We Are SO NOT In Control… The Humbling Power Of Humility – By Marc

“Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.”
Some may remember a take on this quote from Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory, but it is actually from the The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Wonka’s quote was “Bubbles, bubbles everywhere, and not a drop to drink… yet.”

Both ominous, foreboding, foreshadowing and foretelling.

Given what is going on in this country… things that are only now being revealed, the first quote seems even more insightful, ironic and just plain depressing.

And yes, I seem to be stuck on a theme here… though it is one that keeps presenting itself over and over again. I must turn off the news!

My cousin’s son had his Bar Mitzvah this past weekend. (No, that is not him nor his cake, but yes, the whole family is obsessed with Hamilton!)

It was a reminder that we all must celebrate life and enjoy each and every moment we can be together. Getting family and friends in one place is rare, and it is either to celebrate or mourn, it seems… so let us celebrate as often as we can.

Rabbi Steven Leder was our spiritual guide, and his ties to my family are strong. He was one of the first Rabbis I met when I moved to LA… married me, and named my daughter. When I ran into him at a memorial service several months ago, he asked if I was still married. When I told him I was not, he lamented about his streak. It was one of those funny/serious moments only a great Rabbi can pull off.

A big thanks to you, Rabbi… for the continuing inspiration. It was nice to pick back up a bit.

On Friday night he offered the following lesson on when one is allowed to leave the Sukkah, and like any Jewish teaching, it was not an easy one to digest. Sometimes the stories and lessons can sound so harsh.

I cannot find the hand out… of course… why should it be that easy… but the gist of it and comparison was that according to the Sages, the time to leave the Sukkah for the comforts of your home are equal to when a servant comes to pour a drink for his master, but instead of accepting the cup, the master splashes water in the servant’s face.

Pleasant, right?

I’ll tell you there are many examples like this, that without the Rabbis’ guidance and a group discussion it would be easy to turn tail and run.

What the congregation came up with was that first and foremost, sometimes, even with the best intentions, we may be challenged in fulfilling a mitzvah. But that is a bit crazy, too, right? G-d wants us to follow the mitzvot… He wants us to stay in the Sukkah… so why would he make the rains so harsh… why would water be splashed in our face?

If our intentions are pure and good and honest, sometimes that is enough… and sometimes it just does not work out the way we want it to.

Another reality, both harsh and revelatory, is that being righteous, successful, wealthy, etc. does NOT make you immune to these things, either. It harkens back to why do bad things happen to good people…

And so what does that come down to???

HUMILITY. A quality so vital… so important… and so essential, it may just be the basis of Judaism.

I would contend that BELIEVING IN HASHEM AND THAT HE IS ONE… ALWAYS DOING THE RIGHT THING… and BEING HUMBLE are what make up the very foundation of Judaism.

And it seems that sometimes, we all need to be reminded that we are so not in charge…, that no matter WHAT we do, Hashem is the Big Boss… and that we all need to truly understand humility.So let us also ponder the power of water… What it is like without it… what it is like with too much of it… and what it is like to have it splashed in our face.



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