Elul 26: Discover Hope ~ Rabbi Maurice Lamm

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There is an enormous, untouched potential inside every one of us. It is hope. And hope’s incredible power enables us to survive.

Hope contains spectacular power, a power that seems as though it captured bits of the bursting energy of creation. Psychologists at major universities are now discovering that hope is potent and that it plays a significant role in a wide variety of human endeavors – in school, on the job, and in the family. Hope also provides immeasurable benefits for our physical health and for all forms of depression.

Hope can make us better prepared for our own promotions. It can make us better able to manage daily stresses and setbacks. It can help us ride out severe personal crises and cope with critical illnesses. It can even enable us to enhance the way we handle our own aging and to be more satisfied with life.

This spiritual quality of our hope can enable us to grow personally, to look with optimism to the future, to broaden our horizons, and to dream the dreams that make people great.

But there is a difficult task we must first tackle, and it takes purposeful and mindful thinking: we must materialize hope and give it shape. We must take a sensation and make it into a structure. We need to analyze what hope is capable of doing, extract it from the entanglement of cobwebbed daydreams, raise it up from romantic wishing wells, and then distill it for our own purpose and use it to help humankind.

Rabbi Maurice Lamm holds a chair in Rabbinics at Yeshiva University and is President of the National Institute for Jewish Hospice. www.nijh.org