Thinking About the Sermon - Parshat Vayechi
Last week, in synagogue, I talked about how each of Jacob’s sons received a special blessing. This is based on the philosophy that Judaism does not contain one single model of how to be a good person. For sure, we are all commanded to keep the mitzvot but each of us has a particular character and life circumstance which allows us to imprint our own individual seal on our world. I found these questions (some of them posed by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin) to be very helpful in clarifying my personal path:
Do I have an ability to listen to people, console them, and help them come to a right decision at an important an perplexing moment in their lives?
Do I enjoy making connections between people, helping those looking for work or a partner to find what they need?
Am I hospitable, the kind of person who enjoys feeding and caring for others, particularly on Shabbat and holidays?
Do I have the ability to inspire other people too perform acts of kindness?
Am I a person of means, who cannot only donate to good causes, but influence others to do so?
Can I teach Torah and the fundamental values of Judaism, to people who would like to learn about them?
What is happening in my life right now that indicates a personal challenge or opportunity?
How does Hashem expect me to respond to this challenge or opportunity?
Are there any messages that I feel Hashem is sending me as to what I should be doing with my life?