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Last week in my traditional Simchat Torah message, I challenged all of us to "Be a scholar unto yourself." I talked about trusting your own ability to understand and interpret. I hope it was an interesting read for you.
Today, an entirely different mode. A lesson learned through failing to understand, and to check my own enthusiasm.
"It's easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them" -- Alfred Adler
Taking stances is easy. Reacting instead of acting is all too common. This week, I found myself drawn into that trap. Although my efforts had the best of intentions, I had neglected to temper my response with understanding.
Feelings are feelings, and fears are fears, no matter how irrational they may seem. I realized I had done little to aid those I was trying to help. Their reality is not mine. Through mere force of will, I cannot wipe their fears and concerns away. And in failing to show an understanding of their fears, I may have appeared to have been ridiculing them.
As I thought about this, I realized I might be using tactics like the ones used by the serpent to lure Chava. And by drug peddlers luring their victims. [added for 5764 - and maybe like proselytizing messianic Jews?] "Don't be afraid. Try it, you'll like it. It's silly to be scared of it. What have you got to lose?"
That may be a stretch of interpretation, but it's funny how even these everyday thoughts somehow find a connection to Torah. It's as though the mind seeks them out on its own.
Has your enthusiasm about something blinded you to the views of others? It's all to easy to be unaware of this.
Well, Shabbat is almost here (and is already here for some.) What better opportunity to try and live up to our principles, rather than blindly defending them to others?
And, as we begin our study of the Torah from the beginning, what better opportunity to learn (and re-learn) just what those principles might be?
I wish you all a peaceful, restful, and enervating Shabbat.
Adrian ©1999, 2004 by Adrian A. Durlester
Some previous musings on this parasha
Bereshit 5766-Kol D'mei
Bereshit 5765 (5760)-Failing to Understand-A Learning Experience
Bereshit 5764-Gd's Regrets
Bereshit 5762--The Essential Ingredient
Bereshit 5763--Striving to be Human
Bereshit 5761--Chava's Faith
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