I’ll never forget the first time I danced in front of a crowd. I will never forget the smiling faces of the old ladies bent over in their wheelchairs, their well-worn eyes hooked on my every movement, dancing along with me. Even though I was only five, I remember thinking that I was making them happy. Even when I was just five, I knew that dancing was important to me. As I got older, I realized that it was a talent that I had to use to the benefit of others as well. That time was a perfect dancing moment in my life, full of joy and giving.
When I’m upset, feeling overworked, tired, or just in a melancholy mood, I dance. I put all my emotions in one dance, usually starting on a sorrow note, but somehow always ending in a melody of utter joy. No matter where, when or how, dancing always manages to broaden my frown into a huge smile, and my eyes fill with light. I twirl with all my might, and put my heart and soul into every move my body decides to make. Nothing is forethought…I just let the music carry me.
God gave me the talent of dancing. My talent makes me no more special than anyone else, however. It just means that God gave me this talent to help me fulfill my tafkid, or purpose, in life. Everyone has something that they have to accomplish in their lives; if they don’t, their neshama will come back to finish it, as many times as needed. God gives us all the tools we need to complete our purpose, so I know that my ability to dance will help me with my tafkid.
As a result, I know that I cannot abuse my God-give dancing talent. A person’s talent can be used for good or for bad, to bring kedusha or evil into this world. As human beings, it is our mission to bring as much kedusha into this world as we can, and so it’s important that we use our talents carefully. As a dancer, I could easily abuse my talent by dancing in inappropriate situations and for unholy purposes to improper music. However, I am careful to only dance at times that I know Hashem would want me to.
It is important for us all to use our talents for the right reasons. If you have a beautiful voice, you can be like Shaindel Antelis, and sing for women-only audiences about appropriate topics. If you’re good at giving advice, when your friends come to you for help, don’t push them away or give them bad information; be honest with them and try to help them to the best of your ability. If you’re a caring person, you can volunteer at hospitals and nursing homes and bring some joy into an elderly or sick person’s life. There are so many ways for us to fulfill our tafkidim, purposes, as well as millions of ways to bring more kedusha (holiness) into this world.
~ Moriah Berg