Living life to the fullest

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for Moscow, Russia Friday, July 1st Light Candles at 20:58 Shabbat, July 2nd, Shabbat Ends 22:55 Torah Portion: Shelach

Why do we do what we do? So often, we know that we shouldn't act a certain way; and then we go do it anyway. Maybe it's eating french fries after the doctor warned against it; maybe it's disrespecting a valued relationship. When we sit in quiet contemplation, I think most of us have sound moral compasses and a healthy sense of right and wrong. The problem is that we're not always sitting quietly in contemplation. The problem lies in our lack of consciousness. When I'm fully aware – truly aware - of my gifts and values, I'm much more likely to honor them. When I'm actively conscious of my tremendous blessings, my life, family and friends, my actions will reflect that awareness. The trick is in remaining conscious; since the human psyche naturally gravitates toward a back-of-the-mind, taking for granted, automatic-pilot operating system. This is a reason that Judaism has so many awareness-triggers. When I walk into a room and see the mezuzah, it should raise my consciousness. The mezuzah reminds me that the room – bedroom, kitchen, den etc. – isn't simply a place to pursue a narrow, de-contextualized exercise (eating, sleeping etc.); it's a venue for pursuing my overall objective of a meaningful life (through eating, sleeping etc.). My Tzitzit (the Biblically-required fringes that hang from the little 'Talit' I wear under my shirt) are a mnemonic, a consciousness-prod. When I see them, I need to remember I have a destiny and a reason for existence; and that my next actions should reflect that life-objective. So it's about consciousness. If I check my 'consciousness meter' as often as I check for my wallet or keys, my 'internal traffic-controller' will perk up. I'll be able to consciously choose, and fully invest myself in, my next moves of the day. Internally, I become more internally 'alive'. And in this journey of life, 'alive' is the way to go. Shabbat Shalom! Rabbi Yanky and Rivky Klein

This email is In Loving memory of my dear father R' Yerachmiel Binyamin Halevi ben R, Menachem Klein OBM