by Rabbi Hirsh M. Chinn

It seems that only yesterday, the world came into existence on Shabbos Breishis. Our Avos and Ima’os “brought” Hashem into this world during the past nine parshiyos, and now we say farewell to Yaakov Avinu. We bring this first stage of our national development to a close. Vayichi-Chazak.

As Jacob nears his death, his son Joseph brings his children, Menashe and Ephraim to him for a blessing. וַיְבָרְכֵם בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא, לֵאמוֹר, בְּךָ יְבָרֵךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר, יְשִׂמְךָ אֱלֹהִיםכְּאֶפְרַיִם וְכִמְנַשֶּׁה And he blessed them that day, saying: ‘By you shall Israel bless, saying: G-d make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh.’ The second half of the sentence is well known and often discussed. But what about those two words, בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא” – that day” ? Also, what does “לֵאמוֹר -saying” mean? Say what?

Rabbi Shlomo Leib of Lantshia ( student of the P’shischar), wrote that Yaakov blessed them with “bitachon”- trust in the Divine, to have security in Hashem’s care for each “today” without fear for tomorrow. “לֵאמוֹר -saying” that they should be accustomed to say ברוך ה’ יום יום, “Blessed is Hashem for each day”. So often we are so concerned about the future that we are unable to live in and appreciate the present, with the gifts that we have been blessed. What a wonderful bracha it is to be able to enjoy what I have, each “today” and to be appreciative for each “one day at a time”.

Chanukah – Miketz

by Rabbi Hirsh M. Chinn

In Parshas Miketz, the story opens with וַיְהִי מִקֵּץ שְׁנָתַיִם יָמִים “And it came to pass at the end of two full years” (literally : two years of days) Why the additional “of days”? Someone who lives a spiritually connected life tries to make each day constructive. Each day of connecting with a force and a source greater than ourselves, develops the person/mensch, one day at a time and these days add up becoming months and years. Yosef completed a period of two years – one day at a time.

This idea is reflected in the lights of the menorah that we light, following the opinion of Beis Hillel, 1,2,3 etc . We celebrate the days of miracles that we have experienced. We don’t light 8,7,6, etc. looking at the amount of miraculous days remaining. People living in recovery from any illness learn to celebrate the days that they “have” not what is ahead. Ask any “old-timer” in recovery and you will hear that all the “years” of sobriety are all made up of each “today”.

Perhaps this too is hinted to, when the Torah says that Avraham died וְאַבְרָהָם זָקֵן, בָּא בַּיָּמִים – And Avraham was old, (literally) coming with his days. Growing each day.

Letting our defects go (from NA)

“If [character defects] contributed to our health and happiness, we would not have come to such a state of desperation.” NA Basic Text, p. 35

Getting started on the Sixth and Seventh Steps isn’t always easy. We may feel as though we have so much wrong with us that we are totally defective. We might feel like hiding under a rock. Under no circumstance would we want our fellow addicts to know about our inadequacies.

We will probably go through a time of examining everything we say and do in order to identify our character defects and make sure we suppress them. We may look back at one particular day, cringing at what we’re certain is the most embarrassing thing we’ve ever said. We become determined to be rid of these horrible traits at all costs.

But nowhere in the Sixth or Seventh Steps does it say we can learn to control our defects of character. In fact, the more attention we focus on them, the more firmly entrenched they will become in our lives. It takes humility to recognize that we can’t control our defects any more than we can control our addiction. We can’t remove our own defects; we can only ask a loving God to remove them.

Letting go of something painful can be as difficult as letting go of something pleasant. But let’s face it-holding on is a lot of work. When we really think about what we’re holding onto, the effort just isn’t worthwhile. It’s time to let go of our character defects and ask God to remove them.

Just for Today: I’m ready to have my defects removed. I will let go and allow a loving Higher Power to care for me.

