Parshas Tetzaveh

Rabbi Gidon Goldberg's picture

Dear Parents,

On behalf of the entire board, staff, and parent body, we would like to congratulate the NEAT students on another most successful production. Special thanks to the production heads, Meira Shleifer and Elka Taitelbaum, as well as their advisor, Goldie Taitelbaum. We wish Goldie a heartfelt mazel tov on her wedding. Mazel tov to the dance, song, drama, prop, and lighting heads for all of their hard work. By all counts, the NEAT students shined once again in their amazing production.

Part Two: Can Raw, Natural Talent Create Success on Its Own?
Based on an article by Rabbi Shmuel Gluck
Since natural talent by itself can present a danger to people, those who have above-average natural talents should consider the following points:
1)   It’s common for people with above-average strengths to also have above-average weaknesses. For example, great salesmen often have ADD, and intelligent people are often more impatient. People should acknowledge their possible weaknesses and focus on growing in those areas. Otherwise, their strengths will not lead to success.

2) Everyone requires discipline and focus in order to succeed. When interviewing potential employees, I used to look exclusively for talent. Today I look for learned skills, such as commitment, loyalty, discipline, and focus. These skills never come naturally and must always be patiently learned. People with natural skills lack patience more than most other people. Their initial successes in any venture that they undertake hides the reality that they never had a chance for long-term success. 

 3) People with natural talents often have a short-sighted definition of success. They may have earned twice as much as their closest competitors and considered that "number" to be proof of their success. They ignored the fact that their competitors had saved up significant money and purchased homes during that time while they themselves were burdened with credit card debt from impulsive decisions and lack of money management skills. Instead, they see their lack of money not as a result of their personal life patterns, but as nothing more than numerous exceptions to who they "really" are. What may be even more dangerous is that they believe they no longer have the faults that they used to have. When they repeat the same mistakes, they explain their failures as anomalies. This allows them to believe that their recent failures were, again, something "new" and, again, something they would never repeat.

 4) People with natural talents mistakenly believe that they are team players. They believe that they work well with others and deny to themselves that the times they did not come to work, or follow up with phone conferences, were exceptions.

 5) People with natural talents believe that others will be more forgiving of them, because they recognize them as "different." They see themselves as privileged due to their talents and can break rules to which everyone else must adhere. Although this may be true, within a short time their inability to follow up with their responsibilities, and not their strengths, becomes their most glaring trait. This causes their relationships to erode, until they find that no one trusts or respects them.

People who are blessed by Hashem with above-average talents have a responsibility to utilize those strengths appropriately. Their weaknesses don't "cancel" their responsibilities. Their weaknesses become their personal nisyonos (tests), the individual challenges that were given to them, along with their strengths. Hashem and their families should expect greatness from them; indeed, they should expect greatness from themselves. My brachah to them is that they should rise to the challenge and succeed.

As the dean of PHDS, I often share with my students ten two-letter magical words that help students to succeed: “If it is to be, it is up to me.” True success in any venture requires grit and hard work. May Hashem bless us all to use our natural talents along with hard work to achieve even greater success.

Good Shabbos,
Rabbi Peretz Scheinerman