On Sunday evening, April 3, Rabbi Yoni Fischer, Rosh HaYeshivah of Yeshivas Matisyahu in Eretz Yisrael, spoke on behalf of Let’s Get Real With Coach Menachem.
Coach Menachem shared introductory remarks: “It’s hard for many people to turn inwards. Ultimately, we are looking to grow our connection to Hashem.”
Next, Rabbi Fischer pointed out that, in this generation, our avodah is to talk and to communicate. If you are alone, you struggle more. When we get together in forums like this, it’s a beautiful thing and we strengthen each other. “It is powerful to listen to each other.”
From the beginning of time, all people faced the challenge of learning to be positive, learning to see the good in others, and learning to get along with one another. Most of our challenges involve our interactions with others.
Pesach is the time of g’ulah. We are in galus because we are focused on others and negativity in others. We have difficulty judging others favorably. We tend to think that if that person could change, then I will be okay. In Pirkei Avos, it says, “Hevei dan l’chaf z’chus. “Hevei” means to become or to invest in oneself. When we point our finger at someone else, we have three fingers pointing at ourselves. When we see something negative in another person, it gives us an opportunity to see what we need to work on. Hashem communicates to us through others.
After the Splitting of the Yam Suf, the Jews were not able to drink the water because the waters were bitter. The waters were bitter because the Jews were bitter. “When you are bitter, everything you taste is bitter.”
He noted that when he feels sunshine inside, then he can give everyone the benefit of the doubt.
He shared that one of the biggest challenges we face is that we think we are the only one with this particular problem. We receive chizuk when we hear that others are dealing with the same issue. “This type of forum, where we are getting together and sharing, is so powerful.” He added that “we are all on a journey of change, and that takes time.”
The first step to invest in yourself is to know that you can accomplish what you want to accomplish. You need confidence to know that you can change.
When a person realizes that he can accomplish, and that Hashem blessed him with life, and he has a unique connection to Hashem, then he will invest in himself. He added, “Whether you believe you can or you believe that you can’t, then you are right.”
Invest in yourself because you can give so much more to others when you feel happy. We need to take inventory and speak to a therapist or a friend. We need to ask what we need to work on.
A problem begins when we are trying to be someone else, and we are not true to ourselves. “Be yourself!” He taught that “comparison is the thief of joy.” It’s a challenge to stay focused on self when the world is pulling you away. ”We get inspired, we want to make changes, we set goals, it is difficult to follow through, and then we are discouraged to try again.
He taught that discipline is remembering your why. A lot of time when we are inspired, we have a clear picture of what we want. “We have to remind ourselves that this is what I want to do. Motivation doesn’t last – neither does bathing, so you do it daily.”
You have to remind yourself daily why you want to do something. It’s important to share the journey and to reflect with other people.
He then spoke about how we can work on giving ourselves the benefit of the doubt. We can do this through affirmations. We have to think and talk positively about ourselves. We are critical of ourselves. A person should believe that he is okay. Don’t bash yourself. Start with being okay. He taught that there are five love languages. They include: words, gifts, doing acts of service, spending quality time, and physical touch. Each of us has a more pronounced love language. We need to realize which language we need and then work with ourselves to hear this.
He shared that its important to model to your spouse and children that you are working on yourself. We need to stop worrying what others think about us and focus on our relationship with Hashem and our relationship with ourselves. He noted that a program like Let Get Real With Coach Menachem strengthens our p’nimiyus.
Hashem says three possible things in answer to prayer. He never says no. He may say yes, or He may say, “Give Me some time,” or He may say that you will get something better. “We can change. We are responsible for changing ourselves.”
He shared a powerful acronym: FEAR stands for Forget Everything And Run OR Face Everything And Rise. The latter is the proper response. It is difficult to face feelings. Healing involves changing and growing.
By Susie Garber