Perashat Pekudei 5779
Perashat Pekudei 5779Friday, March 08, 2019
Adar is the month of pure Joy!
Meshenichnas Adar Marbim Besimcha! When Adar arrives we expand our happiness!
Our Chachamim teach us that this month is a fortuitous time, a time of excellent mazal for the Jewish people.
It strikes me as interesting that we read the story of Purim with its dangerous drama in this month! Granted there was a happy ending, but that doesn't discount the fact that until such time that the miracle happens we are caught in this terrible situation with death waiting right around the corner! That doesn't sound so joyful, does it?
I think that we are reminded of something that we know but seem to repeatedly forget. Joy and happiness are not a straight line or a stream of one happy moment after another. Real simcha and enduring joy are the product of hard work, struggle and triumph over adversity. I would go so far as to say that there is no real simcha without this partner. Sure, ice cream might make you feel happy for a minute, but when you've taken your last lick, it's over.
The Talmud teaches that, "Shraga Betehara Mai Ahani, A Light in the daytime doesn't illuminate". For someone's light to really shine and be noticed you NEED darkness. It provides a backdrop, a context to understand someone's achievements and strengths. Imagine for a moment that someone at your office is doing a passable job, nothing special. Then you find out that they are a single parent and raising the children by themselves, doing breakfast and drop-offs to school before work, and pick-ups, dinner and homework afterward! Suddenly "passable" becomes super impressive and maybe even a bit heroic! The context and the challenges they are facing colors their achievements with greatness.
I remember reading a while ago about a runner who was unfortunately physically disabled. This young athlete said that he just wanted people to see that he was the same as all the other boys, and that he could run and jump like everyone else. But I kept thinking to myself that he wasn't like everyone else; he was so much better! He was competing with them with so many more obstacles in his way. Why should he be compared to them? That would be the same as comparing two runner's times at the end of a race to see who was a better sprinter, and ignoring the fact that one person ran the 100-yard dash and the other the 400-yard dash!
The mountains we climb grow the muscles we need to march forward. Instead of seeing them as obstacles on our path, we should see them as our greatest assets. Learning to LOVE your challenges is everything in this life. It brings a person to a state of perpetual Simcha and Joy!
When the Jews put up the Mishkan during its dedication for seven days, each day Moshe would build the entire Mishkan and then take it down again. Finally, after the seven days, Moshe put it together permanently, only to be disassembled when they next needed to travel. "Ki sheva Yipol Tzaddik VKam!, For a Tzaddik falls seven times and rises up again!" We need to be built in a way that falling doesn't break us, because EVERYONE falls. It is the great ones who keep getting back up. We need to be able to take ourselves apart and travel when opportunities arise somewhere else. This is the nature of true simcha, to understand that the purpose of falling is to allow you to rise stronger, and last longer than the last time.
Shabbat Shalom and Hodesh Tov!
Rabbi Shlomo Farhi
May 26 2019
Iyar 21 5779