"A nd Avraham took another wife and her name was Keturah.” (Bereishis 25:1)

The Gemara (Avodah Zarah 25a) explains that Bereishis is called Sefer Hayashar because it’s the book of the straight ones: Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov. The entire sefer relates the actions of the Avos to teach us the straight paths upon which we should pattern our lives.

Every single person is obligated to say, “When will my actions reach the level of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov?” (Tana Deve Eliyahu 25)

Yet how can a simple human think he can reach the actions of the forefathers, whose exalted levels were higher than the angels? And why are we obligated to actually say this? (The Slonimer Rebbe ztz”l, Nesivos Shalom)

There are two types of people in this world: Morning People and Anti-Morning People. (Note: the opposite of a Morning Person is not a night person. That’s simply a personal preference for productive periods. True Anti-Morning People staunchly advocate for illegalizing human interactions during this time.)

During these hours of quasi-wakefulness, I stumble around the kitchen, trying to get the kids out. Do not even attempt to have a conversation before I am caffeinated.

The Yesod Ha’avodah (Vol. 4, Ch. 1) quotes from the Ari Hakadosh: From the moment a person was created, whether he’s great or lowly, he has a unique personal mission in this world that no one else can fulfill. As Rav Zushe says: “Even a lowly shoe has a mission to protect the foot from rain.”

Midrash Rabbah (15) says that there’s no one more beloved before Hashem than a messenger who puts his whole soul into fulfilling his mission.

Lucky is the person who knows his mission and works to fulfill it.

They say that opposites attract. My husband wakes up the moment his alarm clock rings. In the few minutes it takes him to get ready for shul, he likes to discuss our upcoming day — any important decisions or appointments scheduled. I can barely hear or see, let alone make appropriate responses.

For years I chalked it up to different personalities. But as my family grew, I realized it wasn’t fair to them to have a subhuman for a morning mother.

“Mommy, I need you to sign my test.” I blearily scribbled something. “Last time you did that, my rebbi asked if our baby got a hold of my test!”

Things came to a head one day when I got a phone call from cheder during lunch. Apparently, Yitzi was insisting that I told him this morning he could take a cup of chocolate syrup for lunch instead of a yogurt. In general, I’ll defend myself against my children’s imagination, but in this case… who knows?

It was time to turn over a new leaf.

This is how each person can aspire to reach the actions of the Avos. Just as they fulfilled their personal mission on an exalted level, so too each person can fulfill his on a lower level.

The way to reach this fulfillment is to actually state this aspiration. In saying this, a person is expressing his ambition and belief that it’s within his power to achieve this goal.

Knowing this was going to be torture, I decided to make resolutions in coffee-sip-sized pieces. For the next week, I’d attempt to respond good morning instead of my usual grunt.

Morning #1: “Boker tov!” sang the school bus driver at the ridiculous hour of 7 a.m. (Is a person even legally allowed to drive before nine?) I managed a decent boker tov and even waved goodbye without looking like I was frantically drowning.

When I greeted my husband on his return from shul, he acted as though he’d gotten the wrong address.

Morning #2: I stood in front of my mirror and scowled at my reflection. “Good morning,” I whispered. No go. My reflection glared back.

“Good morning,” I managed a little louder. A ghost of a smile in the mirror. Progress.

The more I said it, the easier it got.

“Good morning,” I sang to Binyamin opening his shade. He grunted and pulled the pillow over his head. He’s got my genes.

“Good morning!” I wished my neighbor, who was already hanging out her third wash of the day.

“Good morning,” I announced to the empty house after the last kid finally left.

And by saying so, it was. (Originally featured in Family First, Issue 566)