There is a Jewish teaching that you are asked seven questions when you arrive at the gates of heaven. Were you honest? Did you leave a legacy? Did you set time for study? Did you have hope in your heart? Did you get your priorities straight? Did you enjoy this world? Were you the best you could be? (Talmud, Shabbat 31a)*
The top seven Daily Positive Jewish Practices set a pathway to live a great life, to increase your well-being, and to improve the lives of those around you every day. So that when you arrive at your gate of judgement, you will be able to positively answer “yes, I am worthy of a heavenly life in the next world.”
- Be Honest in Business
Dealing honestly with clients and fairly with your co-workers is a sign of a positive character. Too many people misrepresent themselves and their successes but a commitment to daily honesty strengthens resilience and bravery. As the Proverbs teach, “a good name is more desirable than great riches and to be trusted is better than silver and gold.”
- Influence a Young Person
Teach something everyday to a child, a mentee, or student to pass along your wisdom. Adopt an influencer mindset to foster authentic human connections and teach love and kindness to those around you. This is your ticket to leaving a positive legacy and creating a blessed memory.
- Learn Something New
Jews are known as the “People of the Book” based on the cultural value of study, learning, and curiosity. A focus on learning something new each day expands your perspective, your knowledge, and your ability to think critically. In the words of King Solomon,”turn your ear to wisdom and apply your heart to understanding.”
- Say a Daily Prayer
Choose a daily prayer of thanksgiving and gratitude to show you have hope in your heart. Optimism and hope need to be developed and nourished, they are not a given. For faith, it is common to recite the Shema (“Hear oh Israel, the Eternal is One”) and for gratitude (“I am grateful for my life, grateful for my sustenance, and grateful for this moment”).
- Volunteer in Your Community
Participate daily in improving your community and be a positive local force in your neighborhood, school, office, and city. Join a local organization and give an hour each week, give charity at least once per week, and visit/call an elder. These just acts hone your priorities. Tzedek is the hebrew word for “justice” and when you give charity (tzedakah) you behave like a righteous person (tzadik).
- Observe The Sabbath Day
Studies show that when you take a daily vacation from your routine each week and do something you love, your positivity and well being increase exponentially. The Torah teaches, “Six days you shall do all your work and labor and on the seventh day you shall rest.” In the modern world, it takes discipline to self-regulate but taking a day to observe the sabbath in your own way will help develop in wholeness and peace in yourself and others.
- Exercise, Eat Healthy, & Reduce Stress
The body is a sacred vessel. Are you training your body for a long and healthy life so that you can be your best self? As the famous medieval commentator said, “When man develops a good, sound body that does not overpower him nor disturb the equilibrium in him, he possesses a divine gift.”
*The Top 7 Daily Positive Jewish Practices are based on the following ancient text.
Rava said: After departing from this world, when a person is brought to judgment for the life he lived in this world, they say to him in the order of that verse: Did you conduct business faithfully?Did you designate times for Torah study? Did you engage in procreation? Did you have hope in salvation? Did you engage in the dialectics of wisdom or understand one matter from another? And, nevertheless, beyond all these, if the fear of the Lord is his treasure, yes, he is worthy, and if not, no, none of these accomplishments have any value. -Talmud, Shabbat 31a