The Best Supporting Actor - First Day 5781

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In our culture, people sometimes feel that the only way that their life story is a winning one is if they’re a star, a leading man or woman living large in the spotlight. They dream about being rich, famous, adored by millions, or having accomplished something “big.”

This speech introduces an alternate goal, arguing that to achieve real success you don’t have to be center stage. You can make a world of difference by being the Best Supporting Actor, by doing things behind the scenes that make big differences in other people’s lives.

G-d grants each of us unique gifts and a unique circle of influence. Our mission is to use our gifts to help our circle. A successful life doesn’t depend on how great your influence is, but rather on whether you touched those in your circle.

A simple farmer can achieve the same greatness as a sage, as long as he fills in his circle with meaningful action. And if we are all working for G-d, then there is no such thing as a small mission.

  • The Rebbe’s surprising reaction to a British man’s proposal
  • A teaching of the Sages of Yavneh that cures our feeling of insignificance
  • How in 1967 a small piece of chewing gum saved an Israeli commander’s life
  • The frustrated tycoon who finally found meaning from a young girl’s comment
  • The Biblical tale where even Moses cannot succeed alone

You don’t have to cure COVID-19 to make a difference to the world. All you need to do is to live in such a way that it will be said of you by your loved ones, friends, and children: “I will never forget you, because your name is written on my heart.”

This Rosh Hashanah become the Best Supporting Actor. There is no higher award, and no role more important.

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