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Friday, August 30, 2013

Menuchat HaNefesh - Attaining Tranquility/Restful Spirit

Elul 25


“Rise above events that are inconsequential — both bad and good — for they are not worth
disturbing the tranquility of your spirit.” (Rabbi Menachem Mendel Lefin of Satanov, Cheshbon ha-Nefesh).

Anger, frustration, irritation, annoyance, hostility…..Life provides so many reasons to become off-balance.  Rabbi Menachem Mendel’s words encourage us to strive not to let those things that matter less make such a difference to us.  In every moment, we might ask ourselves “Does this matter?” “Is this important?” “Will the outcome really make a difference?”

When the answer is “yes,” then this event is of consequence and we are well-served to allow this challenge to disturb our complacency. Justice demands that we act to right the wrong, Compassion calls us to care for the one in pain, the Still, Small Voice calls us to heal what is broken. Responding will bring about the Menuchat HaNefesh, the restful spirit we each seek within ourselves.

And when the answer is “no,” we face a moment of profound choice.  Confronting matters that are inconsequential may well disturb the Menuchat HaNefesh, the peacefulness of our spirits and leave us the broken ones in need of justice, compassion and tikkun.

Each week, Shabbat arrives with a renewed opportunity to rededicate ourselves to this spirit of tranquility.  As the New Year approaches, may we find the Menuchat HaNefesh we seek and may our spirits be peaceful.  Shabbat Shalom.  

Rabbi Jim Bennett

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