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Don't Choose Insanity!

Thursday, 17 January, 2019 - 7:57 pm

 

It was certainly no coincidence that during the week in which we launched the Montana Academy for Judaic Studies, with our first class focusing on the life of Joshua and the virtues of leadership (Watch class), a local friend offered me a healthy dose of rebuke.  It’s never fun to be the recipient of genuine critique, but as I heard my friend share where they thought I had failed, I had a choice to make: do I choose stubbornness and refuse to ever change or do I choose to recognize that I act poorly sometimes, and must own up to it and make the necessary changes.

In this week’s Torah portion, Beshalach, we read about the miracle of miracles, the splitting of the Red Sea. Seven days earlier the Jews departed Egypt, they reached a milestone at Pi HaChiros, a place that signified freedom, as no other slave had ever passed that locale en-route to independence, and then, despite being trapped between the sea and the Egyptian army, G-d gave them miraculous passage and changed the course of history. Pharaoh should’ve known better: He experienced the ten plagues, his country was in turmoil and in a chaotic state, his own people begged him to let the Jews go, but when a person is egocentrically stubborn, logic is ignored, and they make insane choices.

We each have moments where pride blurs our logic and sends us astray. We don’t want to be arrogant, we don’t want to get a bad rap for our behavior, but we simply don’t think we have what it takes to change, especially when we’ve been doing something for a long time. I’d like to believe that at 37, I can still change, I can listen to critique coming from a place of care and make better choices. Will I succeed immediately? I doubt it, but unlike Pharaoh, I will certainly try. Today I am grateful that I have a support base who will set me straight when needed so that I can be a better husband, father, son, friend and rabbi. It’s easy to see Pharaoh as stubborn, but much harder to see that same attribute within ourselves.

In the words of Rumi “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” 

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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