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Rabbi vs. Turkey!

Friday, 17 May, 2019 - 8:29 am

Earlier this week, I was chatting with a local friend, and I told him that I missed him at Tuesday’s Jewish history class at the library. With a smile, he said, “Sorry Rabbi, it’s the last week of the turkey hunting season and when you have to choose between class and hunting….”. I laughed; we all had a good laugh. In humor, I quipped “wow, it’s humbling to know that you chose a turkey over your rabbi”. Humility is hard to achieve on our own, and is mostly attained through an experience that is a trigger from the outside-in.

Being a legend in your own mind, is just that, in your own mind.

This Sunday, Jewry will celebrate Pesach Sheini, the second Passover. In the Sinai desert, a group of Jews, were impure during Passover and wanted a second chance to experience the pascal lamb offering. They were not lowlifes; they were impure for a good reason, as they were tending to the bodies of Nadav and Avihu, or, according to others, Joseph’s bones being carried to Israel. Asking for a second chance, comes with the recognition that the first time around was imperfect. When we lack humility, or worse, have overblown egos, we find excuses for our past actions, even holy excuses, while refusing to admit that we may be missing something. These individuals could’ve comforted themselves by saying “We didn’t eat from the Passover lamb, as we were doing G-d’s work and Jewish law exempts us under the circumstances”. Yet, they humbly said to Moses “Lama Nigara - why should we miss this great Mitzvah”? Moses listens, brings their request to G-d, and a second Passover is gifted for all time.

It’s easy to conflate a strong self-image with egocentricity, except that one is vital for living healthfully and the other is detrimental. There were times in my life that I was too arrogant and when thinking about it, it’s, noticeably, ugly. Everything we do, whether being a spouse, a parent, a professional, a citizen, a child, a friend, is done better when done with humbleness. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that “a great man is always willing to be little”, but that isn’t accurate as it’s not “being little”, it’s “being healthy”. Mother Teresa got this one right when she said, “If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are”.

Realizing we aren’t perfect, gives us second chances!

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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