As the secular new year begins, perhaps the topic most discussed is of course our resolutions! We resolve to better ourselves in a variety of ways.
Me too. Except I heard on the radio this morning that more than 80% of resolutions never materialize at all! So this year I am going make a slight change to my resolutions.
I resolve to turn each resolution into a "Kavanah!" With this Jewish secret weapon behind me, my resolutions will be fortified enabling me to stick to them!
So what is this magic Hebrew word, Kavanah? It is actually a powerful Jewish practice which means to establish an extremely strong intention.
There are numerous expressions of this concept of Kavanah in Judaism. "Hineni" (Here I am) is one of them. When G-D called upon many in the bible such as Abraham, Isaac, and some of the prophets their response was "Hineni," It translates as "Here I AM." "Hineni" means I am ready physically and spiritually to perform this task asked by G-d with all my soul and might.
This laser sharp intention which stops at nothing, "Hineni" is said before the performance of many of our prayers and mitzvot. It actually raises our spiritual vibration into a higher plateau so that our prayers and mitzvot will truly be effective.
Another concept stemming from "Kavanah," sacred intention, is "Leshem Shamayim" (For the Sake of Heaven.) Everything we do, every thought we have, every word we utter should be for perpetuating the holiness of G-D. Being in this mindful state keeps us in a state of gratitude and from taking things for granted throughout the day. Our thoughts and intentions remain strong and sharp and our tasks are performed effectively.
So G-d, as we begin 2016, "Hineni," Here I am. For "Leshem Shamayim" the Sake of Heaven, I resolve to better myself, to perform Your mitzvot, to do good not only for others but for myself as well. And that includes making wise choices to stay healthy.
And while we are at it, G-d, may my actions radiate out into the world and help others to be happy and healthy! . After all, happy and healthy people make for a better world! And what can be a greater Mitzvah than that!
May we all be blessed with Health, Happiness, Prosperity and Peace in 2016!