Message for the Week from Rabbi Stein
You are Half Way There
Rabbi Jay M. SteinSunday, May 7, 2017 at 12:00:00 am
And it shall be a statute for ever unto you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and shall do no manner of work, the home-born, or the stranger that sojourneth among you. Leviticus 16:29
The weather has turned warm and the commercials for bathing suit season are in full swing. One commercial for the summer has us ask ourselves if we are willing to show our bodies on the beach. If not, we should enroll is a gym and get ourselves ready for showing more skin. There is still time to get in shape.
Some of us will embark upon a rigorous workout regime. Others, weekend warriors, will pull muscles or, at the least, feel extremely sore. Had we decided months ago to get ready, the process would have been easier. But some of us procrastinate and are forced to make up for lost time.
We are just under six months away from Rosh Hashannah; just a little over six months away from Yom Kippur. Half the year is already gone, but don't panic. We still have a few important holidays to celebrate before the High Holidays. Now is a good time to ask ourselves how we are doing on our last New Year's resolutions. Do you even remember those things on which you decided you would focus?
This week's reading tells us not to give up on last year's resolutions but rather begin to ready ourselves for the coming high Holidays. If we want this year's High Holidays to be meaningful, we should begin now to plan by taking stock of what we want to accomplish this year. We are half way there. There is plenty of time to make good on promises made, be they promises to family and friends; promises to ourselves and/or promises to God. Let's arrive at the High Holidays confident that we have worked hard to accomplish great things, be they achievements large or small.
Your Are Your Own Best Advocate
Rabbi Jay M. SteinTuesday, April 25, 2017 at 12:00:00 am
“And if a man or a woman have in the skin of their flesh bright spots, even white bright spots; then the priest shall look; and, behold, if the bright spots in the skin of their flesh be of a dull white, it is a tetter, it hath broken out in the skin: he is clean.” (Leviticus 13:38-39)
Five years ago I developed a pain in my left forefinger. It wasn’t terrible, but it did hurt. I could swear I felt a bump and it looked a little swollen. I ignored it for a while until it really started to hurt. I went to my internist who said it was nothing. He suggested that if it still bothered me in a month, I should return and he would order x-rays and perhaps an MRI. A month later I went back and he did a full study that showed pretty much nothing. A month later, again, we went through the same exercise. Still nothing. So I decided to go for another opinion. At the request of my mother, I went to see her “brilliant” hand specialist. Still the same result. Finally, I decided I would just have to live with it.
Although we hear many stories about second and third opinions resulting in the same diagnosis, we also hear stories about people who knew something was wrong and they pursued professional opinions until something significant was indeed discovered.
Sometimes we simply accept the professional’s opinion and sometimes we reject the diagnosis. It is important, in this medically advanced world, to know when to accept and when to look further. The decision can only come from knowing oneself.
Words of Encouragement
Rabbi Jay M. SteinSunday, April 23, 2017 at 12:00:00 am
Moses said to Aaron, "come forward." There is a tradition that Aaron had to be urged to bring his purification offering, a calf, because he was embarrassed. It reminded him of his role in fashioning the Golden Calf. (Etz Hayim page 631)
I watch many sports. There is an interesting ”happening” that occurs at many sports events that doesn’t take place in our every-day lives. Cheerleaders appear. What I find amazing about this is that most people who play sports don't need the added incentive of someone pushing them to try harder. Conversely, there are many professions in which a great deal of support is needed, yet there is none. And so too in our every-day lives.
Perhaps our values are misaligned. We all need encouragement. Regardless the situation, at some time in our lives, we all need a little push. Perhaps we should stop for a moment during our busy days and offer someone words of support for whatever their need.