May the Kadosh Baruch Hu, the Holy One, bless you and
all those you love with a new year of good health,
peace, fulfillment and the love of family, friends
L'shanah tovah tikateivu לשנה טובה תכתבו
Rabbi Amy Levin
Am I Harder Than Stone?
Then one day, Akiva was standing by the mouth of a well. He noticed that the water dripped out; and his gaze followed the drip to a bowl shaped stone. He wondered aloud: "Who hollowed out this stone?" "Akiva," he was told, "haven't you read in the book of Job that 'water wears away stone?' It is the constant drip of the water day after day, which created the hollow in the rock."
At that moment Akiva came to a realization. "Is my mind harder than stone?" he asked himself. "I will go and study at least one section of Torah!" He went directly to the schoolhouse, where he began to read with his son. First the teacher wrote an alef and a bet, and he learned to read them. Like the dripping water, he worked his way through the entire Hebrew alphabet, letter by letter. Then he learned the book of Leviticus, and finally the entire Torah and the Oral Law. In the end, Akiva became one of the greatest sages there has ever been.
The story of Rabbi Akiva's beginning contains a great truth about life. Our most significant accomplishments do not come about in one grand moment. They are earned gradually over time, little by little. If we were to try to accomplish our goals in one fell swoop, we would give up, thinking the task impossible.
Transformation requires patient determination. What we need most is to be like Rabbi Akiva. To look at the well of Torah and ask ourselves, "Am I harder than stone?" Drip by drip, day by day, challenge by challenge, we can make ourselves over again, and release our spirits trapped in the stone.