October 1, 2014

A Meaningful Life

The days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are called the Aseret Yomei Teshuvah, the ten days of repentance.  This sounds very heavy and it actually is. In the Midrash Tanchumah, it is written that G-d says, “The gates of Heaven are open, and I will listen to your prayers.”

During these days, we feel that Hashem is closer to us and many people take these days to reflect on their deeds and chart a path to reflect positive change for the new year. People also make time to attend Torah classes, give charity and do mitzvoth.

For the past 21 years, Rabbi Weiss of Ra’anana has been hosting a morning of inspiring lectures during these ten days. The city opens the doors of the large Yad Lebanim theater to a packed audience of people eager to learn, be inspired and make positive, impactful changes in their lives.

This week, Rabbi Weiss explained that we are in this world because “we each have our own potential to fulfill. We are singular and unique, and that reality is reflected in our faces, for, remarkably, no two faces in the mass of humanity are exactly alike. We are all different, but each of us is part of a great symphony in the totality called klal Israel, and if we don't perform the music that we can perform, the Torah that we can learn, the kind deeds that we can do, the tefila that we can pray, the job that can contribute to society, it makes a difference because He knows our potential, He notices everything, He can tell when someone or something is missing.

Who am I?

Rabbi Weiss concluded, “I am someone who never existed before, and will never exist again, and so I must “face up” to my intrinsic holiness, and complete my holy mission before my time is up. I must maintain my sense of modesty, while at the same time acknowledging my lofty lineage and awesome capabilities. I make a difference in this world.”

He then introduced the next speaker, Racheli Fraenkel. She took center stage this summer after her 16-year-old son Naftali was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists. She was seen in front of TV cameras and addressing the United Nations, uniting us all in hope and prayer.  Her son, along with two other innocent teens, Gil-Ad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah, was later found murdered. Yet Racheli Fraenkel continues to give the same inspiring words of unity and dignity.

When I heard she would be speaking, I imagined she might address her personal tragedy. But she did not. Sure, she suffers. And certainly, her life will never be the same again. But she is a pillar of strength and is one of the most dignified, intelligent, self-actualized people I have ever heard speak. I learned that Maslow later modified his hierarchy of needs to include three higher levels with transcendence being at the top. Racheli Fraenkel, with her grace, glow and wisdom stands bravely atop this peak.

She explained that we are human and are limited. Many things happen in life that are out of our control. Yet must work on joy (simcha) and give it space in our lives as it is our natural state of being. Simcha gives us energy to make life more meaningful and realize the blessings that we have.

These words of wisdom came from a Torah scholar and a mother whose son was murdered in July by terrorists. She did not once speak of hate, revenge, power or bloodshed.

Who is she?

Rachelli Fraenkel is a shining example of what living a life of Torah truly is. She is a sensitive, dignified, forgiving, peace loving and hopeful human being.

Echoing the words of Rabbi Weiss, she maintains her sense of modesty, while at the same time acknowledges her lofty lineage and awesome capabilities.

Rachelli Fraenkel makes a difference in this world.
And the world should open its eyes and learn from her.

You can hear her on this inspiring Aish video for Rosh Hashana.

These were her words to the UNHRC on June 24, 2014.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments are always welcome.