Saturday, November 5, 2011

Give Shabbat a Shot!

Let me start this blog by saying that I am nowhere near the level of a Rabbi; I'm just a simple Jew, who lives at Moishe House Great Neck, reflecting on his experience of becoming a more observant Jew. It's an experience that has changed my life, and that has given me the opportunity for tremendous growth in character and as a person. Here are few of the simple reasons why:

There is a huge misconception that observant Judaism and it's laws are restrictive to your daily lives and routine; however, I found it to be more liberating than I could have imagined. One example is Kashrut. You might find a Jew who would say, "I am a human, and true freedom is being able to do whatever I want; so I'm going to eat that cheeseburger, because I want to." In truth however, that is not true freedom; that person is merely a slave to his desires. He wouldn't eat that cheeseburger if he didn't desire it. True freedom is being able to understand that there are boundaries in life, and being able to overcome your desires.

As humans it's very easy to take the many blessings we have in life for granted; we tend to look at and desire what others around us have. However, many of us, Thank G-D, are blessed to have the ability to see, hear, talk, and walk. We are blessed to be able to see a rainbow (which we make a blessing on), smell a flower (which we make a blessing on), or even go to the bathroom (which afterwards, we make a blessing on). Another great example is waking up in the morning. Most people usually wake up dissapointed that they have to wake up so early; the first thing an observant Jew does when he wakes up is say they Modeh Ani, and thank G-D for giving him the gift of a new day. By saying blessings and thanking G-D, we automatically become more aware and appreciative of the blessings we have in life.

Finally, the most enjoyable experience for me of becoming a more observant Jew was when I became Shomer Shabbat. It's an awesome experience to be able to have the ability to completely disconnect from the work week and its stresses. It's an awesome experience to be able to have a nice dinner with family and friends without the distraction cell phones. It's an awesome experience to participate in and hear the beautiful Shabbat prayers and songs. It's an awesome experience to be an observant Jew!

So as a friend, a Jew, and fellow Moishe House resident, I would like to encourage all of you to try to apply something from Judaism to your life; even if it's overcoming just one desire, saying just one blessing, or "Giving Shabbat a Shot!"

I wish you all the best,

Joseph Yadgar

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