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Would you give it all up?

Thursday, 1 August, 2019 - 7:01 am


Where do you draw the line? Logic says that we are to sacrifice for the things that are important to us in life. To provide a living for our families we work hard, giving up on potentially enjoyable vacations. We study late into the night to achieve our intellectual goals. We put aside our personal needs for our children. In the sacrifice we uncover potentials we never knew we had. However, how much sacrifice is enough?

In this week's portion, G-d tells Moshe to avenge Him through battling the Midianites. (The Midianites seduced the Jews into Idol Worship, thereby turning them from G-d.) G-d says to him matter-of-factly "avenge the vengeance of G-d against the Midianites and afterward, you will be gathered unto your people."  G-d was saying that after this battle your mission on this earth will be concluded and it will be time to return home (you will pass away). The Jewish people knew that this was Moshe's last "hurrah" and thus hesitated to go to war. Moshe, on the other hand, immediately began the battle preparations.

The Torah is telling us that sacrifice is total. There is no limit. To reach the greatest of heights you need to be willing to give up everything for that goal. As long as there is a self-imposed boundary that we won't cross, we are still driven by our ego. To reach the very essence of our potential, we need to transcend our self. 

At his very core, Moshe was a leader of his people. By going to war, Moshe knew that he would be giving up his leadership. However, that too, Moshe was willing to do because G-d had instructed him to do so. Moshe could have argued that he would be giving up his leadership by doing so. However, to reach the essence is to transcend, to walk across the line of total sacrifice. It was by doing this that Moshe became the most exceptional leader. His leadership lives on more so after his death, then even in his lifetime. Why? Because he gave everything up for G-d.

In life, we can calculate the return on investment of our sacrifices, "if I sacrifice this much, then I will get the following in return". Sometimes we are put to the test to sacrifice everything, counter to anything that makes sense. Moreover, that is where our essence comes out.

Are you willing to give it all up (whatever your "it" is)? If the ROI is your G-dly essence being revealed, then is it worth it?

Have an amazing Shabbos,

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman



Comments on: Would you give it all up?

Marina k Pearce wrote...

That is really big food for thought. It may be very difficult at first but the alternative would be to go against G-d wishes and I think a world without G-d would lb d bring us back to Sodom and Gemorrah.