Friday, November 30, 2007

Why You Can't Give Up On Your Big Hopes and Dreams

Rav Kook, in Oros Hateshuva 14:38, talks about not giving up on one's big machshavos, his big plans and dreams.

The nature of a person is that when he or she has big thoughts and dreams at one point in life, and then those dreams face challenges, are difficult to attain, or are simply not attained for a certain period of time, the person gives up on those "big" dreams and thoughts. The pain of not living a life where your practical life is in sync with your big machshavos is too difficult to take (cognative dissonance). Since those dreams seem either to difficult or impossible to attain, the easier option is to stop thinking about big things almost completely. It is easier to think only about little things, and made them seem big.

Rav Kook says that we must not do that! In our view, our big thoughts only have any value if they move from the world of thought into the world of action. However, this is a distorted view of reality. In reality, one's big thoughts about what he can be and accomplish in life are important and chashuv in and of themselves. The Zohar says that holy thoughts, by themselves, are more precious before Hashem than Korbanos and Elevation Offerings. If you don't value the simple fact of having big dreams and aspirations in and of themselves, then you will give up on those dreams.

My rebbe says that the gemara says that olives themselves cause one to have the mida of forgetfulness. However, the olive oil inside the olives is very good for the memory. That means that the part of the olive which is inside and hidden, like one's thoughts, are very good for the mind and the thoughts and improve the memory. And keeping Jewish thoughts high and pure was the avodah of the Chashmona'im against the Greeks and Hellenistic Jews (misyavnim). We say in Maoz Tzur that the Greeks tried to be "metamei kol hashemanim." They tried to defile all of the Jewish oil that was used in the Bais Hamikdash. They didn't mind if the Jews had a Beis hamikdash or that they used oil, i.e. had high and elevated thoughts.

However, what they could not tolerate was that we should think about G-dliness, Hashem, Kedusha, Shleimus, holiness and perfection. We could only have thoughts about kleinekeit'n, small things (like philosophy, science, sports, movies...). They had to defile all of the oils, all of the deeper thoughts and big plans for Avodas Hashem. However, the Chashmona'im were able to find one pach shemen, one little flask of oil. That means that they Yevanim were not successful in completely obliterating our holy thoughts. But that there was still one little place in our Jewish minds that were able to hold on to big and holy thoughts. And that place of big and holy thoughts that they held onto took them through the eight days until they could start cleaning house and making a life where more of those good and holy thoughts could be devloped.

May Hashem help that we should not give up on our big thoughts and big dreams for ourselves. We shouldn't get caught up in making a big deal out of "smallness." May we be zocheh to have and keep and hold onto our big dreams and big plans for who we can become until we can bring those dreams into reality (even though it may tarry)!

-Dixie Yid

(See my post from almost 1 year ago [my 4th post ever] on this topic)

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Anonymous said...

thank you so so much for posting notes from the shiur as i had asked you too in the past

esp. this message is very imp and esp. now in my life

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...


Glad you benefited. But I'd do it even if you hadn't asked me because the reason why I post this and pretty much everything else on this site is to share things that hear or learn and am excited about and therefore I have a desire to share.

B"H, I'm happy that other people are able to benefit as well. There were more very good details that I didn't really want to leave out, but I just didn't have enough time to get into more detail. And something's better than nothing, right?

Gut Shabbos!

-Dixie Yid

Neil Harris said...

Beautiful. I was actually reading chapter 13 late Shabbos night. This post really hit home for me, as I've discussed this idea about dreams/goals with two people last week. Thanks.