ben goldfarb 88.
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The Kotzker Rebbe, (1787 - 1859), once said that although he might be capable of resurrecting the dead, he prefers to bring the living back to life. I think his words ring as true today as they did 150 years ago. We are living in a society in which great numbers of our fellow human beings are having "near-life" experiences.
Apart from brain dead activity such as hanging out at the mall or listening to people who begin every sentence with the word "like", I am the first to admit that I have had some brief episodes of near-life experiences in the past. Two examples of my momentary slumber are my junior year of high school and my life during most of the Reagan administration.
Having identified the problem, how can we go about solving it? How do we wake up and stay conscious long enough to live a full, meaningful life and still manage to pay our electricity bills on time?
Before I answer that question, I must identify one of the culprits that prevent us from living a purposeful and aware life. The perpetrator is TV, or more specifically, watching it. The other culprit is call waiting, but that subject is way beyond the scope of this column.
The exceptions to this attack on TV are Seinfeld reruns and some children's shows. I grew up on "Captain Kangaroo", which, by the way, was very uncomfortable. Nonetheless, this show had a positive impact on me. To many of you who know me, this may explain a lot of things about my personality.
That being said, TV makes it difficult for us Homo Sapiens to decide what is real and what isn't. Television lulls us into a near-life experience mindset, even though watching TV can often lead to winning cash and valuable prizes.
The Talmud labels sleep as 1/60th of death. If TV existed when the Talmud was redacted, I think the Rabbis would label death as 1/60th of TV.
I don't want to sound like an extremist. I know there are gray areas between life and death. One example that pops to mind is listening to President Bush at a press conference.
Once we identify the elements in our existence that nurture life and not its opposite, we can then run a simple test to see if we are sleeping or truly alive.
I call this the pinch test. Pinch yourself and see if you respond. If you don't respond, you might be asleep, or your might be watching "Leave it to Beaver" reruns. If you don't feel the pinch, you may not be applying enough pressure with your fingers or you may not understand the fundamental mechanics of pinching.
Once we've taken this test, we should look at our life and divide up our activities into two categories: Category A and B.
Category A activities help us, directly or indirectly, acquire this world Olam Hazeh and the world to come Olam Habah.
Category B activities help us, directly or indirectly, earn Office Depot discount points.
The choice is ours. Eternal bliss basking in the light of the Divine Presence, or purchasing electric pencil sharpeners that break the day after the warranty expires.
There is no judgment going on here. Whatever path we choose, we should pursue it with alacrity, seriousness, and an eye to upgrading our laptop computers.
I believe with all of my heart and soul in life after death. I also subscribe to the notion of life after birth. That being said, I suggest we all live our lives fully and consciously, even if we go through our existence with unsharpened pencils.
Ben Goldfarb was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, and is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. He moved to Israel in 1988. He divides his time between his yeshiva studies and his coaching practice. His life calling is to help others understand their personal mission and accomplish it with humor, creativity, and spirituality. He lives with his wife and children in Jerusalem. His book, "Double Feature: A Nostalgic Peek into the Future" will be published in the spring. For more information about his coaching practice, visit the Paradigm Shift Communications website, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Â© Copyright 2007 by Ben Goldfarb
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