When you wake up in the morning, how do you start your day? Many people immediately look at their phones, look at their messages, and are bombarded by the rush and stimulus of incoming data. But in so doing, we have begun our day in a reactive state, allowing external stimuli to become the starting point of our day. As a result, the rest of our day can end up becoming one long reactive experience. Studies have shown that highly successful people do not immediately look at their phones upon waking. Rather, they wait at least an hour before looking at their phone and messages. In so doing, they create a proactive momentum to their morning, choosing what to think about and what to focus on. Instead of allowing external stimuli to guide their first waking thoughts, they replace that with mindful, guided, and goal-oriented thinking. Davening is an embodiment of this same concept, of starting our day with mindfulness and directed thought. This idea connects to an important theme in this week’s parshah, Naso.

A half year after the Shabbos massacre in Pittsburgh, another white supremacist sought to do the same at the Chabad of Poway, charging into the shul as its congregants were reciting Yizkor on the final morning of Pesach. “I was preparing for my sermon, I walked out of the sanctuary and into the lobby, and I saw my dear friend Lori Kaye,” said Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein at a press conference on Sunday. “I walked into the banquet hall to wash my hands, walked two or three footsteps, and I heard a loud bang.”

We experience life through the medium of time. Each new moment brings with it new opportunities as we move along the spectrum of time. Amidst the constantly moving wave of time, the chagim are specific, unique points in time that carry with them special energy. Each holiday is a chance to tap into the theme inherent to that point in time. Before we can delve into the specific theme of Shavuos and what this unique point in time holds for each and every one of us, we must first understand time on a larger scale.

Dirshu Siyum on Masechta Chulin Antidote Against Anti-Religious Mayor 

“The city of Teveriah has never seen such a powerful, overt demonstration of the importance of Torah. The crowd was massive, and it was clear that residents of Teveriah who care about Yiddishkeit were deeply moved. To see two octogenarian, leading Gedolim, the Ashkenazi Gaon, HaRav Baruch Mordechai Ezrachi, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Ateres Yisrael, and the Sefardi Gaon, HaRav Shimon Baadani, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Torah V’Chaim coupled with the Chassidishe Gedolim, the sons of the Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe and the Stolin-Karliner Rebbe who all troubled themselves to travel to Teveriah and give messages of chizuk to the city’s inhabitants was the greatest demonstration of achdus and kevod haTorah that the city has seen in a long time!”

Children are dreamers, living in a world of fantasy, where anything is possible. Just ask a child what he wants to be when he grows up and you’ll get the most fantastic and unrealistic response imaginable. “I’m going to be an astronaut fireman, so that I can save people on the moon.” They live within the infinite, the realm of endless possibility. However, as children grow up they begin to experience the struggle of reality, where their notions of the infinite become challenged. Imagine a child lying on a grassy field, gazing into the nighttime sky. As he stares up into the stars, he thinks to himself, “Look at how enormous the universe is. The sky just expands endlessly... It must go on forever.” After sitting with that thought for a few moments, he becomes uncomfortable. “How can anything go on forever? Everything must stop eventually.” But after a few moments of accepting this comfortable realization, he is again bothered by his thoughts. “But how can the universe stop? What else could there be? It has to go on forever...” And so, this inner conversation continues, as the child grapples with the inner struggle of contemplating the infinite within one’s own finite mind.

Everyone wants to know the secret to wisdom. I can’t share it with you, because then it wouldn’t be a secret anymore. (To be fair, that statement isn’t necessarily true. Everyone wants to know the secret to wealth. Only some people want to know the secret to wisdom.)

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