Do You Know Who I Am?! – Knowing Yourself

Private+Test+PaperI Attended State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany. In one of the mega classrooms that hold about 500 students, the professor told a story.

Once he was administering a test.

He gave the class a warning that the exam would be finished in 5 minutes.

“OK. All papers in!”

A young student kept scribbling their last answers.

Finally, they brought the paper to the professor.

“I am sorry. You are too late. I am no longer accepting exams.”

The student, shocked and dismayed, exclaimed “Do You Know Who I Am?!”

The professor, with a class of so many students, did not know most by name.

He admitted “No.”

The student then shoved their paper in the middle of the stack of the hundreds of exams on his table.

They said “Ok. Thank you for the course.” and walked away, smiling sheepishly, knowing that the professor would not be able to disqualify the test by recognizing them or the exam.


We all are important people.

People don’t always recognize who we are or our work we contribute to the world.

But that does not matter too much. What matters is what G-d thinks of you.

If you are on G-d’s good side, that’s really what matters.

So what is the litmus test to see if G-d is pleased with you?

Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the Fathers (Chapter 3:9) says :

“He {Rabbi Hanina be Dosa] used to say whoever who the spirit of creations have satisfaction from them, G·d has satisfaction from them. Yet if the creations do not gain satisfaction from them, then G·d does not gain satisfaction from them.”

I used to follow fads and fashion. I was also a fashion setter. My reason for fashion was not arbitrary. I wanted to make a statement. I used to wear two watches, the long overcoat, the multi-colored sneakers and a “felix the cat” hat. My statement was – “Don’t just follow blindly what society does. Think your life out.” The hat was to keep my head covered. Apparently the people thought my individuality was unusual – and brushed it off. I don’t know if anyone asked why I dressed such. Perhaps they were being polite. Perhaps they didn’t care. But that was my message “Do things because you think, not because everyone else does it.”

When you are concerned more with what G-d thinks of you, people will also like you. When your goal is to please others, sometimes you end up following fads and fashions that are not you. When you reach into your soul to find out who you really are this is when you find true happiness.

It comes through honesty, sincerity, effort, Torah study, self-introspection and self-improvement. Yes effort is required, but you ultimately find out who you really are and how to reach your purpose and potential in life.

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