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
Develop even more enthusiasm for doing good deeds and spiritual growth – than you have for financial gain and physical pleasures.
For a series of probing questions on this topic, see Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s “Gateway to Self Knowledge,” p.220
When people go to workshops and seminars that will help them develop and grow, they are willing to try out all types of exercises and experiments. They consider it fun and enjoyable to do things that they have not done before and might even have experienced as distressful. But since it is being defined as part of the growth experience, they reframe it in a positive manner. In fact, the more difficult something is, the more you gain by trying it out. When you view your entire life as a growth seminar and all that happens as just exercises and experiments, each experience teaches you something. You learn something from each reaction. You learn how to prepare yourself for similar things that might occur in the future. The difficult becomes fun. Even what is not that enjoyable is viewed in a positive light for it enriches you and adds depth.
-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s “Happiness”,p.117
Rabbi Zelig Pliskin – Found at the website promoting the book “The Light From Zion.”
Everyone wants a happy marriage. The best way to ensure a happy marriage is to master the ability to experience joy in your life with each moment of growth. And each moment is an opportunity to grow. There are many forms of growth in marriage. Growth can mean you are happy with your marriage and constantly grateful to G-d. Growth can mean that you have a partnership that is eternal for both of you. Growth can mean that you are increasing your appreciation for doing acts of kindness. Growth can mean that you are improving in your character traits. Growth can mean that you act in an elevated manner even though things are difficult. Growth can mean that you develop resources to turn around a difficult situation. Growth can mean that you transcend your natural tendencies in order to be compassionate and forgiving.
Growth can mean that you make sacrifices for the benefit of your spouse and children. Growth can mean that you sustain a loving and respecting manner – even though this may not be reciprocated. Growth can even mean that you have the courage to end an abusive situation. Growth always means that you act according to G-d’s will.
Growth always means that the Torah is your guide for which patterns of speech and action to increase… and which to eliminate from your repertoire.
-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s book entitled “Marriage” – ArtScroll Publications, 1998, Chapter One, pp. 61-2
A person who tries to force himself to change his character in an extremely short time is apt to become depressed and will not be successful. Set reasonable goals for yourself. Work on your faults little by little.
If you make impossible demands on yourself, you will feel frustrated and miserable.
-from Cheshbon Hanefesh #17; Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s Gateway to Happiness, p.177