Hopes and Fears

This weeks Torah portion ‘Chayei Sarah’ describes two events in the life of Abraham, which may not appear that significant, but which actually carry an incredible depth of meaning and insight.

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks writes a great article on this Parshah which brings out the amazing lesson and conclusion, that God’s great promises to Abraham do not mean that Abraham can sit back and have it all come to him without his total involvement. As Sacks’ states: “Faith does not mean passivity.”

The Hebrew language and the Hebrew mindset is all about action; about movement, energy, courage, passion, will, drive, and of course, trust (faithfulness).

Trust that God is involved; that He will support our righteous actions and even guide them through his teaching (His Torah) and His covenants, but that ultimately, we must act, we must step out with faith and courage and create the future that God has promised us. The Almighty wants to work with us, to work alongside us, to build our future together, to repair the world together (Tikkun HaOlam), and ultimately reward us with Eternity!

This was true in Abraham’s day and it is true today. It was true for the first Hebrew, the first man who ‘crossed over’, Abraham, the father of Israel and it is true for all Israel today, but it is also true for all the peoples of the many nations who call Abraham their father and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob their One True God and Saviour.

I strongly recommend reading Rabbi Sacks short article on the Aish.com site – see ‘Hopes and Fears’ at http://www.aish.com/tp/i/sacks/177159951.html

Super Heroes: It’s not about special powers

What is it that makes for super-heroes? What attributes do they need? What special skills like x-ray vision or special human strength do they need?

Perhaps the truth is that they need none of these; that is a more about their character and their sense of their place in the scheme of things?

Consider Moses.

What a super-hero he was! Yet, he had no super-powers, he couldn’t even speak well! He had just spent 40 years farming in the desert before he began his great mission.

But think back to the event that changed his life. He was a prince; he lived in the most absolute luxury of his day as a Prince in the household of the Pharaoh. But he saw an injustice and decided it was his responsibility to intervene!

Moses took responsibility; Moses became, in a sense, in that instance, a leader, one of the greatest leaders of all time! Taking responsibility is the Jewish definition of leadership.

Taking responsibility is seeing that the world  was in some sense made just for you – for you to have an impact to change it for the better – when you recognize this and repent of your failure to actualize your responsibility, then you too are on the path to becoming a great leader and super-hero!

Every Yom Kippur (through the great 10 Days of Awe) you again have a chance to reflect and to turn back to HaShem and to take responsibility for YOUR world, to repair or improve it – this is Tikkun Olam, repairing the world.

Become a super-hero today; take hold of the awesome and unique responsibility that the Almighty has given you to change the world, your world, for the better.

It is a sin to fail to use your God-given gifts for the betterment of your world. You are ‘missing the mark’ when you are NOT being the super-hero you were designed to be!

I hope you can come back early next week and catch our upcoming Podcast on Yom Kippur and being a super-hero; a man or woman with a future in the world to come!

Our podcasts are at aubreyandpaul.podomatic.com