Posted on | October 19, 2010 | By Guest Contributor | 21 Comments
By Rucheli Manville
Shalom to everyone here at BeyondBT, my name is Rucheli. I’m a recent graduate of the University of Central Florida and I’m now spending the year at the Mayanot Seminary in Yerushalayim. Over the course of my time here, I hope to share some of the insights gained while at a school specifically designed for Baalet Teshuva, such as this one. Please leave your feedback and responses so that we can all learn and grow together!
The Mayanot girls were lucky enough on Sept. 28th to have Rabbi Shmuley Boteach join us for breakfast and Chassidus in the sukkah. Rabbi Boteach said a “quick 30 second thought” for about 30 minutes having to do with the root of all fears… the fear of being insignificant. It really hit home for a lot of us. His premise is that every true fear (not talking about phobias of spiders, etc.) that we have in life has to do with the fear of being insignificant. The fear of death, the fear of being alone, the fear of being poor; all of them stem from the insecurity generated by the fear of being insignificant.
The result of this fear is that we spend our entire lives trying to do something to prove our significance to the world. We work hard for good grades so that we can get into the best college to get the best degree to make the most money so that we can “be someone” in the financial world. We sacrifice our family lives in order to work extra hours for that promotion so that we can “be someone” in the company. We give up our own needs and wants to fulfill the needs and wants of others so that we can “be someone” that the people around us want us to be. We spend so much time doing things that we never actually get to just BE ourselves.
Something incredible happened when Rabbi Boteach was telling us all of this… a revelation of sorts about why I’m here. I worked in high school to get good grades and good SAT scores so that I could get a scholarship to go to college. I went to college on scholarship and worked hard to get good internships. I held leadership positions in countless extracurricular activities to boost my resume. I worked my butt off to get a great job when I graduated so that I could do something with my life.
The time came to graduate, and the job offer that I worked so hard to get came my way. And I turned it down.
People called me crazy. My family worried that I did so much to get to where I was and then I just let the offer sit there; they worried I would never use my degree. My friends couldn’t believe that I was turning down the kind of opportunity that we had all set our eyes on for the last five years of our lives… longer, 18 years of education! But I said “no thanks, I’m going to Israel.”
Maybe I’m crazy.
Or maybe I’m tired of doing, doing, doing.
So I bought a one way ticket to the other side of the world, to a place where I don’t have to DO anything. Here, I can just BE. I can be myself, I can return to my essential soul, to my natural state of existence. Yes, I’m still learning. Yes, I’m still “doing” things. But the reasons for my actions have changed entirely, because for once I’m not trying to do something in order to do something else in order to get something that society sees as a quintessential part of being significant. Instead, I just get to live.
I think that for the first time, I’ve finally realized what it means to be free.
Next time you’re busy doing, take a moment to think about what you need in order to just be who you really are. And if you’ve had that moment where you realize you are truly free to live your life, please share!
Originally posted here.