The 'Mitzva' to Fist Pump – Parshat Ki Tavo

I have often wondered why we make parties when we accomplish something major. After all, it is simply an accomplishment. Why the fist pump? Why invite others to join? I am still not 100% sure I understand why it is psychologically sound and healthy to celebrate but I know intuitively that it is important. I read something about the  Perhaps davka, specifically, on a noetic level I can understand it.

The thought came to me while studying the commandment mentioned in this week's parsha, Parshat Ki Tavo, to write the Torah on stones upon entering the Promised Land, the Land of Israel.1 I can understand the need to have it written down. I can even understand why it needs to be in Israel, as they finally reach their intended destination after 40 long years. But why on stones? Why does it need to be in a particular place? The Abarbanel describes this entire experience beautifully. It is not a mitzvah per se, he explains. Rather this is a foretelling of what will be. It is like saying that after the World Series the winning team will pop the cork. It will definitely happen. Similarly, upon reaching Israel, the people will eagerly record their success and the story of their travails along the way. They will do so on stone in order that it be preserved. They are proud of that moment and sense of achievement. In order to preserve their ego health and not let it go to their heads, God intervenes, says to do it in a specific way, and thereby makes it a commandment. In so doing, He shows that He is content with the happy and proud expected human reaction of the people. Fist pumping received divine approval.

As a small business owner ( I know – it is hard to think of a therapist/social worker as a business owner) I listened to different online programs about how to succeed as an entrepreneur. I was surprised when one of those programs explained how important it is to celebrate even small business successes. The more I looked into it, the more I understood how true it was. There are psychological studies showing how helpful this practice can be. I could even venture to say how important it is for us on the spiritual/noetic level. If the success is meaningful to us, it strengthens us for the continuation of the path. And the path must continue.2

Reaching a milestone is fun and does "require" a fist pump. It gives us the motivation to continue. Not succeeding can give us motivation as well but from a different place. Thomas Edison is quoted as saying, that even after his 923rd attempt at making  a light bulb failed,  "at least we have now discovered 923 ways how not to make a light bulb." Part of it is then to choose an attitude towards successes and failures.3

There are additional advantages to celebrating success. One site even had a list of 6 reasons to celebrate:4

  1. To recognize what’s working well and why
  2. Developing a success mindset
  3. We are motivated by our successes
  4. It feels good.
  5. Happy chemicals are produced
  6. Give others the chance to join in with your celebration and have a share in your success

Television talk show host Oprah Winfrey added, "The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate."5

It is important to appreciate our successes especially in light of the fact that there are usually some non-successes along the way. We could have given up hope. That could have even been considered at some point. But you didn’t. And now you have reached that goal.

It is important to appreciate our successes especially in light of the fact that there are usually some non-successes along the way. We could have given up hope. That could have even been considered at some point. But you didn’t. And now you have reached that goal.

Kick your feet together. Dance. Throw a party. Or even just smile to yourself. Enjoy the moment of success.

Click here for another logoParsha article on Parshat Ki Tavo ( Keep it Fresh )

Notes

  1. Devarim 27:2-8
  2. There is always another project waiting for us. It would be limiting if we were to think that we were made for one purpose but rather that each milestone prepares us for the next. Meaning is constantly there to be discovered says Viktor Frankl. It could not possibly be that an athlete whose professional life often ends in his 30's was created just for his athletic talents. Even in his 40's he can discover his new meaning.
  3. This, too, is a common theme in the work of Dr. Viktor Frankl. Choosing an attitude towards what you are going through is one of the three basic ways to meaning.
  4. https://www.brilliantlivinghq.com/6-reasons-why-you-should-celebrate-success/
  5. https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/o/oprahwinfr132401.html?src=t_celebrate

Have A Great Shabbat!laughing

For More Information On Logotherapy And How You Can Create A Fuller, More Meaningful Life, Or To Book An Online Session,

  1. Call Me At +972-54-589-3399, or in Israel 054-5893399
  2. Contact Me Thru My Site