Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
"How many times in one minute can you hop on one foot?" Avi Avraham asked the girls in the Nifgashot workshop. Avi, director of the Coma Center for Advancement and Empowerment, wrote down their answers: 20, 30, maybe 50... and then the girls stood up during the Zoom broadcast, a signal was given, and the girls hopped for one minute. The results were astonishing: 90, 100, even 120 hops.
"You see? Sometimes we underestimate our abilities," Avi said. Through a number of such exercises, he taught us how to focus on our strengths and successes. "We are mainly preoccupied with our failures and our weaknesses, with what we are not good at, but much less on our successes. We are not taught to analyze the successes that reveal our true, if often unexpressed, potential. Everyone here must know how to answer the question: What are you good at? What we're good at should then serve as a starting point for all our future endeavors.
We learned the thoughts of two legendary rabbis on this subject.
Rabbi Yeruchom Levovitz (1873-1936) of the Mir yeshiva in Belarus told his students. "Woe to the one who does not know his weaknesses because he does not know what to fix, but woe ever more to the one who does not know his strengths, since then he does not even know the tools he has for fixing."
Rabbi Baruch of Mezhibuz (1753-1811) suggested a radical interpretation of a verse in Psalm 145. This psalm constitutes the Ashrei prayer, recited three times daily, which lists the qualities of God. However, whereas verse 12 of this psalm is typically understood as "To inform human beings of His strengths," Rabbi Baruch explained it as: "To inform human beings of their strengths." We must make people aware of their enormous strengths. People do not know the extent of their power. It's a mitzvah to inform and teach them about the awesome forces that lie within.
Thanks, Avi. And now you, too, are invited to hop on one foot for one minute, and count...