Develop yourself to the best of your ability
רַבִּי יוֹסֵי אוֹמֵר, … וְהַתְקֵן עַצְמְךָ לִלְמֹד תּוֹרָה, שֶׁאֵינָהּ יְרֻשָּׁה לָךְ. וְכָל מַעֲשֶׂיךָ יִהְיוּ לְשֵׁם שָׁמָיִם
Rabbi Yose said:.. Make yourself fit to study Torah for it will not be yours by inheritance; And let all your actions be for [the sake of] the name of heaven.
Pirkei Avot 2:12
בְּכׇל־דְּרָכֶ֥יךָ דָעֵ֑הוּ וְ֝ה֗וּא יְיַשֵּׁ֥ר אֹֽרְחֹתֶֽיךָ׃
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths smooth.
This is a great principle…. In all the deeds that a man does, even in ordinary, physical, material things, it is necessary that they be done as a service and worship to G-d. Without any other reason and without any other motive, but for the glory of G-d.
When I write blogs, I prefer not to write too much personal stuff, but sometimes a person can make an exception.
It is wonderful to study Torah, to research Jewish wisdom, to write blogs about it, to maintain this website, to make youtubes , translate Englisch Noahide books to Dutch, to write blogs, have contact with peopel (all my duties that I want to do for G-d)… in short, it is wonderful to spend my time in this way. Because is there anything more beautiful than to read, to learn, to write? My first reaction is no, there is nothing better. Until I saw the following mussar question today.
When the time comes for someone to write your obituary, what will be said about whom you served?
From my perspective, I serve G-d, in the best way I can. But would others see it the same way. What would my children write? With a shock it occurred to me that they would write: mum was behind her books and computer.
Serving G-d is not just Torah study and reading, learning, writing, translating, etc. It is also in the ordinary things. Working in the garden, having your household in order, taking time to listen to your family’s stories. In the ordinary things of life, you can also serve G-d.
Someone asked me a while back, why don’t you manage to just pick up a book on Shabbat and just read or just do nothing, to relax. Why do you always have to be busy with “your duties”? G-d is a G-d of liberation, don’t confuse Him with Pharaoh who drove people up.
That stuck in the back of my mind, but until today I didn’t really know what to do with it. The comment was justified but the urge to work on “my duties” made me unable to adequately regulate the time I spent on it.
Today I have taken it upon myself not to use the internet on Shabbat – not because I have to, but because I think it’s the right thing for me to do. This way, I will have more time for family, family and friends and for reading my beloved books in a different way.
Its going to be quite a challenge. But I have found that the best way to tackle my coffee addiction was to just stop. Would I be able to do the same with this? If I stick to the idea that I serve G-d in the ordinary things of life too, then surely I should succeed.
By Angelique Sijbolts
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