you are created in the image of the Almighty. Pride in the elevation of your soul is not only proper, but is actually an obligation to recognize your virtues and to live with this awareness.
-Sources: Toras Avraham, p.49; Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s Gateway to Happiness, p.119