Friday, August 31, 2012

Support The Troops!

Seventy-four of the Torah’s 613 commandments are in the Parshah of Ki Teitzei. Choosing an idea to write about this week was as difficult as shopping in Marshalls. Nice things all over the place, you dont know where to look first, and you have to sort through everything to find what speaks to you at that moment. Some of the mitzvos this week include the laws of the beautiful captive, laws governing the purity of the military camp, the prohibition against turning in an escaped slave, and other laws and discussions about fighting in war.
 With laws as interesting as how to respond to the wayward and rebellious son, burial and dignity of the dead, returning a lost object, sending away the mother bird before taking her young, the duty to erect a safety fence around the roof of one’s home, the judicial procedures and penalties for adultery, for the rape or seduction of an unmarried girl, and for a husband who falsely accuses his wife of infidelity...and a whole lot more, why have I chosen to focus on war? Not because that´s the hot topic in the world right now. This war has no connection to Iran, to the U.S., to Israel, or to Afghanistan. It has nothing to do with Obama.
The war I speak of  is one that´s more personal than the ones we read about on the headlines on Yahoo. It´s a war in which each one of us are the soldiers. Or if we´re lucky, even the Generals. The battle is called LIFE.
In this world, we are all in an ongoing war: our spiritual selves battle our animal selves; our mind fights mindless emotionality; higher, broader vision constantly battles limited vision.
Each time we come to a crossroads, and we have to decide whether to go right, or to go left, we experience an inner conflict. Whatever decision we make will result in some sort of sacrifice, so naturally we choose the easier one.
Easy and Hard. These two antonyms are mistake number one. The second set would be Good and Bad. We often connect and confuse the two ideas by thinking that EASY=GOOD and HARD=BAD. The most practical example disproving this misconception would be: chocolate cake vs. exercise. The cake is EASY...way too easy...but it´s BAD for you. Exercise is HARD...oh, so hard...but it´s GOOD for you. So, easy doesn´t mean good, and hard doesn´t mean bad. Sometimes the more difficult the decision is to make, the more beneficial it will be for us.
We are put to this test, not just daily, but multiple times per day. In our physical lives, and in our spiritual lives. I constantly find myself at a crossroads trying to be victorious over my conflict of wills. My will vs God´s will. Easy vs hard. Intellectual vs emotional.
And sometimes the battle is even more intense, when we make a choice, but the decision made presents a whole new set of choices, bringing us into the overwhelming maze of option. Like choosing to admire instead of ridicule, or to praise instead of slander, to be independent instead of to conform. But... the war isn´t over yet. One must choose to admire, but not envy, to follow but not imitate, to praise but not flatter, to lead but not manipulate.
Life is an ongoing war. And, like in any war, the winner is the one who stoops in order to conquer.

¨ If there exists no possibility of failure, then victory is meaningless ¨

Have a great shabbos!