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We Each Have a Story!

Thursday, 27 December, 2018 - 11:54 pm

While road-tripping with Chavie and the kids, I ordered a black coffee at a Starbucks drive-through in Ogden, Utah. I pulled up to the window and was pleasantly surprised when the cashier told me “the person in front of you paid it forward”. The unsolicited gesture of kindness granted to me, inspired me to do the same for the person behind me in the, seemingly endless, line. As we drove away Chavie said “that was awesome, and I now know what you’re going to write about in your weekly email”. She was right, because I think that moment meant so much to me and it teaches me, and hopefully you, something so important: The person ahead of me on line, didn’t know me, my family or my story, yet chose to interact with me as if we were good friends.

In this week’s Torah portion, Shemot, the first in the book of Exodus, we read about the birth, adoption, exile, marriage and leadership appointment of Moshe Rabeinu, AKA Moses. Moses was an exceptional leader, not only because he tended to his flock, the Jewish people, with unbridled TLC, but because he did so without broad generalizations. Moses understood that he must look at everyone like G-d does, untainted by preconceptions, unbiased by external features or behaviors, and focused on the individual set of circumstances and realities of each person. Before Moses passes away, he asks G-d to appoint a man of Ruach, spirit, as his successor and G-d acquiesces. The Midrash explains that “a man of spirit” means “someone able to deal with the character and spirit of each individual”. Moses’ leadership success was attributed to his appreciation of each person’s story.

How often do we judge others without knowing anything about them? How often do teachers make rules that are equal for all students and won’t allow exceptions, even when there should be? How often do we assume things about our friends or co-workers, when in truth, we simply don’t know what’s really going on in their life? It’s been done to me and regretfully, I’ve done it to others more than I’d like to believe. Moses taught, along with the “pay it forward” person in Ogden, that we need to see a world, not in which everything is black and white or even slightly colorful, but a world in which there are billions of stories coming together to create a G-dly mosaic of goodness.

Let’s have a little bit of Moses in ourselves!

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Moshiach speedily. May He protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

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