0 Posted by - March 3, 2015 - Chagim



Megillah ends with a lesson to take with us throughout the year. But first, a bit of coaching.

Here is a “gentile” definition of success, from one of the best master- coaches in the world. “Success is the ability to live your life the way you want to live it, doing what you most enjoy, surrounded by people who you admire and respect.”

As I have learnt my life values from the Torah, I have a totally different definition of success. My Rabbi taught me that the definition of success of a Torah observant Jew is a far more realistic definition. “Success is the ability to live a life of  Torah observance, in the life that G-d makes your reality. Success is the ability to enjoy and appreciate your Reality as is, while making the best out of your Reality. Success is to be G-dly, and to bring out the G-dliness in yourself, your family, and in those around you.”

“Being surrounded by people you admire and respect” is not something  “actionable”. It is a default. Try flipping it: Respect and admire the people around you, and then successful people will gravitate toward you, for people gravitate towards positive people, who look for the good side in the people around them.

Gentile success is usually defined as “rich and famous”. That is the first on the list of definitions for most people. This is not the Torah’s view of success, at all. Quite the contrary.  The famous of the “Rich and famous”  is usually rich and then famous, for people naturally gravitate towards wealth. If you have money, you will become famous, for people do whatever they can to get their share of your money. They are even willing to respect you. That is faking being famous, for your fame is your money, not you. Haman was surrounded by such fame, even, the Megillah coins his family, אוהביו ,the people who loved him; but after they learnt that he was on his way down, they were no longer אוהביו. The Megillah then refers to them as  יועציו, his advisors (Esther 6; 13).They loved him as long as they could get something out of him.

This is the fear – the nightmare – of many rich people. That their friends and those who ‘respect them’ love just their money and not them. If their business goes bad, they lose their money. But much worse than that, they lose their identity, and all those who they thought loved them. They fear that no one will ask their advice anymore, for  they are considered smart only as long as they have their money. They fear that once they lose their cash, they are just like everyone else, if not looked at as more foolish, for once they had money, and they could not hold onto it.

If you want to know how to become famous, I will tell you the secret. I discovered it one day in the Makolet, and I was taught it by that 23 year old boy, who just finished Army, who was stacking the shelves. He saw me, on his first day on the job, and said, with a huge smile, “Shalom!! How are you doing today?” This was at seven in the morning, right after Shacharit. This went on for about a week. I told him that his smile was worth a million dollars, but, to be truthful, I did not remember who he was. He asked me, “What?! You don’t remember me? About five years ago, when I was a yeshiva bachur, I did not have any friends, and you would come pray in the Yeshiva for Shacharit. You would sit next to me, and I would bring you a siddur. You would smile to me and would ask how I was doing. I did not get along in yeshiva, so I went to the army; but I never forgot how you smiled at me. I always smiled to people, reflecting to others your smile and how you said Hello. I just finished the army, and this is the first job that I got, for the meantime.” I gave him some Hizuk, telling him that with his smile, he can get really far.

A year later, I came late to a packed wedding, and the waiters all told me that there were no portions left. Then, out of nowhere, this fellow comes up to me and brings me a plate, with that same smile.”Shalom, good to see you. I saw you did not have a plate, and I am the head waiter here now. If you want doubles, just let me know!”  The next wedding I attended at that fancy wedding hall, he was already the manager of the place.

If only I would have known how much a smile can do! So, here is the million-dollar trick. Smile to people as if they are worth a million dollars to you, and you will be worth a million dollars! Try it! It works! Guaranteed! People will never forget you. Just one condition: it has to be real. If you fake it, then all you will get back is fake friends, and fake respect.

So, what made Mordechai the famous, popular Rabbi that everyone admired and respected? The Megillah leaves us with his secret. He was always the first one to say Hello, the quickest smile in Shushan. דורש טוב לעמו ודובר שלום לכל זרעו… . He would seek out the good of his People, and speak Shalom to all of his descendents.(Esther 10;3)  It does not say משיב שלום, that he would return Shalom. It says דובר שלום, that he would be the initiator.

And there is another condition, to become rich and famous.  Mordechai worked from inside out and not outside in. He first cared and respected his family,זרעו ,  Esther, and his family, and then, he became the one who cared for Klal Yisrael. The first step to becoming famous is in your own home, among your own friends. Because if you work from the outside in, you are faking it.

The Talmud made a study on the Rabbis who merited longevity.(Megillah 27b-28a)  “What did you do that gave you long life?” Each one said something different, a trait that accompanied him throughout his life. Today, when I was waiting for someone, I reviewed this piece of Talmud, and I realized something of huge significance, a common denominator in all the “longevity tips” mentioned. All of the traits that those rabbis mentioned had to do with respect. Respecting others, respecting G-d, respecting Shabbat, respecting G-dliness … Even King David wrote, מי האיש החפץ חיים .. נצור לשונך מרע ושפתיך מדבר מרמה (Psalms 34). Who wants life? Watch the way you speak, treating people with respect. How is respect the secret to good life?

People who are happy tend to live longer than people who are bitter or down. People who are happy are people with good relationships. This is the way to having longevity, enjoying and respecting the people in your life, which will improve your relationships.


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