Just get in line joining all the others who are blaming me for this morning’s snow. I warned Debbie: I told her, when she asked me to put away the snow shovel and the salt, that as long as the shovel and the salt were out it would not snow, but if I put them away; it would definitely snow. She laughed! Well, I listen to my wife. I put the shovel and the salt away. Of course, we woke up this morning, after a few days of summer weather, to snow. It’s my fault! |
Do I really believe that my actions control the weather? Well, let’s put it this way: I knew that if I put the shovel away it would snow, and it did. A few years ago, when there was a drought in New York City, I offered my skills to save the city: whenever we bathe our dog, comb him and make him all nice and clean, we know for a fact that the next time he steps outside, it will rain. I offered to bathe our dog every day, and the drought would end. In fact, I am willing to move to Israel and bathe Pip every day so that there will be no more water shortage. Does anyone take me seriously? For some odd reason, no.
So, again you ask; do you really believe you control the weather? No! I don’t. But I do know that there are things I do that guarantee the weather will change.
Isn’t that contradictory, you may ask. Definitely! But I live with contradictions. Just look at the portion of Parah; it’s all about living with contradictions.
How many of us pray, declaring our conviction that prayer works, yet we remain doubtful whether a specific prayer will be affected? How many of us live a religious or spiritual life with a strong the belief that what we do truly matters, and yet pray or perform a mitzvah without really believing that this specific prayer or mitzvah matters?
I received an e-mail yesterday informing me that if I were to contribute to a specific fund, that many of the leading rabbis of the generation promise that I would receive great blessings. Now, I love blessings. But why would I need a Rabbi, no matter how wise and holy, to promise me a blessing if I believe that simply fulfilling a mitzvah will bring me blessing? Just another one of the regular contradictions in our lives.
So perhaps the first lesson we have to take from Parshat Parah is to acknowledge and pinpoint the contradictions in our lives. I’m working on my list. The first item of course will be my snow shovel and Pip. I’ll get back to you about the rest of my list.
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