Copyright (c) 2012,  NA World Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved

For Today…

Thought for the Day

I no longer waste money, but try to put it to good use. Like all of us, when I was drunk, I threw money around like I really had it. It gave me a feeling of importance – a millionaire for a day. But the morning after, with an empty wallet and perhaps also some undecipherable checks, was a sad awakening. How could I have been such a fool? How will I ever make it up? Thoughts like these get you down. When we are sober, we spend our hard-earned money as it should be spent. Although perhaps some of us could be more generous in our A.A. giving, at least we do not throw it away. Am I making good use of my money?

Meditation for the Day
You were meant to be at home and comfortable in the world. Yet some people live a life of quiet desperation. This is the opposite of being at home and at peace in the world. Let your peace of mind be evident to those around you. Let others see that you are comfortable, and seeing it, know that it springs from your trust in a Higher Power. The dull, hard way of resignation is not God’s way. Faith takes the sting out of the winds of adversity and brings peace even in the midst of struggle.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may be more comfortable in my way of living. I pray that I may feel more at home and at peace within myself.

From Twenty-Four Hours a Day © 1975 by Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without the written permission of the publisher.

Letter of Encouragement

My Dear Friend,
I know you are going through some things right now, and it can be overwhelming. I want you to go into the bathroom and splash some cold water on your face, take a few deep breaths, and look in the mirror at a hero — someone who is breaking out of a deeply ingrained pattern and taking care of herself against a torrent of self-destructive conditioning.

All of recovery comes down to a simple choice — do I want short-term pleasure and the long-term pain that goes with it OR do I want short-term pain with long-term deep satisfaction and true joy. Just for today, your actions are those of a hero, a person who chooses to act with self-integrity in spite of your own imperfections along the way. You are a child of God who chooses to endure the extreme discomfort of a major pattern change in a series of acts of faith and trust that Hashem (God) will bring a new day of peace, light and joy.

Do not give up. Do not give up on the process. Do not give up on yourself. Persistence is a most valuable spiritual principle. The past does not equal the future. You are further along than you know. Don’t quit five minutes before the miracle happens. I’ll say it better — don’t quit five minutes before you have a profound realization that the miracle is already here — that you yourself ARE the miracle. You are a precious gift that G_d has put in the world to serve a purpose that only you can fulfill. You may not fully understand what exactly that life mission entails just yet, but that is not the issue. What is unfolding inside of you is what is REALLY going on. You are doing so much better than you know. Imagine what it will feel like when this reality becomes as clear to you as it is to me.

But — you say — I don’t know the things you have screwed up along the way. Here is what I do know: we are allowed to falter, to botch a step or two or ten or even a hundred. The part of your brain that tells you that you are a piece of garbage is a liar. My experience is that his voice gets softer over time, then louder, then softer. That inner critic has not been removed from me. Perhaps he’ll always be with you, too. But that is okay. Hashem is always and absolutely with you too, no matter what kind of mess you have made. He has not given up on you, even in the moments when you have given up on yourself.

You are awake, moving forward — albeit tenuously — staying clean today. This is all the proof I need that you are walking through this phase of your life admirably. Remember not to do it alone. Sleep — or at least give your body and racing brain a rest. Breathe, eat as nutriciously as you can. Keep your body moving — gently, not to exhaustion. Use the gift of words to express your feelings, frustration and thought processes to a few trusted confidents. Stay connected to people who love you and have your best interest at heart. Try to choose companions with stabile heads on their shoulders and avoid temptation of surrounding yourself only with people who won’t challenge you.

I know there are moments when this process feels horrible, but stay open to the possibility that you may be DOING way better than you are feeling. Your willingness to move forward in faith — trusting a loving Higher Power that you cannot see, hear or touch — makes you a hero in my eyes. May G-d as you understand Him give you the clarity to know and feel what I’ll bet you already suspect deep down in your heart — that you are a miracle and that miracles are happening through you every moment.

With love and respect,