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Danita and Michel Aziza


by Danita Aziza September 4, 2010

I’m reminded of a quote shared with me by a friend many years ago which I think can be attributed to Rose Kennedy.   Kennedy, who had known much sorrow in her life, commented that “good luck is something you create while bad luck is something you endure.”  As Rosh Hashanah approaches I’m trying to get my head around how it is that you can create your own good luck especially when there is so much that is beyond your control.

For me, Rosh Hashanah has always been a time to conduct an inventory of my life, to take stock of my many blessings and look at where the deficiencies lie both in terms of self fulfillment and obligation beyond self. There is something about the ability to reflect on the past, correct wrongs and start anew that I find particularly appealing.

As I age I become more acutely aware of my shortcomings and, if not through self awareness, my family is eager to point out flaws  in my personality which indeed  require some patching.  While Michel remains one of the most positive individuals I know, I tend to err more on the doom and gloom side of the spectrum.  A worrier by nature, I usually anticipate the worst at the outset and then find relief that my fears generally are not as dire as anticipated.

As a result of living in Israel and observing the country’s culture up close and personal, I have gradually learned to dwell less on the negatives and, while it is a very slow process, I’m starting to get the hang of it and appreciate the difference it makes in terms of how I view so many things in life both large and small.

Israelis have had to endure much bad luck throughout the past 62 years of Statehood and unfortunately streaks of bad luck are taken as a norm here rather than an exception.  What is simply amazing to me, however, is the amount of good luck that has been divinely granted on the one hand and then created by the citizens of the Land on the other who, in spite of everything, have managed to build a vibrant, diverse, aesthetically beautiful and successful country.  While many profess that Israelis are sceptical by nature, their strong resolve to take responsibility for creating good fortune wherever possible is not just awesome, but also inspiring.

Take today for example or any day for that matter when horrible tragedy strikes the country.  The brutal murder of four Israelis at the hands of violent opponents of the peace process is something that shakes you to the core.  Six children left without parents is unimaginable yet a reality that has to be processed by the victim’s families and also stored in the minds of people who have to travel the roads and continue with daily life.  The sense of loss and sadness is in no way minimized, but you continue on with planning and praying for peace even though it seems ever so elusive.  Israelis seem to endure back luck all too well.

When I think about creating good luck I’m drawn to a particular conversation I once had with a young Rabbi.  I told him that I only ask G-d for the big things like blessings of good health and safety and general happiness for myself, friends and family and peace in Israel.  He told me outright that I was wrong in my thinking and that I should always ask G-d for things even small things.  He gave the example of if you are running to catch a bus and you think you are going to miss it, you should ask G-d to please help you catch the bus.  I thought that was ridiculous.  He continued to explain that if you ask G-d for even little things you are engaging in a conversation and establishing a relationship and if, by chance, your prayer is answered, your relationship grows and becomes stronger.  I often think of this discussion I had with the Rabbi and must say I tend to utilize his advice whenever I’m attempting to create my own good luck.  I believe that sometimes divine intervention is truly a part of the good luck scenario.

At a time when the world is so unstable, where people are constantly searching for meaning and fulfillment in their lives and caught up with the fast pace of life, I think that Rosh Hashanah provides a gift.   It allows for a “time out” to assess your life and all that you have that is good and to figure out what it is that needs a bit of fine tuning.  It also is a bit like being a runner at the starting gate of a race  when  you’re not quite sure where you’ll place or if you’ll have a smooth run or go off course.  If you’ve trained well, have developed sound strategy, and even asked for some blessings to prevail, chances are you’ll place at the top of the heat. At least that’s what a positive thinker would believe.

Perhaps a strategy is called for in terms of ensuring that the year ahead brings good things.  Without having the language, it is difficult for me to feel totally a part of life here and find the type of fulfillment that I seek.  While I don’t fancy the idea of full-time ulpan which is basically school for five hours a day five days a week, I must make the commitment to learn Hebrew as best I can.  Finding something to challenge yourself with and working hard to achieve a goal is something that feeds into creating your own good luck.

In 1993 we encountered a particularly bad string of ill fortune.  We purchased our first home and what was to be a wonderful event, turned into a nightmare of sorts.  I had a terrible reaction to the materials used in the renovation of our home and to condense a very long story, we had to sell the house, I had to leave my job and it took almost a year and a half until my health improved.  Just when I believed that things couldn’t get any worse, inevitably they did. I was later to discover that this very bad period in my life led to my developing a business that would help dozens of people discover that their ill health was a result of some environmental influence.  In this case, my bad luck was actually for good as I started a health and wellness business based on the knowledge gained from my misfortune.   My bad luck was a necessary evil as it allowed me to gain the knowledge and experience that has helped to restore and protect the health of so many people, my family’s and my own health included.

I’m definitely sold on the fact that creating good luck has much to do with associating with people who feed your mind and your soul and push you to be the best that you can be.  I’ve always been extremely fortunate to have the greatest friends, but I know that the friendship can’t be taken for granted and that I have to put much effort into their development and maintenance.  When I’ve had to endure bad luck, and there has been some along the way, strong enduring friendships have helped me to ride the storm in immeasurable ways.

I pray that this year there is a limited amount of bad luck to endure.  With peace talks on the agenda there is much uncertainty in the Land in which I now live.  I won’t concentrate too much on the things that I cannot control.  For now I much rather focus on what it is that I need to do to create much good fortune for myself, my family and for the community in which I live.  I hope it is a good year for me and a good year for you too.

Shana Tova Umetukah.

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