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Inspiration – Kale is out!

July 1, 2016

1 - Inspnothing changes if nothing changes” – Unknown

Parsha Shlach in a nutshell from

Moses sends twelve spies to the land of Canaan. Forty days later they return, carrying a huge cluster of grapes, a pomegranate and a fig, to report on a lush and bountiful land. But ten of the spies warn that the inhabitants of the land are giants and warriors “more powerful than we”; only Caleband Joshua insist that the land can be conquered, as Gd has commanded.

The people weep that they’d rather return to Egypt. Gd decrees that Israel’s entry into the Land shall be delayed forty years, during which time that entire generation will die out in the desert. A group of remorseful Jews storm the mountain on the border of the Land, and are routed by the Amalekites and Canaanites.

The laws of the menachot (meal, wine and oil offerings) are given, as well as the mitzvah to consecrate a portion of the dough (challah) to Gd when making bread. A man violates the Shabbat by gathering sticks, and is put to death. Gd instructs to place fringes (tzitzit) on the four corners of our garments, so that we should remember to fulfill the mitzvot (divine commandments).

Recently I have noticed a few articles on inspiration. In a recent article on the ABC titled “Kale is out: Why young women are rebelling against clean eating”. The article[i] focused on the fact that with so much inspiration from health experts, celebrities and from social media, girls are choosing not to eat healthy.

Before Shavuot in Rabbi Sendor’s Yavneh article[ii] he said “..It pains me to say it, but if we are being honest, most shules are tired and boring with ageing populations. Those who generally go do not do so to seek out inspiration and meaning, but rather for the social connections and expectations, with a little guilt and herring mixed in...” His words were reiterated on Shavuot by a panel discussion titled “Holding our Own“. Besides discussing this topic, one of the panelists, Hebrew studies teacher, Adina Bankier-Karp is investigating why young people are moving away from religion and spirituality for her PhD?

In last week’s Parsha article by Rabbi Marc Angel he said that Aaron the High Priest was commanded to light the menorah. The Torah describes his action with the word “beha’aloteha,” when you raise the lights. Rashi comments that Aaron was supposed to kindle the lights so they would rise on their own. Symbolically, this image applies to the role of parents, teachers, spiritual leaders and any other role model: “…they are supposed to educate and inspire the young so that the children/students are able to rise on their own. The goal is to fashion responsible human beings who can act properly on their own.”

I am no expert on inspiration and why with so much there is to be inspired about people are “going backwards”.

We all want to be inspired! We all want to change and we all want to improve.

I think that the problem is that the inspirational spark is typically temporary, quickly fading and failing to translate into any tangible action, let alone sustainable self-improvement.

The bulb quickly dims, and it’s back to the status quo.” – Rich Roll.

Loved this quote (no author) “Inspiration doesn’t last, neither does taking a bath. That’s why we do it daily.”

I think that the key is harnessing that spark of inspiration—whatever it may be—is to alter our conduct. It starts with a decision followed by immediate action, which when sustained over time, can improve your life in ways you couldn’t possibly predict.

These point were reiterated in Rabbi Sendor’s article before Shavuot “This Shavuot, I want to bless all of us with the courage and strength to step into that desert of deep listening and genuine searching. Yes, it is uncomfortable, challenging and frightening (if done right), but it can open us up to lives of deep meaning and inner peace. Shavuot is not a historical commemoration; it is a call to action.

In this week’s Parsha we read about the spies and their very pessimistic view of Israel. Why were they so pessimistic? The Parsha says they sore but did not learn (get Musar) or get inspired! Was there nothing to inspire them in the land of “Milk, Honey and giant fruits”? Were they waiting for inspiration to land in their laps? Rabbi Dov Shapiro on the Torah Insights blog[iii] says that I have heard sincere people say “I am waiting to be inspired”. Sincerity notwithstanding, we need to remember that what we gain from our experiences depends not only on what we seek, but also on the amount of effort we are prepared to exert. Life is full of opportunities for inspiration, but we need to notice and utilize them.

1 - insp 2It takes some effort, but we can be inspired by the Rav’s Shabbos morning drasha, by a post on Social media, by books and other media, by hearing about what people do and even by a picture (Inspiration – 180kg to 80 Kgs – Do a 70.3 Ironman!). And one who sincerely craves inspiration can even find it.

Love this tip from Robin Arzon –Surround yourself with inspiration.Do epic shit” is written on a Post-it on my bathroom mirror and it’s the title on my alarm alerts on my iPhone.”

This what I call turning Inspiration into Action – “Inspired by the care she received, patient becomes nurse” – Mayo Clinic post[iv]



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