Sunday, March 24, 2013

Fulfill Your Potential

Last night, Saturday 3/23, I co-officiated Alicia and Adam's wedding with the bride's uncle, Dr. Paul Silvestri, at the Petroleum Club in Houston, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

When I sat down to write these remarks, and thought of Alicia and Adam, I remembered a story I once heard about a great rabbi, who lived in the 18th century. The rabbi's name was Rabbi Zusha of Anipoli. Rabbi Zusha was speaking to his students, and he said that when he came before God, he knew God would probably ask him some questions. He said that if God said to him, "Zusha, why weren't you Moses?" (In other words, why did you not live up to the potential of Moses), he could easily say, "God, you didn't make me with Moses' potential." "However," Rabbi Zusha said, "If God says to me, 'Zusha, why weren't you Zusha (In other words, why did you not live up to your OWN potential)?' now that will be a worthy question..."

Now, why did thinking about Alicia and Adam remind me of this story? Well, because though they are relatively young, one of the things that struck me about them is how answering this question, in the here and now, has been implicitly important to them. These two as individuals and as a couple have lived lives, where they constantly strive to better themselves and truly live up to their potential. From excelling at sports, to scholastic achievement to professional prowess, these two have never settled. They have truly tried to fulfill their potential.

Now there is a question that Rabbi Zusha does not explicitly address, and that is, how do you know what your potential is, and where it lies? I think that if you analyze the way that Alicia and Adam have lived there lives, once again, they provide a cogent answer. You need to be unafraid to try new things, you need to think outside the box, you even need to make some mistakes. Like Alicia and Adam, you have to be self aware, live an introspective life, and strive to become a better person in the process.

Alicia and Adam, as you enter into married life, what we wish for you is simple. Continue to live your lives in just this fashion, and fulfill your potential.

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