Rabbi Nachman of Breslov once told his disciples that he wants “Chasidim and disciples of a higher level.”
His students were puzzled.
They could not understand what their Rabbi meant exactly.
They thought that the Rabbi was referring to a lofty and esoteric level.
Finally, Rabbi Nachman explained to them:
“I want my disciples to be more rich, more studious, more doers.”
This is also my goal.
I also want my students to be more rich, more studious, more doers.
Perhaps not in all three categories, but at least in one of them.
I ask you: a year has gone by; was I successful in creating such students?
Someone asked me to share with you some of my life memories.
Truth be told – I have nothing exciting to tell you.
I never hiked the Himalayas.
I never went to the moon.
I never killed a lion, although, I did manage to get hold of a lion’s skin, at the age of ten-years-old, to compare my hair-color to his.
To my fascination, it was identical!
But after seventy five years, this is the real memory I hope to take with me, in this world and in the next:
I want to create memories in forms of people who are pleasant-looking.
Not externally, but internally.
People of character and of action, in whom I can take pride in, as stated in the verse: “Israel, in whom I take glory” (Isaiah 49:3).
A ninety-four year old friend gave me today an 18-year-old whiskey in honor of my birthday.
The real gift, for which I am truly thankful, was the mere fact that he came to see me at such an age.
But if you want to give me a birthday gift, I plead you, make something of yourselves.
Be more. Do more. Become more.
Let the fire of G-d burn within you.
And strive to grow into beings of “glory before G-d” and beings of “glory before others,” (Ethics of our Fathers, Chapter 2:1).
-Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz