On Monday evening, September 12, a large crowd gathered at Beth Gavriel for a night of inspiration in memory of Yosef ben Angela (Yosef Matayev). Rabbi Ilan Meirov shared a beautiful shiur highlighting the important things we should be doing now during this month of Elul, and he spoke about how inspiring Yosef Matayev was to everyone who knew him.

Rabbi Meirov began by sharing some of the thoughts of Yosef Matayev, who was a very deep and positive thinker. Rabbi Meirov stressed that ”we need to use the power of thought to get ourselves out of the pot.” It’s so important to keep a positive attitude in order to overcome struggles.

He shared that the power of thought is still there after you die. “The neshamah is real. It doesn’t die.”

We take care of our body, and we also need to take care of our soul. He shared that there are five parts of the neshamah. The nefesh is actions, the ruach is emotions’ and neshamah is intellect. in life there is a constant battle with controlling our emotions with our intellect. “If you want to succeed in your interpersonal relationships, make sure your intellect is in control of your emotions.”

He said that if emotions are in control, you won’t succeed. “To overcome challenges, react with your intellect.”

He shared a story where someone tried to test a man to see how he reacted when someone tried to get him angry. The man overheard that he was being tested so he passed the test. “If we know we are being watched and tested, then we will behave properly. Hashem is always watching. The Torah teaches us to be real when we are being seen by others as well as when we are not being seen by others. It is guaranteed success if you think before you react.

Rabbi Meirov then posed the question of what is the purpose of this world. What is our mission?

After Hashem created each creation, the Torah says it was good. After He created Man, it doesn’t say it was good. Every other creation was created whole – without need of improvements. When He created Man, He gave us a goal – a mission to prove that we are good. Hashem gave us the gift of the Torah. Rabbi Meirov urged, “Make it part of your life.” Joey tried hard to study Torah and do mitzvos.

Rabbi Meirov taught that we are not judged on externals. The word for Man is Adam, which means coming from earth. When you plant seeds in soil, you have to water them and expose them to sunlight and wait for them to sprout. By naming us Adam, G-d is telling us that we are like earth. We are a bundle of potential. In life you have to plant seeds. What is your value system? You need to constantly water it and be exposed to the right people. “We are untapped potential.”

Ask yourself what kind of married life and what kind of children do you want to have? What is your value system?

He shared how procrastination is your best friend and your worst enemy. The yeitzer ha’ra will always give you a reason to push off doing mitzvos. “Don’t procrastinate,” he said.

He shared how a lion focuses on its prey to the exclusion of everything else. In the same way, top basketball players focus on the hoop and nothing else. The first law in the Shulchan Aruch says to wake up in the morning like a lion. This is teaching us to be focused and have our goals in front of us. “Get your life structured and don’t be distracted.”

Every day, see how to improve yourself. Value time and life. Life is so precious. The month of Elul is the time for us to shape our future. He shared the analogy of baking challah. You shape the dough first. Once it is put in the oven and baked you can’t change the shape. In the same way, once its Rosh HaShanah, it’s like we’re already baked.

Joey (Yosef Matayev) would tell his family and friends to grow and get more involved to connect to Hashem. Rabbi Meirov shared that we all know what we need to improve on. He shared a quote from Joey. “Don’t wait until you reach your goal to be proud of yourself. Be proud of yourself for each step you take towards your goal.”

Rabbi Meirov said that every step is a victory. He added that you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.

Everyone left inspired and uplifted by this beautiful shiur. Joey ben Angela’s neshamah should have an aliyah and continue to inspire his friends and family, and they should be comforted with the mourners of Tzion. This shiur can be viewed on TorahAnytime.com.

By Susie Garber