Thursday, August 22, 2013

Is there Another Way of Looking At This ?

The following story is fiction and being used to demonstrate a point.

Sarah is a woman who prides herself on being conscious about nutrition and exercise. She goes to great lengths to provide her family with meals and snacks that are nutritious and tasty. One can find lots of fresh vegetables at her dinner table. In fact, there is a fresh salad that is the first thing the family enjoys at the start of every dinner. That is followed by a serving of lean protein such as grilled chicken along with a starch that is whole grain and roasted veggies. The beverage department consists of juice and water. Soda is a four letter word in this home and not to be found even in its diet form. There is an allowance made once a week at this table and that is dessert, of course. Sarah serves some pie and ice cream in moderation every Wednesday evening. She and her family savor these delectable delights and are the highlight of their week. 

It makes Sarah feel better that the family takes a walk after dinner to burn of some of those calories. The family begrudgingly follows Sarah on her 20 minute walk after the Wednesday evening dinner.

On a particular Wednesday, just as Sarah was serving hot chocolate cake with some rich ice cream on the side, there was a knock at the door. The Mother in Law had arrived just to say hello. When she saw Sarah serving the dessert to her family, she began lecturing her on the importance of good nutrition and to keep sweets away from her family.

Now, let's pause and reflect for a moment. The truth of the matter is that technically the critic is correct. The dessert that was being served had no nutritional value and full of empty calories. Yet, when you take the entire situation into account it is clear that the dessert is a small component of the overall menu and lifestyle choice of Sarah and her family. When assesing a situation and making a judgment, we must see the forest and not just one tree and then come to a conclusion.

I have this thought as we study the mitzva of Bikkurim in this weeks parsha. The Torah teaches us the mitzva for the farmer to bring up the first of his harvest as an expression of gratitude to God. The Torah states, "You shall rejoice in all that is good". Was everything in their life good? Didn’t they have their fair share stress and challenges like bills to pay? 

We are being taught an important lesson. We must look at the big picture and realize despite the challenges and setbacks they we are confronted with -- It is all good. The question is not on what the reality on the ground is but rather what is our reaction to it.

Please share your thoughts.

1 comment:

  1. A good parable, Rabbi, and one that caused me to pause and consider the forest. Thank you for the invitation to do just that.


I had been hoping to write my message this week on some reflections of a Purim holiday that was joyous in many different ways. This week is ...