Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Living Jewish

Look up "crowd control" in Wikipedia and you'll see phrases like "to prevent possible riots", "events such as soccer games", "stanchions and crowd barriers", "cooling fans and entertainment [to keep the crowd from getting unruly]".  And that's just the first paragraph.  Most of us probably imagine that crowds as small as several hundreds would probably start to need some crowd control; by the thousands and tens of thousands, you are definitely in crowd control territory.  Yet, with more then 90,000 Jews attended the Siyum haShas in NY MetLife stadium, there was no talk of crowd control.  The police and heightened security were in place for protection of the crowd, not control.

That got me thinking about the paragraph in the "hadran" that compares our waking, laboring, and running to their waking, laboring, and running.  The structure is oddly poetic, "we get up early and they get up early; we get up early for this, they get up early for that".  So odd, I believe, that to understand it as simply poetic is to miss half the message.  My rendition of those statements with interlaced explanation in brackets follows.

We get up early [and immediately thank G-d for another day of life], and they get up early [with no recognition for the Giver of life]; [not only that, but] we get up early for divrei torah [-- the ultimate vehicle for connection with the Creator of the World Himself], and they get up early [to occupy themselves with things that have no ultimate purpose except providing a way to kill time].

We labor [in Torah, Avoda, and G'milus Chasadim; each one of which the fulfillment of a direct commandment of the Creator], they labor [in whatever make them feel good/fulfilled/etc].  We get rewarded for each moment of labor [since we are fulfilling the Will of the Creator], they labor and do not receive [any additional] reward [since they are doing what they feel is rewarding for themselves anyway].

We run [with derech eretz and confidence that we are living a life of purpose]; they run [and run, and run, and run].  We are running for the sake of our ultimate and eternal lives with HaKadosh Baruch Hu in olam haba.  They are running [and running, and running... and in the end they end up lunging] into the destructive pit.

The end of that paragraph is a pasuk then ends very simply, "and I will always trust You."  Seems pretty darn reasonable.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Hydroponically Grown Humans... I Feel Sick

I am quite openly not at all objective about abortion in particular and the treatment of human embryos and fetuses in general.  I am, after all, the survivor of a failed abortion attempt.  Not "thought about it, but couldn't go through with it"; not "made appointment, but then chickened out at the lost moment"; but, "tried a procedure, but was unsuccessful in attempt to abort".  Nonetheless, I try very hard to listen to the liberal arguments (which I also used to chant as part of the general liberal catechism), and am genuinely empathetic to the plight of women who find themselves in that difficult position.

What I heard on NPR this morning, however, has left me feeling physically ill.  You can read about it, if you like, but here's the bottom line:  Scientists in Cambridge have achieved a new record, they fertilized a human ova and then kept it alive in vitro (that is, in a test tube/petri dish in a laboratory) for 14 days.  The scientist involve…