Our one main goal it seems is happiness… bliss… contentment… Okay, that’s three things… but “three” is the theme of today’s post. They are essentially the same idea described with slightly different takes, so whatever word works for you… go for it! Whatever notion will get you excited and keep you motivated is the one to follow.
City Slickers had the right idea… almost.
Curly tells Mitch that the secret to life is “one thing… just one thing…”
And when Mitch asks what the one thing is, Curly responds with:
“That’s what you gotta figure out.”
And that’s the path, isn’t it? That is the quest that keeps us moving forward. That’s the life and the journey we are all on.
So how do we get there? Where do we start?
In a great class the other night… and any time Rabbi Shlomo Seidenfeld gives a class it is great… he told us that there are three things we must do every day, to have a full and worthwhile life.
We started off by discussing how the Torah teaches us to measure things in terms of days not years…
In the second paragraph of the Shema it says:
“In order to prolong your days and the days of your children upon the land that Hashem has sworn to your ancestors to give them, like the days of the heaven on the earth.”
Why days and not months or years?
Yes, we can say things like “it was a pretty good year…” or “I had a good month” (usually, but not always referring to business)… but as we get into the specifics and the memories, the movies in our minds seem to play in days and specific moments.
The key is to make them as alive and full as possible… and to hold onto them for as long as we can.
Thus we also discussed the importance of living fully, one day at a time. Live each day as if it is your last, because it might very well be. (There are many varieties on this idea and quote… Pick whichever one suits you.)
Shlomo talked about the word “Fulfilled” and how on the surface it is redundant… Full and Filled seem to be saying the same thing. But he followed it with the powerful and perhaps frustrating notion that people can be full, but not filled. Or filled up with things… but not be full.
So how does one both fill up and become full on the good stuff… on all that life has to offer? Think in threes… which just happens to be my favorite number!
There are Three things to do every single day, to make your days full and filled… to give you joy and happiness… and to lengthen your days…
Pray (Tefilah)… I never understood the true power of this until I returned from Israel and wrapped Tefillin every day.
Every single morning… and evening… and afternoons (Yes, I need to get much, much better about the Mincha)… I can have a dialogue with Hashem… to say out loud what I want and need and am hoping for… to apologize and make right… and to align my head and my heart and get in a good and positive place.
Learn (Lamad)… I think this is the correct Hebrew word… and I am sure someone will correct me if it is not… and what’s interesting to me, is that this word seems to mean both to learn and to teach!
Everyday we must learn… To find things we are passionate about… and to learn something new every single day… And yes, Torah should be a part of that. This keeps us young and fresh and always on the quest… always hungry and never totally full. Like Shlomo says… an answer sometimes ends a conversation or a search… but questions keep it going and going.
Give (Tzedakah)… Be generous with your family and friends, and yes, be generous to yourself. Give tzedakah or give of your time… Help someone in need. And do this every, single day. There are many ways to give, thus the expression to “lend an ear.”
If you do these three things every, single day you will have days that are both full and filled… And building on that, you will have full and filled weeks, and months and years… and thus a very full and filled life.
Judaism gives us so many lessons… teaches us so much… and offers a way to live a most fulfilled life. L’Chaim!