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Oct. 15, 2021

The Largest Domino Effect (Lech Lecha)

On August 6th, 2019 the human race achieved a feat never completed by mankind. I think part of the reason it was never achieved is because no one ever even thought it was a thing to attempt. 2,019 people (presumably because it happened in the year 2019) from Ortobom Globo Comunicacaoe in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil participated in a Guinness World Record for the largest human mattress domino effect to ever take place. Literally thousands of people were placed in front of twin-size mattress, and one after one, they fell backwards onto each other. The whole record attempt lasted 11 minutes and 13 seconds. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, after the feat was achieved, the 2,019 mattresses were donated to charities.

If you need to stop reading for a moment and grab a tissue to wipe away your tears of inspiration, by all means, go ahead, the words on this page are literally not going anywhere.

The domino effect, whether with actual dominoes or with humans and mattresses, is an incredible parable for life. Think about it. We all wish to effect change, in some way, shape or form. But human nature is that we want to change in big and dramatic ways. The domino effect teaches us that the best way to create change is to be consistent, steady, and go one step at a time.

This week’s Parshah is Lech Lecha. Hashem said to Avraham Avinu, “Go for yourself…to the place that I will show you.” The two words לך לך have the numerical value of 100.

There is something unique about the number 100. Chazal tells us that a person is supposed to make 100 Brachos every single day. For what reason? The Levush is pretty clear that the reason the concept of making 100 Brachos daily is because in the times of old, 100 Jewish people were dying daily due to a lack of הכרת הטוב – recognizing the good. In other words, the function of 100 daily Brachos is to inculcate and infuse within a Jew the imperative of recognizing the good.

We often view the notion of הכרת הטוב as a tactic to improve our בין אדם לחברו – man-to-fellow man relationship. But too often, perhaps, we fail to recognize that הכרת הטוב is also a tactic that we can use to improve our בין אדם לעצמו – man-to-himself relationship.

The directive לך לך – “Go for yourself” – which has the numerical value of 100, can be understood as an allusion to this idea: Have internal הכרת הטוב. Recognize the good within yourself! Notice and pay attention to the traits, abilities, and talents that you do have. Put an emphasis on your “good” days, and try to remember them.

On your personal journey through life, if you follow this directive of לך לך and start noticing the good in yourself, like a domino effect, you will slowly see change for the better in yourself, in those around you, and in the world at large.

Have a holy Shabbos!