Dear Rabbi and Susan,
Upon stumbling on your teachings and podcast, I caught a comment you said about how a man should never hit the snooze button. I, however, hit my snooze button all the time!
It’s really bad, and the reason why this is important to me is because for the past 4 years I have been trying to reach a goal of waking up at a certain time every morning so I have personal time to do things that I can’t find time to do later in the day. But my bad habit of snoozing is very difficult to combat.
Any wisdom and insight would be highly appreciated, thank you!
We had no need to ask you to type in a string of numbers and letters to prove you aren’t a robot, since you are all too clearly human. As are we. Whether it is hitting the snooze button or succumbing to any other bad habit, wanting to change is only the beginning of actually changing.
If you have been working on this for four years, then we imagine that you have tried putting your alarm clock out of reach – and making sure that it is horribly irritating. We assume that you go to bed early enough to log enough hours of sleep and have possibly even medically checked that you are, in fact, having a restful sleep. You have probably tried incentives and rewarding yourself for successes.
What’s left? At this point, if you have tried all the above ideas and other practical ones that you can find by using a search engine, we suggest that you attack this as a spiritual problem.
What is preventing your body from doing what your mind desires is spiritual gravity. Gravity tries to keep airplanes on the ground. When we extract the chemical energy in jet fuel, employ an engine to convert it into thrust, and use wings to convert the thrust into lift, the machine can remain airborne about five miles above the earth’s surface.
Similarly, spiritual gravity also tries to keep us down. It tries to prevent us from becoming better, healthier, more accomplished, more spiritual, more learned people and more early rising. If we extract some of the spiritual energy stored in our souls, we can achieve our goals and overcome the seditious seduction of the snooze bar.
God told Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son. I’m sure you’d agree that nobody has ever had a better reason to use the snooze bar. Let’s see what Abraham, did.
And Abraham awoke early in the morning.… took his two young men and Isaac his son…
Abraham was facing a formidable task; one he was undertaking only because God commanded it, but which went utterly against his very nature. Abraham intended to carry out this painful task.
This is why he forced himself to awaken early in preparation to shoulder the burden that lay ahead. Facing an activity he really didn’t want to do, his response was to defeat spiritual gravity by rushing out to meet the duty. He certainly didn’t press the snooze bar three times that morning.
Think about what your very first activity should be upon rising in the morning. Perhaps you can fine-tune your first half hour every morning.
The fact that for so many of us (and we include ourselves) changing habits is so difficult is what led us to write our book Chart Your Course: 52 Weekly Journaling Challenges with Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin along with the accompanying videos. The weekly focus, suggestions, relevant Bible inspiration, and a place to track your progress daily, have many of us working this program for the second (and third) time around. While one can start any time of the year, January seems like an appropriate choice. We think that you may find chapters 11, 31 and 32 particularly relevant to your struggle. You may also wish to find an accountability partner, perhaps someone you are committed to calling each morning at a specific time.
Reaching out to us suggests that you are ready to rally forces to help you achieve your goal. As our final thought, we’d like to remind you (and us) that there will always be setbacks. Move in the right direction and don’t get paralyzed by the mornings when you succumb to old habits.
Sweet – and time-limited – dreams,
Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin
This Ask the Rabbi is in memory of Prabesh Bhandari, age 24, who had recently come from Nepal to earn money so that he could build a house for his family. He was one of 10 Nepalese students murdered on October 7,2023.
With prayers for the safe return of Itay Chen, age 19 who has not been heard from since 6:40 am on October 7th, along with all the other hostages Born in New York, his family moved to Israel where he was serving in the army.
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Chart Your Course Book & Videos
Do you sometimes determine, with the best of intentions, to improve an aspect of your life but your inspiration flags a bit down the road? We all know the feeling of looking back at the end of a year, disappointed that we seem rather the same as we did a year earlier. The Chart Your Course Journal and Videos are designed to provide incentive and help.
A few minutes a day add up to a new you!