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Uncovering Layers Of Our Personalities - Shemos

For the past few months, I've been exploring authenticity and striving to be my true self. However, I recently questioned if I really know myself and if I'm presenting an authentic version of who I am. Last week, I mentioned avoiding excessive substance use, and that led me to take a step further by going through a caffeine detox. This experience made me realize that while I enjoy the effects of caffeine, I've been overusing it, and certain aspects of myself have been obscured.

This week's Parsha begins with the words, "These are the names of the children of Israel." The Parsha, named Shemos, meaning "names," reminded me of my own names and their significance. I believe that both my names say something about my personality and life. I was named אברהם after my great-grandfather, who dedicated his life to Torah and mitzvos, always approaching everything with a smile. יהודה was added because I was born prematurely. יהודה is a way of expressing gratitude to Hashem for giving me not just the strength to survive but to thrive.

Discovering authenticity is a journey. It doesn't have to be a week-long event or involve a caffeine detox, but taking a moment to reflect can help uncover your true self. Similar to the names in this week's Parsha, our own names carry stories about who we are. For me, אברהם reflects the importance of joy learned from my great-grandfather's Torah-centered life with a perpetual smile. יהודה, a thank-you for life's energy, symbolizes resilience. Uncover the significance behind your name and the personality that shapes you. Ultimately, the more authentic we become, the greater joy we can derive from living. Good Shabbos All the best! Avroham Yehudah Ross

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