One of my favorite lines is, “as a Chabad Rabbi, my job is to make the uncomfortable, comfortable, and to make the comfortable, uncomfortable”. See what I mean below.
The secret to personal growth is dealing with the dead. No, that wasn’t a typo, indulge me for a moment.
The goal and effect of every mitzvah is to connect with G-d. The word mitzvah, literally translated as commandment, is derived from the root word tzavsa, meaning attachment.
If I want to have a good relationship with my wife, I need to not only do the things I enjoy, that are easy and fun, but also the things that are boring, annoying, and ignored. If I want to connect, and bond with the other party, it cannot only be on my terms, but it needs to take them into consideration as well.
Take marriage for example, instead of getting your spouse roses, the ‘typical’ flower, notice that your wife likes tulips and get her those. Even more meaningful would be to notice the color she prefers them.
In Judaism, a Kohen is not allowed to come in contact with a dead body. However, when it comes to an unidentified, unclaimed dead body, even the High Priest can become – in fact must become – impure to bury such a person.
This unclaimed body is referred to in Hebrew as a ‘mes mitzvah’, literally translated as a mitzvah (dealing with the) dead. When you want to grow, find a mitzvah that is “dead” as it were, unidentified and unclaimed. A mitzvah that you don’t want to deal with or explore. Try out the mitzvah that perhaps you only found out about recently and ensure it has a respectable resting place, in you.
Hashem notices that you got Him the “tulips” instead of the roses because you care to enhance your relationship with Him.
Not sure which mitzvah? Get in touch and we can discuss an idea that works for you. Heads up: it may take you out of your comfort zone. That is how growth happens!
See you soon, G-d willing.
Have an amazing Shabbos,
Rabbi Mendel Schusterman
Thanks to my brother, Rabbi Kushi Schusterman, Chabad Harford County, Maryland., for sharing the above thought and to my brother, Rabbi Nechemia Schusterman, of Chabad Peabody, Mass. for fine tuning it and myself for having the wisdom to know what to copy and what not to copy 😉