Rabbi Yossi Bensoussan spoke at Beth Gavriel on Tuesday evening, July 23. He shared a strong motivational speech on discovering your inner power. “Fear is the number one reason for every negative action we do,” he taught. Jealousy stems from fear. “If we cannot conquer fear, we cannot conquer anything.”
To have success, we need to break our limits. He shared a story of an Olympic record that was not broken for 50 years until one person broke it. Amazingly, once he broke the record, then more people broke it. It has to do with your mindset, Rabbi Bensoussan explained. “We don’t have limits; we have to realize we are really battling ourselves.” Once the mindset of these athletes changed and they believed it was possible to break the record, then they were able to do it. “We need to break the limit we have on ourselves. We put limits on ourselves; no one else puts them there.”
He then spoke about how we change others and that we can’t change them through fighting but only through inspiring them. Rav Noach Weinberg zt”l posed an interesting question: If we had been like the other nations who rejected the Torah based on a specific mitzvah that we couldn’t do, what mitzvah would have been the one that gave us the most trouble? The answer is to love your friend as yourself.
“Our negative ugly parts of ourselves are there to inspire us,” Rabbi Bensoussan taught. A contractor doesn’t go to the parts of a house that are perfect and work on those parts. He focuses on the areas that need work. “If we know what’s wrong, then we know what to fix.”
He added that if doing what is wrong consumes us, then this takes us to a worse level. The way to free ourselves is we have to realize that we are not supposed to be perfect. “Everyone is working on something. It’s a lie to tell ourselves we have to be perfect.”
The Sefer HaChinuch teaches that the mitzvah of Bris Milah demonstrates a physical difference on our body to show we are different from the other nations. “Just as we are different physically, we are also different spiritually from the other nations. The follow-up question that the Sefer HaChinuch poses is why aren’t we born circumcised? The answer is that the real lesson of Bris Milah is not just that we are different, but that in the same way that we are physically not Jewish until we provide ourselves with a bris milah, so too, spiritually we are not different from other nations unless we do work spiritually. If we are born Jewish and never work on ourselves to become greater, then we are no different from the other nations.
He added, “It’s simple: We act. We put ourselves into action and people around us become affected by us. If we change ourselves, it affects others.” If we are happy and excited about Yiddishkeit, this will influence and inspire others.
He offered a practical suggestion: “Take a deep breath and say ‘I am amazing’ four times. Then say, ‘I’ll make someone else amazing’ four times.” He said to keep in mind: “G-d runs my world. Everything around my life and how I act are up to me.” What makes us feel good is when we exercise our free will. Hashem sends us signs through our negative traits. If we acknowledge our negative traits and work on them, we feel incredible. “Our imperfections make us great because we can work on them.”
He spoke about addictions. “When we can fight something that has controlled us, there is no greater feeling on earth.”
He also pointed out that difficult people – all people – were put into our lives for a reason. “It’s for us to work on our midos through them.”
He concluded with the following thought: “Running your life means being the greatest, happiest person you can be. We need to work on ourselves to inspire others. Don’t stop inspiring yourself every single day and don’t stop inspiring others.”
This lecture can be heard on TorahAnytime.com.
By Susie Garber