Every person talks to himself. Even when he does not speak out the words, still, he listens to his thoughts; he obeys the voice of his mind. His imagination recalls different memories; it projects his future. It plans and dreams. It directs his body.

There is however, another role that a persons thoughts play. They set his attitudes, his moods. They decide whether he feels good or bad. They fix whether he wins or loses.

If a persons thoughts are so important, should he not make the effort to direct them? Should he not try to control them? Should he not check the messages they send him?

Like other living beings, the mind may be trained. It may be taught to broadcast good thoughts, positive thoughts, encouraging thoughts, thoughts that help and do not hinder, that build and do not destroy. The affirmations a person makes, the ideas he commits himself to, are tools that create such thoughts; they are tools that build a person’s mind-set.

The Torah recognizes affirmations in a powerful way. It places them at the centre of our Torah life-style. One example of this is the daily duty to recite “Shema Yisrael,” a most powerful commitment. Another example is the historic affirmation Yisrael made at Sinai:

Moshe took the book of the Covenant and read it to the people; and they responded, “All Hashem has said, naaseh vnishma – we will do, and we will obey.” (Shmos 24.7)

We see further, the effect of this commitment...

Rebbi Simai taught: At this time, six hundred thousand angels came down amongst the children of Yisrael and attached two crowns of glory to each one, one for naaseh, one for nishma. (Shabbos 88a)

These crowns were a luster of glory that shone from their faces. (Tosephos, there)

The children of Yisrael committed themselves to a lofty life-style. This pledge raised them to the Heavens, to the level of angels. They shone with a new sheen, a gloss of loveliness, a gleam of victory. Their glowing faces reflected the heights they had reached.

This then is the power of a commitment. This is the force of an affirmation. What a person says already changes him. It rockets him to new levels.


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