Don’t Grow it Alone

We had a wonderful young BT couple over for lunch recently and we were discussing two of the main attractions to Torah observance, the values of the community and the search for truth that a life of Torah entails. However I think I would add a third pillar and that is the pursuit of continual growth found among so many members of the Torah Observant community.

Growth is hard, whether it be emotional growth, intellectual growth or spiritual growth. It is made harder by the fact that a growth oriented person never rests on his or her laurels. There is always another level. You may have successfully worked long and hard on dealing with anger, envy and honor but there’s still another step you can take, and another step after that.

Dr. Carol Dweck of Stanford has helped put a growth Mindset on the agenda of the secular world, but it is just a pebble’s ripple when compared to wealth of insights, strategies and nuances that the sea of Torah contains. But it’s not easy. We each have our own individual challenges in we have to find and apply the right prescriptions for our own unique situations day in and day out.

Thankfully the Torah observant world is full of people working on growing. In my little corner of the Torah Observant world in Kew Gardens Hills, I’m constantly surrounded by FFBs and BTs who understand that life is growth and pursue it with a passion. We have our faults. We have our disagreements. We have our struggles. But I’m so thankful to the local and worldwide Torah Community where we Don’t Grow it Alone.

4 comments on “Don’t Grow it Alone

  1. Shoshana, thanks for sharing your experience. As you point out, life’s distractions can make it difficult to work on growth. The Mesillas Yesharim agrees with you and says that’s worldly distractions are the first major impediment to spiritual growth.

    That’s why we need one another to support and encourage each other to try to focus on growth. Thanks again for your contribution.

  2. Mr. Cohen, I agree that it can be very difficult to focus on spiritual growth when you are dealing with major problems. But my life observations have been that it is possible. My understanding of Derech Hashem and Mesillas Yesharim is that Hashem wants our primary goal in life to be spiritual growth. The form that spiritual growth takes differs depending on the person, the situation and his prior spiritual development.

  3. I recently saw someone I haven’t really spoken to in years. I have seen her quickly for a hello, how are you but haven’t really spoken to her with any depth.

    She was currently sitting shiva, and I got to see the side of her I didn’t see from the quick hello-Gut Yom Tov we usually exchange.

    And after listening to her speak, I said to myself …. what have you been doing with yourself for the last twenty years!!! I see her total focus on ruchnius and midos and speaking softly, with derech eretz, her emuna in the light of tragic circumstances and the midos-dik children she’s raised. These things are not “put on” but were real, through years of work and growth.

    I hope the tragedy she experienced will not be in vain and maybe many were inspired as I was to try to do the same. My excuses are – I’m a very busy working mother – no time to focus on these details, to daven, to learn something, to take the time to say a brocha more carefully. But I will try to be more “growth” focused from now on.

    So thank you for your reminder as well and I hope my words will resonate with others as well.

  4. If your primary goal in life is spiritual growth, then I suspect that your health and wealth are very successful, otherwise you would find it very difficult to focus on spiritual growth.

    For those people who have serious problems with: health, money, housing, government agencies, or personal safety, it is very difficult to focus on spiritual growth, and just struggling to survive is a noble fight.

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