Can you check off these items? If not, which one will you strengthen?
The purpose of this checklist is to focus your attention to areas you may want to improve. Look over this list and choose one area you are motivated to address. Just focus on that area and once you have strengthened it, check it off and choose another one. Many of these areas contain multiple levels of fulfillment and are discussed in greater detail in my other articles.
Between us and our fellow:
- Don’t harm emotionally. Do I do my best not to hurt people emotionally or cause them distress in any way? (For example, family members, employees, etc.)
Ways I may have harmed others include: Being hyper-critical, shaming them, calling them names, making hurtful comments, ignoring them or speaking negatively about them. (If anyone comes to mind who you have emotionally harmed, ask them for forgiveness.)
- Don’t harm financially. Do I do my best not to hurt people financially?
Ways I may have harmed others financially include: Being late in agreed upon payments, withholding monies belonging to others, not keeping my word or taking advantage of people. (If anyone comes to mind who you have financially harmed, make amends and ask for forgiveness).
- Do acts of kindness. Do I give generously to charity, according to my means? At least weekly, do I spend time helping others?
(Be on the lookout for opportunities to be of assistance to others, e.g., giving emotional or material support, advice, or helping someone find a job, a spouse or a needed resource.)
Between us and God:
- Show proper reverence for the sanctuary. Do I show proper respect for the sanctuary by not talking to others during the prayer service and by not leaving the service when the stirring words from the Prophets are being read (during the Haftorah)?
- Pray formally and informally. Do I recite daily at least one prayer with intention? Do I connect with God during the day, thanking Him for what goes right and asking for His help with challenges?
- Study Torah. Do I set aside time on a regular basis to study God’s Torah?
- Avoid spiritual pollution. Do I do my best to stay away from temptation and spiritual pollution?
For example, as best I can, do I stay away from morally loose environments and am I discriminating in what I read, watch and listen to, avoiding that which harms me spiritually?
(Strongly consider an internet filter; http://www.k9webprotection.com is one possibility available for free.)
- Observe the commandments. Do I do my best to observe the commandments?
For example, observing Shabbat and the festivals, keeping kosher, the laws of Family Purity, yichud (forbidden seclusion), negiah (forbidden touch), etc. (If not, you can focus on a particular commandment you are motivated to strengthen your observance of.)
This High Holiday season, which area do you choose to strengthen?
To read Yaakov’s currently free e-book, “Inspired: 30 Days to a More Meaningful and Fulfilling Life,” click here. You can visit Yaakov’s new website, www.thechazakplan.com for free audio classes and other articles.
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.