1) What’s the best piece of life advice you have ever received? Who told it to you?
When I was eight years old, I started reading Chassidic stories. From them I learned that 1) There is a G-d, and He is Good 2) Hashem is intimately involved in every aspect of your life, and 3) Everything that happens is for the best, even if we can’t understand it in the moment. The more I experience, the more I see that these foundations are not only true, but essential keys to living a beautiful life.
2) When you’re going through a challenging period, let’s say a writing project of yours isn’t getting the attention you want, how do you keep yourself motivated?
One of the most valuable teachings that I ever learned is that the effort we put into something is our hands, but the results are in G-d’s hands. Appreciating our limitations actually empowers us to focus on where we can make a difference, and to let go of the rest.
3) How do you stay grounded when you are experiencing great success?
After experiencing so many highs and lows, the highs become more valuable because you know that they are fleeting, and the lows become more tolerable because you know that if you can just stay in the game, better times lay ahead.
4) What advice do you have for someone who is trying to reach a very selective position?
Be careful how you define yourself. If you think of yourself as a “writer” or a “lawyer” or a “businessman” then your self-esteem will be unduly defined by your success in that field. Don’t fall into that trap. Each of us are creations of G-d. Our job is to be the best, sweetest, more compassionate, hard working version of ourselves, and if we can pull that off, no matter what our circumstances, we are by definition a success.
5) What do you tell yourself to keep going when you are pushed to your limit?
That Shabbos is coming.
6) If you had only an elevator ride to say something meaningful to a young adult, what would you say?
Take your soul seriously. There is nothing deeper and more satisfying than Torah and if you invest in those things, you not only connect with eternity but you bring heaven down to earth.
Note: This was conducted by Jared Sichel for the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles