Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Behaaloscha

Reliance

There is a moment of tension and crisis in the lives of all humans when one switches from dependence on others – parents, teachers, mentors, etc. – to self-reliance and independence. This transition is not usually accomplished easily or painlessly. And, truth be said, there are many who never accomplish this transition at all and remain in a stage of abject dependency all of their lives.

This moment of transition usually begins in one’s adolescent years, with the tug of war between parents and authority figures on one hand and the young trying to find their own way of life and achievements. It is very difficult for parents and teachers to witness their children or students making mistakes that these authority figures could have prevented.

But making mistakes is an integral part of life’s developmental process. I have always felt that one learns much more from one’s mistakes than one does from one’s apparent successes and triumphs. How to bear up under frustration and disappointment, how to be resilient in the face of failure and tragedy – this is the stuff of Jewish life and history. And all of this is the subtle message that we are taught at the beginning of this week’s parsha.

Rashi explains to us that the priest that lit the lights of the great candelabra in the Tabernacle/Temple held the lit taper to the wick of the lamp “until the new flame rose by itself.” The message here is clear. When the flame is able to rise by itself, the taper used to light it should be removed. The new flame has to burn by itself. The next generation has to be able to make its own way on its own.

Jewish history records many different eras in our long story. All of the generations faced similar challenges and difficulties – the constant problem of being a moral voice and a small demographic minority. Yet they all also faced difficulties and challenges that were particular and peculiar to their times and locales.

Though the general strategies of Jewish survival – Torah and observance, moral behavior and optimistic attitude and resilience – remained the same, the tactics of survival and Jewish success changed and adapted. The flame had to rise by itself or the taper of the previous generation’s presence and help would inexorably disappear.

Part of the challenge of our current society is its over-reliance on past generations – financially, morally, intellectually, tactically and socially. Recreating a fantasy laden past and justifying current policies that have already been proven to be less than constructive only compounds the problems that we truly face. The new flame is not allowed to rise and be able to burn on its own. The task of the past is to instruct, strengthen and ignite the new flame and not to stifle it by its overbearing presence.

Where this line is to be drawn is the stuff of wisdom and foresight, responsibility and probity. The great High Priest Aharon was entrusted with this task. His love of others was the guarantee that he would light the future lamps correctly while using the older taper he held in his hands.

Shabat shalom

Rabbi Berel Wein


Crash course in Jewish history

Rabbi Berel Wein- Jewish historian, author and international lecturer offers a complete selection of CDs, audio tapes, video tapes, DVDs, and books on Jewish history at www.rabbiwein.com


 






ARTICLES ON MASEI AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

A Body and Soul Job
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

Your Flattery Will Be The Death of Me
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5774

The Number Forty-Two
Shlomo Katz - 5767

> A Fresh Look – at Life
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

How We Suffer
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Kamtza and Bar-Kamtza
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

Looking for a Chavrusah?

What Are We Mourning on the Ninth of Av
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5765

What to Make of My Summer Break?!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

An Oath
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5769

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Your Flattery Will Be The Death of Me
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

Read the Directions
Rabbi Moshe Peretz Gilden - 5763

On the Road of Life
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5761

ArtScroll

Armed with the Past
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765

Take Vengeance for Hashem
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5756

The Age Of Experience
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

It Defies Belief
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5762



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information