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Sweat the Small Stuff!

Wednesday, 13 August, 2014 - 9:39 pm

There are two well-known expressions: ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff’ and ‘It’s the Little Things That Count’. The words small and little are synonyms, they mean the same thing. Something that is not the usual size is small. That mitzvah that I have not done in a while is one of the “small stuff” that I did not sweat. However when I do sweat it, when I actually perform the mitzvah, it changes into one of those little things that count. It may be “a small step for man, but it is a giant thing for all mankind”.

Next time something “small” but meaningful comes your way, sweat it and make it into a “little” thing that counts.

The same can be applied to raising children. We all want our children to be passionate about their heritage so we do big things with them; a big Bar or Bat Mitzvah, we make a big deal about a Jewish holiday or two etc. Yet, sweating the “small stuff”, like kosher, Shabbat, tefillinand tzedakah, we often overlook.

When trying to teach children to speak, the experts say there is no such thing as too much exposure. We see this as well when trying to inculcate a love for yiddishkeit; the best way is exposure, and lots of it. When our children hear us speak words of Torah, they will follow suit.  

When our children see us sweat in order to do the “small stuff”, they learn that it is of value to us and that it counts.

In this week’s Torah portion (and in the 2nd paragraph of the Shema) it says “And you shall teach them to your children to speak with them”. Them refers to the words of Torah. We are taught to teach our children how to speak by using words of Torah and not via baby Einstein or any other product. Disclaimer – it is never too late: If your children are older (even if they won’t admit it) they still look at what you do and emulate you. You can still instill in them Torah values.


Share with them a short Torah thought relevant to the issues they are dealing with. Search the subject of your choice here. 

Sweat the little things because it is the small stuff that counts.

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

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