IN YOUR ACTIONS
by Rabbi Michoel Gourarie
Today I would like to share with you something personal.
Just over a month ago my older brother, Yossi Gourarie, tragically passed away in the USA. This past Tuesday marked the "Shloshim" (the 30 day period). In the past month I have thought about him a lot. But I have also been trying to apply the wise words of King Solomon "and the living shall take to heart". These words encourage us not just to mourn a loss but to identify the legacy and the strengths of the loved one, reflect on those values and to put them into practice.
Let me share with you some of my thoughts:
I don't think I ever heard my brother say a bad word about anyone. But upon reflection I do not believe it was because of the evil of gossip. Rather it stemmed from a unique ability to see the good in everyone. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. The challenge when interacting with others is to look past the negative and focus on the good.
This wonderful attribute went even further. After he took ill many family members and lots of friends called him. Often people would say something like: "Yossi you are in our thoughts."
To which he would respond:
"I don't want to be in your thoughts - I want to be in your actions."
He said this because he lived it. His positive view of others like all his other strengths were not just theories - they were translated into good deeds.
In Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) we are taught: "not study but practice is the main thing". The intention of this passage is certainly not to devalue study. It is a warning that study that remains theoretical misses the point. The value of study is when it translates into tangible deeds.
The lesson is clear:
We shouldn't just think positively about others - we should do something for another person each day
We shouldn't just explore the Torah academically - we should add one more mitzvah.
Let us graduate from thought to action today and make the world a better place.