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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.

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