We learn amazing lessons everywhere. If we truly believe that Hashem has created everything, which we do, then it would follow that the lessons that come to us, no matter where they come from, are of amazing value. And because “there are no coincidences, it is G-d’s way of remaining anonymous” (Rabbi Shlomo Bistritzky) we also know that we hear things, or are at least are meant to hear them, at the precise time we need them.
I have learned many things from other cultures and religions and yet, there is a profound sense of love and pride for Judaism, when I realize that many of them in fact, come from Judaism in the first place. For those who are spiritual seekers, I highly recommend spending some time with the Zohar and Kabbalah. The lessons there are deep and will shake you to your core… in a good and amazing way, and you will very quickly realize the origins of many teachings.Judaism teaches us how to get up each morning… with gratitude and humility in the form of the Modeh Ani. And it teaches us how to go to bed each night, with the Bedtime Shema. We ask to lie down in peace and awake in peace, which is part of the Hamapil and the way we do this is by reciting the remarkable, powerful and all-connecting Shema.
“The Talmud says that when one goes to sleep at night, his soul goes up to heaven for a daily accounting. That leaves the body “unprotected,” so to speak, so we say the Shema and the blessing Hamapil to counteract that.” (Aish.com)
For me, there is also incredible power in the part before the Hamapil, where we say: “Master of the Universe, I hereby forgive anyone who angered or antagonized me or who sinned against me…” It goes on in a beautiful way to explain how forgiveness is and must be eternal, and thus the lesson for me is this… as hard as it is to forgive at times, forgive me must. The key is to take this lesson with us 24/7 and that means forever.
As our days move on, we get tired or cranky or what have you. It is easy to fall back into bad habits and thoughts. I find myself struggling, especially now in the midst of a break up, to forgive… but forgive I must! And it is not simply to forgive, but to truly, deeply and honestly forgive. It is to send that person forward into life with love and thoughts of love. I am battling with this. It is human to want those who hurt us and broke our hearts to suffer. But where is the good in this? The fact remains, “this too shall pass,” and that Hashem knows best. That door HAD to close for others, better doors to open. We may not see it now, but we WILL see it. So trust in Hashem and forgive. Take the lessons of the Bedtime Shema into all 24 hours of each and every day, into all 7 days of our week, and into our lives, forever.
Love thy neighbor and love thyself with gratitude, humility and forgiveness. Do this in the morning with the Modeh Ani, do this at night with the Bedtime Shema, and do this with every single second in between… 24/7… FOREVER.
I also wanted to share this with you. It ties into the theme and lesson of how we should go to sleep each night, and how we should arise every morning. The smallest, simplest things are so very powerful and can truly shape the world. So let us remember that when it comes to manners, ethics, morality and how we treat others. And of course, how we treat ourselves.
Naval Adm. William H. McRaven’s 2014 commencement speech at the University of Texas, Austin is getting a lot of press again lately. And it ties into today’s discussion remarkably well.
“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.
And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made — and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.
If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”
Thank you to Hashem and to all of you (including our Guest Bloggers) for now moving us past 400 posts! Ben and I are humble and grateful.
And yes, a beautiful and clean bedroom and a well made bed can raise your spirits! So soothing…