It’s been pretty cold this week here in Karmiel. Of course, when you consider the fact that I’m originally from Toronto, the weather makes it look like it’s spring! Nevertheless, Israeli homes are cold.

One side effect of it being cold is that our tap water is veeery cold. And I, Rena Reiser, do not tolerate cold water very well, especially early in the day.

This morning, as I was mentally preparing myself to endure the icy water for my breakfast netilas yadaim, I braced myself and thought — Ok, Hashem. This one’s for You. I’m doing this for Your will, and I will do it happily, even though the water is soooo cold.

I washed my hands and felt so proud of myself. Wow, I’m such a holy Jew. I did a mitzvah b’simcha even though I thoroughly didn’t enjoy it.

Just like our grandmothers in mother Russia chopping a hole in the ice.

Then I stopped.

Wait a second, Rena.

Why do you have to be such a martyr?

Is this really what Hashem wants from you — to have to suffer, just to wash your hands?

Certainly, if I had no other option this would be the right attitude. I would have to find the joy in the difficult mitzvahs. But…

I could have just WARMED UP some water and then I could actually ENJOY the mitzvah.

Ah, just the thought of pouring warm water over my hands right now is warming me up inside.

But we tend to pull the martyr routine in so many areas of life.

Especially with eating.

We tell ourselves that we can be okay eating bland food. Why not? That’s what we read about Gedolim in various books.

We tell ourselves that it’s okay to push off eating right now even though we’re hungry, because our kids/work/husbands/neighbor needs something that just can’t wait.

Somehow you can wait, though?

We tell ourselves that this is somehow what Hashem actually wants from us.

But is it?

Hey. Maybe you are one of those people who have the iron will of our Gedolim. Maybe you can push off eating and not be affected. Maybe the taste of food is secondary for you.

Chances are, since you’re reading this, that’s probably not the case and you need to learn to be a little bit more selfish in life.

You most certainly cannot do it all even though we all wish we could.

But —

You’ll be able to accomplish so much more if you learn to give yourself what you truly need.

What do you truly need? Make a list of things that will truly “fill you up” emotionally. Then, remove something from your regular to-do list, and put in one of your “fill you ups” in its place.

Want more accountability? Comment below and let me know how this exercise went for you.