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Sunday, 20 April 2014

Are you really achieving or are you just putting out fires?


Beitzah 22

Today’s Life Yomi has been dedicated by Hal Zalmanowitz in memory of his uncle, Ansel Mark, Osher Anshel ben Moshe z”l.  May the neshama have an aliya and may he be a gutter better (a good advocate) for the family and for klal Yisroel.

“I’m so busy, but I never seem to be able to get anything done!  What’s going on with my life?  I feel so overwhelmed, Rabbi.”  Mrs. Shpitz looked like she would collapse right there in my office.
“Well, let’s do a productivity assessment,” I said, “tell me how your typical day looks.”
“Are you kidding me, rabbi?  I am at peak productivity. I tell you, every day is jam-packed with important tasks.”

On Shabbos, one may not add fuel to a fire.  On Yom Tov, although one may not light or extinguish a flame, it is permissible to add fuel to an existing fire.  However, one may not syphon oil from a burning flame, because it is a form of extinguishing.

Tosfos explains that as you syphon off the oil, the flame momentarily gets weaker, which is akin to extinguishing. 

Sometimes we feel that we are so busy that our lives must be full of accomplishments.  But often we’ve spent our days running around putting out fires.  Had we planned our goals a little better, we would have achieved solid results.

Little do you realize that you are syphoning off fuel – you are sapping yourself of energy – but all you are really doing is putting out the fires in your life!    You feel extremely busy – so you figure that you must be achieving something.  But in reality, you’re not really achieving anything tangible at all. 

It’s time to start planning your life!  Take a notepad and write down your goals.  Then work backwards.  How are you going to achieve those goals?  Make a daily schedule for yourself so that you can see exactly what you need to do each day in order to arrive at your destination. 

With the right plan, you can achieve anything you put your mind to! 


Life Yomi dedications don’t cost a penny!  To dedicate a day of learning in honour of a birthday, anniversary or yortzeit, all you need to do is commit to sending the Life Yomi of the day (or another Life Yomi teaching of your choice) to 18 (chai) people!  You needn’t provide us with the names of recipients; all we need is the honouree’s name and occasion.  For more details, please email rabbi@familyshul.org