Sunday, November 28, 2010

They will ask me why I wasn't as great as Zusha.

It is told that the great Chasidic master, Reb Zusha of Anapoli, cried bitterly as he lay on his deathbed. His students, who had gathered around their master during his final hours, wondered, "Dear Rebbe, you have molded so many students and you have done so much good in the world. Why are you crying?"

The rabbi answered, "Soon I will no longer be here. I will be facing the Heavenly Court. They will not ask me why I was not as great as Moses was, because I was not supposed to be as great. They will not ask me why I was not as great as Maimonides, because I was not supposed to be. They will not ask me why I was not as great as the Baal Shem Tov, because I was not supposed to be. They will ask me why I wasn't as great as Zusha. And for this I do not have an answer."

God gives every individual certain abilities and talents. It is up to each one of us to find and use these abilities to the fullest. This does not mean that every person must familiarize himself with Torah like the Vilna Gaon, compose music like Beethoven, or paint like Van Gogh. The talents bestowed on us may not be the same as the ones possessed by those individuals. It is every person's purpose in life to find what treasures lay within him. He must then use those gifts to the greatest of his ability for the service of God and man.


The piece above was taken from the following Jewish web site:

The above story often comes to mind but it was not until recently that I chose to accept it and follow it. During times of frustration, I suggest others read this story again.

Pretty much each week, I find myself extremely frustrated. If I hadn’t started buzzing my hair short again, I would probably be pulling it out and end up looking like Homer Simpson.

I have to apologize for my lack of posts over the last several months. There has been so much going through my mind and I have actually written a few posts and have them saved on my computer but have not posted them because they seem incomplete and scrambled to me.

There have been times over the past several months when I have been really down. “Why am I not doing so well?” I would ask myself. I have been working harder than all my classmates. I hardly get much sleep, I spend all day/night in my books or staring at a computer screen, I cannot remember the last time I did something fun, I have not exercised in forever, I am barely making it in terms of grades, I am unhappy with the way things are going everyday… the list could go on.

So what’s my problem? Comparing myself to others.

Constantly comparing the work I am putting in and the results I am getting to others has been very detrimental. I have to remind myself to compare me to me. Am I working to the best of my abilities? Or am I just fooling myself? Is there something I could do more efficiently? Why am I having trouble?

If we do the best that we can do, how can we be disappointed? We shouldn’t try to be as good as someone else, we should try our best to be as good as ourselves. Now, are we doing our absolute best? After calming down and realizing this simple concept, we can watch our efficiency and our contentment go up. I’ll read that above story again. Try it out.


  1. Thanks for the post, Inshallah, I hope the best for you.

  2. Great post Hammad!

    This is something that I've been trying to come to terms with myself as well. It's been so hard trying to hold myself to my own standards rather than some false standard that I construct based on the way other people perform. I think we're raised to achieve a certain rank at the expense of the other person rather than considering your own personal progress. With med school applications and this really hard grad immunology class I'm in with all PhD students, I've definitely lost sight of my own accomplishments a few times, wondering what other people have and I lack...but like you said, it's important to not judge yourself against some golden cannon based on others but rather be honest to yourself

    I'm pretty sure i got the lowest grade on the last test in that immunology class, but being honest to myself, I know I didn't prepare hard enough and even studying the amount that I did wasn't enough, and i think i knew that walking into the test... I know inshallah you'll achieve great things and definitely demolish the rest of your med school classes and hopefully post the secret to success on this blog so i can cite it for next year haha

    best of luck

  3. don't forget - skipping a class to get some sleep in or taking some time to blow off an assignment and get some recreation in is critical. keeping your mood elevated and reminding yourself about the things you enjoy will have a positive impact on your overall performance. don't forget that!

  4. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be. I wrote down "happy". They told me I didn't understand the assignment and I told them they didn't understand life.