Shlomo Ezagui

The power of being YOU

Lili Popper

One of the great qualities of any product is a strong, proud, and unique identity. Look at what happens when smartphones start looking and acting like each other. Look at what happens when all politicians look and sound alike! Or almost alike, that is.

For many people, it is hard to know who they are, for we live in a world that values assimilation and detests uniqueness. Everything you see and hear tells you to change who you are to be like someone or something else. Be more like the family you see on TV. Be more like the guy in the movie or the girl in the magazine. Buy this toothpaste because 4 out of 5 people recommend it. Do what we say. Believe what we believe. Fall in line for this group of people or this more significant cause because they are more important than you.

There are many stories of our great sages who expressed the same lesson. When we reach Heaven, God will not ask us, “Why were you not like Moses?” because then we will answer, “My name was something else.” After 120 years, God will expect from us the full potential He endowed in each one of us. Did you live up to your full purpose and potential?

What if nothing were more important than you? What if you were just as valuable as anyone or anything else? What if your goals were as significant as any other person or group? Can you imagine for a moment if all the organs in your body became one big amorphous blob, looking and acting like one another?

The only real happiness anyone can experience is achieved when one lives his own life to its potential.

There is every good reason to respect and accept other people’s rights to their beliefs. Stop looking outward at how other people live, stop trying to conform, and start looking inward at how you were meant to live.

The first time God communicates with Abraham, He tells him, “Go inward, into yourself.” You are not like anyone else. Your purpose and the people you will bring into the world to disseminate light for the rest of the world are like none other.

Instead of finding ways to adapt more to the world around us and adopt their holidays, let us spend time with ourselves to figure out who we are. What is our unique message to the world? Figure it out. Explore it. Name it. Discover who you are. There is no reason to dilute our beautiful Shabbat experience with anyone else’s practices. There is every good reason to cherish the Shabbat, a once-a-week experience of peace and tranquility.

Abraham stood up against the whole world in his belief in monotheism. That is why he was called Ivri, literally “on the other side,” or loosely translated as “Hebrew” or “Jew.” Abraham the Ivri was an independent thinker with the inner fortitude to become his person with his convictions on one side while the rest of the world was on the other.

God commanded Abraham to go and leave his country, his birthplace. Set out on your OWN way to establish your own destiny.

God was pleased with his grit, cheered him on, and supported him. God told him, “This is how you will make your name and become the father of a great nation.”

Each of us was meant to be recognized, not for how similar we are to the rest of the world, but for how different we are. Know who you are. Show the world who you are.

On Shabbat, let everyone see and know that at your home, Shabbat, in all its purity, is being celebrated. So what very few other people are doing it right. Very few people are millionaires, and that wouldn’t stop you from grabbing the opportunity to become one.

Chapter 211

About the Author
Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui is an author and lecturer. "A Spiritual Soul Book" ( & "Maimonides Advice for the 21st Century" ( In 1987, Rabbi Ezagui opened the first Chabad Center in Palm Beach County, Florida, and the first Orthodox Synagogue on the island of Palm Beach, Florida.
Related Topics
Related Posts