Aim for the best and prepare for the best

One of my bosses used to say to me: ‘Aim for the best but prepare for the worst.’  I thought it was brilliant advice and made it my mantra for many years. But now I’m trying to work to a different mantra: ‘Aim for the best and prepare for the best.’ In other words, start visualizing and imagining how some idea, dream, aspiration will pan out and become real, even if if it is unlikely or impossible. And by putting Hashem in the equation, maybe, just maybe, this crazy dream may come true. This is what Sara Yosef, daughter-in-law of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef says on the subject:

If we focus on logical calculations that seem to prove that a certain plan or idea has no chance of succeding, this limits our ambitions. Trying to be ‘realistic’ – because ‘so many others have tried and failed’ or ‘past experience shows we were right in our assumption, and we surely will not be able to realize our aspirations’- and all these defeatist attitudes restrict a person’s ability to focus on what he or she really wants to achieve.

Emunah (faith that we are capable of achieving all our desires) is the opposite of all these calculations. Emunah begins at the point where calculating and planning end.

Hakadosh Baruch Hu is all-powerful; there is no problem or hindrance that can prevent Him from providing us with our needs in accordance with the extent of our desires and our emunah in Him. We need only believe in Hashem and desire his goodness.

It’s all in Your Mind (Sara Yosef)


Am I a body with a soul or a soul with a body?

Some people identify more with their body but know they have a soul. Other people identify more with their soul but realize they have a body.

In everyone’s life many dilemmas will arise: “Should I do this or that?” “Should I say something or not?” “What are my highest priorities and what are much lower priorities?” “How should I spend my time right now?” “Should I do this act of kindness for someone who needs it, or should I do what I was planing to do to have a good time?” Someone who sees himself as a soul with a body will resolve these dilemmas in a much more elevated way.

From ‘Building your self-image and the self-image of others (Rabbi Pliskin)’

One’s self-concept greatly determines what one can actually do.

Rabbi Aharon of Karlin said, “If a person does not consider himself an ‘important person’, he will not free himself from his negative habits.”

What people believe about themselves and their abilities serves as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Believing oneself to be inferior, untalented, unimportant, or incapable influences one’s actual abilities. One’s self-concept greatly determines what one can actually do. If you view yourself as unable to do things, you will be unable to do them. On the other hand, if you see yourself as talented, capable and important, your self-concept will open up powers and talents that would have remained dormant had you thought of yourself in in lesser terms.

Most people use a low percentage of their potential, and could accomplish much more than they realize. By deciding you are capable of accomplishing more, you will accomplish more.

From ‘Building your self-image and the self-image of others (Rabbi Pliskin)’

Something for Shabbas: Sewing seeds of greatness in children

“And Moshe said to his father-in-law, the people come to me to seek the Almighty” (Shmot 18:15)

The Midrash says that Moshe demanded that the people come to him and therefore Moshe had to walk to the burning bush to come closer to the Almighty. The prophet Shmuel, on the other hand, went to the people, and he therefore he merited that the Almighty come to him.

Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz always used to comment that this is meant to teach us an important lesson in our lives. One’s closeness to the Almighty is dependent on one’s love for other people. Shmuels’s going to the people showed that he had great love and concern for them and therefore the Almighty rewarded him by coming to him. Where did Shmuel get this great love for other people? The Midrash says the garment his mother made for him was with him the entire life. This garment, was made with the profound love his mother had for him. This love became such a part of Shmuel that it was manifested in his entire way of dealing with other people.

This is a practical lesson for parents, especially for mothers. The love a mother shows for her infants and young children by getting up in the middle of the night to take care of them implants in them a deep feeling of being loved. When such a child grows older he will have love for others. Any small thing a parent does with love for his children will pay off great dividends. The greater the child becomes the more many people will benefit from that love.

Taken from ‘Growth through Torah’ Rabbi Zelig Pliskin.