Word of the Day

Elul 18, 5779
September 18, 2019

Zerizut (sometimes translated as enthusiasm) is less about attitude and more about persistence. In taking on a commitment or responsibility, we must be committed to seeing that task through to completion. We will be more likely to do so when we embrace that task with sustained positive energy.

    From our Sources

There are two different aspects to the trait of zerizut , which can be translated as enthusiasm, zeal or alacrity. The first is to be quick to take action…. When windows of opportunity open in your life, these may also be invitations from God. Are you quick to recognize and act on the ones that are for the good? The second aspect of enthusiasm involves finding and expressing the energy needed to complete a task. As important as it is to be quick off the mark, it is equally important to sustain energy throughout the whole enterprise. It’s so common for people to begin something with a tank full of enthusiasm, only to grind to a halt when they hit a delay or when some unforeseen obstruction arises, they get bored, or something else gets in the way. It takes enthusiasm not to bog down, wander off, or pull up midcourse, but to press on to finish the good deed with rigor. With regard to this, the Sages said, “A mitzvah is judged only upon its completion.” As much as we like to comfort ourselves otherwise, good intentions are not good enough.
-Alan Morinis, Everyday Holiness

If you see in yourself a tendency toward laziness or procrastination, or maybe more drifting with the current than actively rowing in a certain direction, then you have identified that  zerizut  is on your spiritual curriculum. The way to address that situation and to grow in that  middah  is to cultivate love. Love the people with whom you share relationships. Love your goals. Love your commitments and your obligations. Love your body and its challenges. Love your community and love your Creator.
-Alan Morinis, www.mussarinstitute.org


How much enthusiasm and follow-through do you bring to the task to which you commit yourself?
As you look over the past year, are there areas where your enthusiasm carried you through perceived obstacles? 
Are there good intentions that fell by the wayside because your enthusiasm petered out?
How can adopting an attitude of love help in the pursuit of your goals this year?