6 Tamuz 5781 / Wednesday, June 16, 2021 | Torah Reading: Chukat
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The Screeching Halt    

The Screeching Halt

In order to watch TV, surf the net, or blaze the social media network you have to stop moving. You have to bring the momentum of your body and soul to a complete halt…


Hashem’s Name means, “He was, He is, and He will be.”


We, made in His image, are charged to be the same.


We are creatures of momentum. From the first moment we are born to the last we are in a constant state of movement. Our bodies constantly perform an almost infinite number of functions which maintain us, and enable us to grow every moment we draw breath.


There are Commandments which apply to every part of the day. We recite a prayer when we wake up, when we eat, in the morning, afternoon, and night, and right when we go to sleep. There are everyday actions we conduct that require us to say a blessing.


The entire human experience is one of constant action.


That is the key to Godliness. It is also the key to success. We are constantly being asked to keep going.


Lately, more and more commentators condemn our generation for falling behind in our devotion to the mission. They chide brazenness. They chide openness. They chide laziness.


What if it isn’t so much our laziness, but rather the temptations demand idleness? It's extremely difficult to overcome such temptations when the world is telling you that they aren't even bad.


In order to watch TV, surf the net, or blaze the social media network you have to stop moving. You have to bring the momentum of your body and soul to a screeching halt.


If life is motion, then the screeching halt is a living death.


After 30 years of being a professional couch potato I can honestly say the TV destroyed me. When I think about what I just acquired in life without it, and imagine the things I could have done had I realized this sooner, it makes me sick.


I committed the worst crime of all. I let television take away the ability to push beyond my comfort place. I don't mean the zeal to stand up and run 10 miles. It’s the tiny things that destroy. After sitting down for hours at a time, I became addicted to doing everything I could to simply stay put. If it were time to clean my room, I procrastinated. If I had to get to work on time and didn't feel like it, instead of digging in I just ordered a can. If it was a beautiful Sunday morning and Hashem was giving me the greatest opportunity to go outside and breathe His beautiful fresh air, I watched a movie.


It got to a point where I would work harder to remain on the couch more than I did to do something.


Imagine how many dreams in life we sleep through when we become incapable of finding the energy to do anything about making them real. Every success that makes you feel better about yourself requires hurdling those moments where you just don’t want to give it anything today, but push yourself off that comfort place and get to it. When you do, it's always the same result: Ten minutes after you overcome your own flesh you laugh at how easy it is now that you're in flight.


I eventually turned off the TV. It took a while before the comfort place was closed for good, but when it closed the floodgates of greatness opened up. Every time I have a choice between a DVD and a brisk walk in the park, I follow my wife out the door. Whenever there is a chance to go camping for the weekend, all phones go off.


We may have to push ourselves a little to enjoy the finer things in life, but everything tastes sweeter once we do. At first it may feel agonizing to push up against the instinct to lie down, but soon enough it becomes routine. Eventually you get to like it, and soon enough you become addicted to movement.


Then the daily routine of serving Hashem is not enough. In every mitzvah G-d deserves more than what you gave Him the last time.

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