Look and Leap
Rabbi Raymond Beyda
Fear can work in positive ways. For example, it can prevent one from
engaging in activities that can cause serious harm. On the other hand, fear
can be unreasonable to the point of timid and prevent a person from
fulfilling positive life goals and achieving success in the material and
the spiritual realms.
Rambam explains that in order to change a trait one must go to the opposite
extreme for a time and eventually the person will arrive at a healthy
middle course. If one is extremely timid one must act in ways that are
courageous for a time in order to achieve a balanced level of caution to
If you feel fearful at times and realize that is not the healthy kind of
fear but instead the negative inhibiting version -- step forward in
situations that can change you for the better. Greet people that you have
never greeted before. If you are afraid to ask the teacher or a manger a
question -- ask. If you are weak at fundraising keep asking people for
donations until you get the hang of it. If you have trouble asking for
directions -- do so even when you are not lost -- until you overcome the
rapid heartbeat and the sweaty palms.
The more times you attempt something -- the easier it becomes. It no longer
becomes an issue of fear of failure it becomes an anticipation of potential
success. You might not change to the other extreme --but Rambam guarantees
that you will settle at a comfortable median. Look and then leap!
DID YOU KNOW THAT
When 3 men eat a meal with bread together they are required to recite
"zeemoon" before bircat hamazon. The Sefardic custom is for each one to
then recite the blessings of bircat hamazon for himself. Even if one hears
one of the others complete one of the blessings he should not say Amen to
the other's berakha.
Ashkenazic custom is that the one who says "zeemoon" recites the first
blessing of bircat hamazon aloud and the others answer Amen at the end of
the first blessing, but do not answer after the other 3 blessings.
[Source: Yalkut Yosef: volume 3, Siman 192:4]
CONSIDER THIS FOR A MOMENT
When we were infants, we cried and fought over things we now recognize as
trivia. As we mature and acquire more knowledge, we recognize that things
we thought to be important even as s were also really trivia. We would be
wise to recognize this in the present rather than to see it only in retrospect.
Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twersky
Text Copyright © 2003 Rabbi Raymond Beyda and Torah.org.