Thursday, July 14, 2016

What We Are Made Of

In this week's parsha, Chukas, we read about the passing of Miriam, and the well of Miriam drying up. We read how the Jewish people were thirsty, Moshe hit the rock and water came out once again. We were so close to the Holy Land, but couldn't get in, Edom wouldn't allow us passage through their land. Then, Aaron's passing, the second war against Amalek, and finally we were forced to turn back and take the long way around the land of Edom.

Disheartened, they turned against Hashem and Moshe, "Why did you bring us up from Egypt to die in the desert..." Hashem sent snakes which bit them, and many died. Realizing that they were wrong, they asked for forgiveness, and that Moshe pray for them, which he did immediately. Hashem told Moshe to make a copper snake and put it on a staff. Anyone bitten, would look at the snake and live. This is followed by miracles and victories.

Even though life was getting more and more difficult for them, the expectation was that we remain loyal to Hashem and to Moshe.

Why is so much expected from us? Why did Moshe forgive them so quickly? What is the the idea of looking at the snake, that saved them?

The first lesson found here, is that we are different and special. We are The Chosen People for a reason, because Hashem sees the amazing qualities we have over all other nations of the world. The world sees that we are special as well, and they expect us to keep to higher standards. This is why when a Jew does something wrong, it is a bigger deal than when a non Jew does the same act. When our faith is tested over and over again, through struggles, suffering and letdowns, we have it in us to remain strong in our faith and belief. We know that Hashem is in control and that He knows what He is doing. We understand that every setback is really a stepping stone to something much better. We need to rise above in every situation, and when we don't, we let down Hashem, the world and worst of all ourselves.

The second lesson is that when we realize that we are wrong, we ask for forgiveness. And when we are asked for forgiveness sincerely, we should forgive immediately.

The copper snake was placed on a staff, so that you had to look up to it, and so, you were looking up to our Father in heaven. This is the key to being the special people we are, is that we are connected to Hashem and we realize that everything is from Him. When we realize that, the miracles and victories begin.

This parsha is the story of of our lives, the struggles, the suffering, the miracles and the victories. The main thing is to keep our focus on Hashem.

It is now over three years since my diagnosis and these ideas are some of the things that keep me going. First, I realize that I am not being punished, rather I have been placed in a unique position so I can accomplish the unique mission I have been charged with. Second, I have made it my way to ask forgiveness when I am wrong, or when I do something hurtful. It is hard, but it has saved me from heartache and aggravation and it has made life more pleasant for me and the people in my life. Third, and most important, recognizing that Hashem is in control, I don't have to obsess over what I am going through, He knows what He is doing, it is all from Him, and as long as the focus is on Hashem life is meaningful.

With all this said, it is time for Moshiach to come and for the suffering to end. May he come soon.

6 comments:

  1. Gevalt! Vintage Rav Yitzi! You're so much higher than us small people! Allow me to add to your wonderful vort: When the Jewish people complained about Hashem's way of treating them in the travels they said Elokim - ie the attribute of Din and punishment. But when Gd brought the snakes on them it says Y.H.V.H. His name that denotes mercy! Teaching, you thought what I was doing to you was Din I will show that even the punishment of snakes is mercy. And indeed they changed and said we spoke against Y.H.V.H!
    Thanks again and Good Shabbos!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This was so touching to read and think about.
    You are so correct.
    Nothing can touch us unless it is first sifted through the hands of G-d. (Just as with Job)
    One pastor Ive listened to often says "As children of a living G-d, we are NEVER victims of our circumstances."
    He has to allow it to happen, and if He does, then it is for a reason.
    The hard part is to sometimes try to understand the reason.
    Yet when all is said and done, we keep trusting in Him no matter what. He knows what is best and we can trust that He will always do what is best for us and others.
    My personal struggle is to forgive sometimes.
    I need prayer for that.
    I pray for you and your family faithfully.
    G-d is with us.
    Martha

    ReplyDelete
  3. When I listened to the song Katonti, where Jacob was afraid of the reaction of his eldest brother I thought what are we as human without God ? nothing... the best in us is Hiss and our lifetime connection. I pray for the people Israel and in the world that many of them come to beliefe, to repentance, insight that they need God, the God of Israel, of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Unity has to be there in all the people Israel ! Because Hashem wants it too ! Amen

    ReplyDelete
  4. When I listened to the song Katonti, where Jacob was afraid of the reaction of his eldest brother I thought what are we as human without God ? nothing... the best in us is Hiss and our lifetime connection. I pray for the people Israel and in the world that many of them come to beliefe, to repentance, insight that they need God, the God of Israel, of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Unity has to be there in all the people Israel ! Because Hashem wants it too ! Amen

    ReplyDelete
  5. From Seattle Washington- you have inspired me so much by your strength and courage and most of all by your belief in HaKadosh Baruch Hu. Keep strong and keep inspiring all of us. You are keeping all of us strong.... Thank you

    ReplyDelete