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ב"ה

Uncomplicated

Friday, 27 May, 2022 - 2:30 am

By the Grace of G-d

Dear Friend,

What can you do to make sure you have a blessed and successful life?

The trillion-dollar question.

The Torah has a very simple answer.

In this weeks Parsha.

If you follow My statutes and observe My commandments and perform them,

I will give your rains in their time, the Land will yield its produce, and the tree of the field will give forth its fruit.

Your threshing will last until the vintage, and the vintage will last until the sowing; you will eat your food to satiety, and you will live in security in your land.

Quite straightforward, says G-d.

Live according to my instructions and I will provide you with all the blessings of life.

Uncomplicated.

Wholesome.

Traditional.

In today’s society that is overwhelmed by technology and speed, simplicity is quite welcome.

One of the most popular energy bars on the marked in the USA is the have trademarked the following sentence about their products.

ingredients you can see and pronounce TM

We have come around full circle in many ways.

For example. During my stint teaching Judaism in Russia in 1989, we took our own bags when went to buy things in the market. Plastic bags were a western luxury that didn’t exist in the Ukrainian farmers market that we would buy our vegetables at.

Today, while in the developing countries, there are plastic shopping bags, in western society plastic bags are not provided.

In the olden days the wealthy ate white bread. Today, those who can afford more, eat the healthier whole grain bread.

It is about time that we came to the realization that good old-fashioned tradition of following in the way of G-d, is the surest path to a happy and healthy life.

What does it mean to follow in the path of G-d?

Maimonides (Rambam), points out his book  of laws, of which we study daily

(De’ot Chapter 1, paragraph 5-6)

We are commanded to walk in these intermediate paths - and they are good and straight paths - as [Deuteronomy 28:9] states: "And you shall walk in His ways."

[Our Sages] taught [the following] explanation of this mitzvah:
Just as He is called "Gracious," you shall be gracious;
Just as He is called "Merciful," you shall be merciful;
Just as He is called "Holy," you shall be holy;

In a similar manner, the prophets called God by other titles: "Slow to anger," "Abundant in kindness," "Righteous," "Just," "Perfect," "Almighty," "Powerful," and the like. [They did so] to inform us that these are good and just paths. A person is obligated to accustom himself to these paths and [to try to] resemble Him to the extent of his ability.

To spell it out every more straightforwardly, following in the path of G-d means acting as G-d acts,

Just as He dresses the naked..., you, too, should dress the naked;
God visited the sick...; you, too, should visit the sick;
God comforted the bereaved...; you, too, should comfort the bereaved;
God buried the dead...; you, too, should bury the dead.

Jews knew this and lived (and loved) this absolute truth for thousands of years.

During the turbulent years in the aftermath of the upheavals of the world wars, it had become fashionable to reject the traditions of Judaism. So called ‘sophistication’ became something to aspire too.

It hasn’t worked.

In the olden days when the Jewish People deviated from the straight path, G-d sent prophets to remind them to come back to the ways of G-d.

These days, we see it in contemporary tales of woe described by psychologist and therapists.

Throwing off the commitment to G-d’s instructions has not brought happiness or contentment.

It has made things more complicated.

It has led to deep dissatisfaction and a sense of purposelessness that is demoralizing and dangerous.

This is a very important thing to bear in mind.

Life is too short to allow ourselves to be Guinee pigs.

The path that is G-dly mandated. The ‘manufacturers instruction’ to us, is the Torah.

For Jews we have the 613 commandments that create a dwelling for Hashem here in this lower world.

For all of humanity there are the ‘seven laws for a beautiful planet’.

By following these instructions, Hashem - the Creator of the entire universe – says, I will give you all the blessings of everything you need for a happy, healthy, secure and joyous life.

The most inspiring and uplifting part of this weeks Parsha for me, is the interpretation by our Sages that reframes the verse ‘if you follow my commandments’ to mean ‘PLEASE, I implore you, keep my commandments’.

In my mind I conjure up an image of a mother, entreating, cajoling and pleading with her child ‘ess mein kind’ ‘eat, my child’.

G-d is, so-to-speak, pleading with us. Please, I wish, I hope, that you keep my commandments.

Living according to the Divine life plan, is the happiest and most wholesome way to live. G-d beseeches us to trust Him on that and follow His instructions.

Even though we are not perfect, He looks at us with a benevolent eye. He desires to ‘catch us’ doing the RIGHT things. So that He can reward us and bless us with the things we so richly deserve.

AMEN

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Yosef Kantor

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