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9.02 בטחון – Bitachon, Trust and Hope

Written by cheri

בטחון Bitachon – Trust, Hope

The power of  is summed up well by the Buddist munk, Thich Nhat Hanh.  His quest for peace, which began within the conflict of the war in Vietnam has been an inspiration to many around the world.  Currently, he recovering from a major stroke which has taken away his ability to speak or walk on his own.  Thich Nhat Hahn taught,“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.”.

In the תנ׳ך, King Hezekiah was an incredible figure. He was central in protecting Jerusalem from the onslaught of ancient Assyria in the 8th C. BCE, guided the Jewish people with morality and goodness and stood up to the corrupt forces of his time. The secret to his success… “trust”, as we see in the following story.

He was once deathly ill and the prophet Isaiah had the sad task of telling him his time to die had come.In response, Hezekiah declared “Let your prophecy end here,for I have learned from my father just as he learned from his father before him, that even if the sharp sword rests on ones neck, he must never give up hope” (for the full story, see Talmud Bavli, Berakhot 10a).

Hezekiah did live past that day and what he accomplished with his attitude is a powerful example for all of us. He had trust in the goodness present in the world, even when its light was dim. When his life did come to an end, it was with the conviction that the world was heading in the right direction. We too, can trust that with our commitment to our highest ideals, we can move ourselves toward an ever better reality.

imagesDr. Martin Luther King Jr. embodied this same trust. He worked tirelessly, trusting that through all our efforts we would reach a better world. Though, as he somberly said, he might not be there to witness it, he never doubted we would get there. This existential trust is not a naive notion, it is the silent force that pushes us to pursue our brightest dreams.

The Science of Hope:  Psychologist have found that higher levels of Hope correlate with better academic performance, better athletic performance, and increased health and well-being. Several studies have shown  higher levels of hope suggest higher semester and over-all grade point averages for college students (Chang, 1998, Curry, Snyder, Cook, Ruby, & Rehm, 1997).  Research of Div. I track athletes showed that those who scored higher on a study of hopefulness were rated significantly higher by coaches for their “natural athletic ability” (Curry et al., 1997).  It was also found that high-hope women reported stronger intentions to engage in prevention activities than low-hope women (Harney, 1990).

מחשבה/Machshava – think about it
When we hear new ideas or set personally meaningful goals, let’s not shy away from thinking big and going for it

מעשה- Ma’aseh -Try it
This week, let’s do some actions we might have dismissed earlier with the thought of “it won’t make a difference anyway” and this time give it a chance to flourish and succeed

6.19 Valleydictorians

Written by cheri

Ventura Boulevard magazine July 2015 — Meet the valedictorians from high schools across the Valley. See where they are going to college in the fall and listen to some of their inspiring, poignant graduation day speeches. Indeed, the future looks bright...read more

Best friends change the way students volunteer

Written by cheri

Jewish Journal 6-18-15 –Edan Evenhaim and Noah Emanuel, recent graduates of New Community Jewish High School (NCJHS), may have created a website that completely revolutionizes the concept of community service, but that didn’t get them out of their school’s 52-hour community service requirement before donning a cap and gown……read more