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As a young teen struggling to find my purpose in the vastness of our world, I recall seeking the advice of my dear mentor, world-scholar Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz. His poignant words have stayed with me until this very day: "Pini," he said affectionately. "Instead of asking what you want, look at your entire self - with all of your inner gifts and talents - in the mirror, and ask yourself what you, and only you, can and must become."

Rabbi Allouche

“Most people are other people,” Oscar Wilde once wrote. “Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions… their lives a mimicry.”

In our day and age, Wilde’s words ring compellingly true.

On Facebook and Instagram, for example, we can easily fool ourselves into believing that we are better, stronger, and prettier than the person we occasionally meet in the mirror. In this imaginary world, in which we may even have thousands of “friends,” only the most self-gratifying photos are posted, any foe can be blocked, and we are able to connect and “like” celebrities and megastars as if we really have a meaningful relationship with them.

On Twitter, we can easily fall into the illusion that we are loved and valued, just because we have hundreds or thousands of followers.

And as if this weren’t enough, computer games often give our youngsters a misleading perception that they are ninjas and snipers, entertainers, and sports stars.

As a young teen struggling to find my purpose in the vastness of our world, I recall seeking the advice of my dear mentor, world-scholar Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz. His poignant words have stayed with me until this very day: “Pini,” he said affectionately. “Instead of asking what you want, look at your entire self – with all of your inner gifts and talents – in the mirror, and ask yourself what you, and only you, can and must become.”

He was right. Seeking to actualize our skills and talents, and the Divine calling within ourselves and in every moment, will help us live meaningfully and purposefully. Asking what we want in the here and now, may just lead us into becoming a poor imitation of the rich neighbor we envy, the sports star we like, and the politician we follow.

As we together march into the last days of Passover, beginning tonight until Saturday evening, in which we will celebrate the miracle of the splitting of the Red Sea, it is high time we too “split our own seas” and unearth our inner “I.”

Let us live a life that is true to our unique, Divine, and limitless self, as we pay heed to the sweet voice deep within our seas that never stops calling upon us to fulfill our Divine purpose in life with actions of goodness and deeds of kindness.

I look forward to celebrating with you these last days of Passover, starting tonight, as we will together celebrate the splitting of the Red Sea,  by our ancestors, and hopefully, by us too.
 
See you at CBT for services!

With warm wishes for a Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Allouche