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Our reading habits follow trends. After reading a suspense-filled mystery one tends to seek another book of the same genre. Recently, I became enraptured with biographies. The chronicles of the lives of famous people past and present were filled with information about their backgrounds and details of their rise to fame and fortune that informed as well as entertained.

The common denominator of all the varied stories was that each of the successful people was blessed with an extraordinary talent that he or she utilized to achieve success. The great composer was born with an ear for melody while the scientist had an uncanny ability to simplify complex mathematical calculations. The inventor was able to see in nature techniques he could employ in the mechanics of his creation that others used daily without noticing a thing. The Torah scholar was gifted with a photographic memory. No matter what the field each was blessed with a Heavenly gift that most people don't have.

Biographies cause one to admire the successful but they also have a danger. One may subconsciously ask: "Why is it that I am not successful?" By attributing achievement to a G-d-given talent one justifies one's lack of success. "I am not successful because I was not born with a special gift that I can use to succeed!"

To be successful, however, one need not be born gifted. Anyone -even one who is ordinary - can rise to the top. One must commit oneself to do even ordinary things in an extraordinary fashion. Housewife, student, carpenter or salesman -- one must push oneself to do whatever he or she does in the best way possible. Extra effort in preparation and performance will yield above average results. You don't have to be extraordinary. You just have to do whatever it is you are doing extraordinarily well.


There is a custom to eat dairy foods on the Holy Day of Shabuot.One reason for this custom is that until the giving of the Torah the Jewish people were not subject to the laws of kashruth, meat and milk and other dietary laws. On the day the Torah was given they realized that their utensils were no longer suitable for use. They had no choice but to eat dairy foods until all of their utensils could be properly "koshered". [Source: Mishnah Berurah, Siman 494:2]


If a person wishes to squander away his money, let him hire workers and not stay with them.

Baba Mesia, 29b

Text Copyright © 2003 Rabbi Raymond Beyda and Project Genesis, Inc.



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