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   27 Tishrei 5775 / Tuesday, October 21, 2014 | Torah Reading Noach       
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HomeSpirituality and FaithPersonal GrowthWho Am I?
Who Am I?
By: Rabbi Lazer Brody

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We all want to climb our personal mountain. We all want to successfully meet life's challenges and end up in the winner's circle. We all want to get to the top.
The first thing one must now probe before setting out out on his or her journey to reach life's peak is something very basic - who am I?
That may seem odd. A person reacts with impatience, "What a silly question! Are you implying that I don't know who I am?"
Unfortunately, modern society, advertising, the media, peer pressure and one's desire or perceived need to gain the approval of other people sharpens a person's image of what he or she wants to but blurs a person's image of himself.
The moment you decide to look objectively at who you really are and accept yourself for what you are, you take the first step to emotional freedom.
The following parable will provide you with some food for thought:
Three dogs were hiking separately up in the mountains. Sudden high winds and a dangerous blizzard threatened their chances of safely returning home. Simultaneously, the reached a clearing. It was a bitterly cold day with poor visibility. The first dog, renown for his compassion and dedication in helping others, was a Saint Bernard with a small keg of rum around his neck. He said to the other two, "Greetings, my friends! You look very cold. Come have a sip of my rum. It will warm and replenish you. If you're still cold, you can cuddle up to me - my fur is very thick and warm. Please feel free."
The second dog, a Labrador Retriever and a trained guide dog with a wonderful disposition, profusely thanked the Saint Bernard for his kind offer. He then said, "Comrades, I implore you to stick with me. Between the flurrying snow and the mountain fog, one can barely see. It's easy to become disoriented and to lose direction. I have a very enhanced sense of direction. It's my job to guide others, especially those who can't see. Stay with me and be safe."
After the Saint Bernard and the Labrador Retriever introduced themselves, they turned to the third dog and asked, "Who are you, brother?"
The third dog appeared to be affronted by the two canine comrades calling him brother. "Can't they see my Grizzly Bear coat? Aren't they afraid that I'll pounce on them?" The Grizzly Bear costume was a little big on him, for he was only a domestic foxhound. But at $24.99 and alterations included, he couldn't pass up the deal. He cleared his throat and tried to growl like a Grizzly. Needless to say, the growl was nothing more than a weird bark. A hound simply cannot speak with a bear's accent.
The two other dogs smiled patiently. Both of them were larger than the grizzly-hound and stronger too. They knew who they were so they didn't have to flaunt their strength. They were quietly confident and certainly not intimidated. "Who are you?" they asked.
"My great-grandfather was king of this mountain and my grandfather was the best hunter in this region..."
The Saint Bernard and the Labrador Retriever flashed a puzzled look at one another and then asked the hound once more, "We didn't ask about your ancestors; we asked about you! "Who are you?"
"Can't you see that I'm a Grizzly Bear?" Again, he tried to growl, but it only made his throat raspy.
The two other dogs once again smiled patiently. Laughing at others was something they would never do. One cannot be happy by treading on others, even if unfortunately they do silly things.
The Labrador put his paw gently on the hound's shoulder and said: "Dear canine cousin, your attempt at being something other than yourself is a double tragedy. No matter how hard you try, you'll never be a Grizzly Bear. And while trying to be a Grizzly Bear, you won't succeed at being yourself."
The hound blushed. The Labrador made a lot of sense. He noticed that while he was  trying to impress them with his pitiful attempt at growling, they didn't even bark. When you know who you are, you don't have to make noise and other extraordinary efforts to call attention to yourself.
The Saint Bernard, with a canny insight as to the needs of others, said in a kind voice, "Hounds are terrific dogs. They have an excellent sense of smell and are highly loyal. Many countries use them in crime and terror prevention. At airports and borders, they can sniff out explosives, narcotics and other illegal contraband. You don't need that costume, dear foxhound friend. You have the capability of being great in your own way. Simply be yourself and know who you are."
The foxhound never heard such encouraging words. he was always envious of the lions, tigers and bears. No one ever named a professional baseball or football team, "The Hounds". He never saw a hound in a prestigious magazine advertisement. But that's all fantasizing. The Labrador Retriever and the Saint Bernard knew how to function in the real world, when conditions aren't always ideal.
He took their advice. He told himself over and over again, "I'm a foxhound. I too am worthy. I was created with my own talents and abilities. I have a phenomenal sense of smell..."
The three dogs trudged through the snow, braving their way on the icy mountain path while the gusts of wind and snow lashed at them like a frozen whip. Thanks to the Saint Bernard, they could warm themselves from time to time. By virtue of the Labrador retriever - the superb guide dog - they found their way even though they could barely see. And thanks to the foxhound, who was finally acting himself, thy found food that saved them from starving. Together, they safely reached their destination.
For you to reach your destination, you must know who you are too.
* * *
We invite you to visit Rabbi Lazer Brody’s award-winning daily web journal Lazer Beams.



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