Friday, December 16, 2011

Pavarotti & Scenes of Italy and Maintaining your sanity

How do you maintain your sanity in a world that seems to be falling apart?

We look to the bible for clues for ourselves to run our lives.  No one had more reason to lose his mind, then in the biblical story of Joseph when he was forced to sit in jail for refusing to commit adultery.

After 11 years of being in prison, G-d had him meet two government officials who were temporally in jail and had been given bad dreams.

Joseph accurately interpreted their dreams. Two years later, the chief butler recommended Joseph to Pharaoh when he too had some disconcerting dreams. Joseph successfully interpreted Pharaoh's dreams; the rest is history. He became Pharaoh's viceroy, and saved Egypt and his entire family from starvation during the famine.

But let's go back to Joseph's actions, which spawned the whole sequence of events that followed: He saw the depressed government officials and said to them, "Why do your faces look so down today?"

If Joseph would have felt helpless and irate—the way almost anyone in his position would have felt—he would have been incapable of responding to anyone's pain but his own. Angry people don't notice other people who are hurting. And why would Joseph have reached out to employees of a government that had wrongfully imprisoned him?

But Joseph wasn't angry—not at the government, not at Potiphar's wife (his accuser who put him jail), and not at his brothers (who almost killed him). And as such he retained his serenity even in jail.

And so Joseph was in tune with another person's pain, and was therefore capable of doing that one small act of goodness and kindness. Little did he know that it would change the world.

The conviction that G-d is right here, directing all that happens, is like a spiritual chiropractic adjustment—shifting our focus from frustration to curiosity. The instinctive response—"This is wrong; it shouldn't have happened to me!!"—becomes: "This is an opportunity—why else would it happen to me?"

Our job is to look for opportunities to make a difference. And sometimes a small window of opportunity brings in a whole new world of fresh air.

Love Yehuda

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