But alas, I am no Rabbi, but I do make up my own rules sometimes, and while I don’t have a pulpit and shtender, I do have a blog! And so my theme for Rosh HaShana is: Passion.
You’re wondering why, aren’t you?
Well, first, let’s remind ourselves of the famous story. (and forgive me because I’m going to get the details wrong)
The famous parable goes that a great Rabbi was once asked: “What would you rather? A very obedient student but who’s very intellectual and therefore apathetic. Or a student who misbehaves and not very smart, but who’s incredibly passionate and excitable.”
The Rabbi answered: “without a question – the student who has passion. Because while he might misbehave, he has that drive and fire – and all I need to do is point that fire in the right direction and get him on the right track. The other student may have a brilliant mind, but with no heart and no passion, he’s not going anywhere.”
Yes yes, I know I probably mixed up all the details, but I know I got the point right.
And this is why my theme for this year is Passion.
Without passion what do we have?
Suppose all you do this coming year is data entry for a boring stupid job. And that’s it. Imagine if that ONE thing you do with all your heart, all your ambition, and put your fire and soul into that one little “boring” job – all your passion. Imagine how amazing that data entry job would suddenly become?
Suppose all you do this entire year is answer phone calls – and you answered those phone calls with fervor and enthusiasm. Imagine how happy those people on the line would feel after speaking with you?
Imagine if every day – no matter if it was laundry, or dishes, or doing bills, or teaching, or web design, or blogging – imagine if whatever it was you did during the day, you did it with a fire. Every ounce of passion – you threw into that basket of laundry!
Yah, I know it sounds a little funny – why do I need passion to do laundry? Why do I need fire to do the dishes?
Because as we all know, fire is VERY contagious and well, flammable.
Ever meet someone who LOVES their job? And they LOVE talking about it? And sharing stories? And going on and on about it? After wanting to wring their necks from their annoying peppiness…if you think about it – these are the people that have a spring in their step ALL Day. Not just at work. When they come home, their joy spills over into their home life and into everything they touch. Why? Not because their boss gave them a raise (although that certainly helps) but because they’re living life with passion!
I was thinking about this concept earlier this week because this past summer I got to work briefly with my old bosses – the Solomons – back in Jersey. Everyone who knows me can testify that I worked well with these guys and we were inseparable. My friend used to joke that in 30 years from now, I’ll STILL be working for them. While I used to take offense at that statement, feeling like I’ll be stuck in the same darn job for 30 years, when I think of that now, I’m actually flattered. Why? Because the Solomons exude passion.
I worked closely with Rabbi Solomon for years – and while working with him over the summer, I was reminded of this energy he gives to the people who work with him. It’s funny because we all laugh and say that we do all the work, and the Rabbi gets all the credit! But it’s amazing to see that he’s able to “light a fire” under his employees with his enthusiasm. His encouragement, his excitement, and… well.. passion. It’s this passion that gets his employees motivated about even the most tedious and boring tasks! And yet, despite the (at times) boring work, his assistants are the happiest people, they love their jobs every single day and have great experiences. Why? Once again – it’s the passion.
Actually, there was someone who worked for Rabbi Solomon at one point and the pairing didn’t mesh well. We all understood that the personalities didn’t click, and so it wasn’t working out. But thinking back, it’s more than just a personality clash – because everyone works differently and no one is the same. What I realized is that they were just missing passion. That “rock em’ sock em’” attitude that wasn’t there, and like I said, fire spreads – without that personal flame, the day to day tasks eventually became tedious and boring and eventually that person left the job.
So I talk about passion.
Ever feel like you’re life could be better? Ever wish you had a better job? Or a better house? A better car? Or just something new and exciting? Yes, we can go through the routine of day to day life. Trudge to work, do what we need to do, yawn at 2 pm, maybe have another cup of coffee to wake us up… and wait for those glamorous vacation days coming up. And sure – we can work towards our goals and try to make something more of ourselves and to create happier lives (and I’m a BIG advocate of that) – but imagine taking what you have right now – whatever that may be, and enjoying the crap out of it! Squeezing the joy into every single “meaningless” task of the day and quite literally, making love to everything we do. Doesn’t that sound like such a glorious life? Wow! imagine being able to have such passion for what we do that we’ll want to shout it from the rooftops: “I LOVE WASHING DISHES!” – imagine what a life that would be.
Well, I don’t know about you… but I say if there’s any kind of year I’d like to have… yes I want a healthy year, a happy year, a money filled year – but more than anything, I want to have a passionate year!
And isn’t it incredible that living a passionate life is completely my choice and is entirely up to me. No one decides how excited I get over something, or how much soul and spirit I give on a job. Nope. It’s all 100% me. (I think we control freaks would like that :)) …
And so my dear friends, here’s to a year and a LIFE filled with motivation, and drive, ambition and joy, and my new favorite word – a life of passion!
Can I get an Amen? 🙂