Wednesday, 21 June 2017

40 Crazy Years! Why should I Change NOW???

Addiction-free life is in your hands - This is the lesson of Parashat Shelach and it's Haftara

by Mark (See all authors)

Parshas Shelach describes a Jew's inability of breaking out from victim - aka Egyptian (*1) Slave Mentality - into survivor - aka Freedom Mentality - when they accepted the report of the spies negatively. This sealed their fate in the desert.

In contrast, the Haftara relates Rachav's strength of character breaking free out of 40 years of prostitution from the (*2) young age of 10 [Perhaps due to childhood abuse], and the temptations of her renowned beauty (*3). She made a turn around to the point that she became the wife of the leader of the Jewish nation - Yehoshua!

Her entire nation was in a state of terror with the news of the pending attack from the Jewish nation, where lust activities virtually ceased and closed down her immodest store (*4).

She then made a moral inventory - and accept the true G-d of the Jews, at risk of death. Her neighbors could have done so too. They did not.

She chose life and G-d granted it to her

Rachav’s message to us (*5), is that no excuse should impede our ability to change. Whatever our life circumstances, we are free either to take responsibility or ignore opportunities for our own self-growth. Rachav decided to use the very same things she had used all along, in order to do the Will of Hashem, in order to create a relationship with him.

Rachav ultimately marries Yehoshua and our sages tell us that from her came eight high priests, who were also prophets – among them Yirmiyahu and Yechezkel. How did she merit such offspring, when in fact there have been others through history who saw God and committed to Him, yet did not merit such rewards? The answer lies in the fact that Rachav saw God in a situation where others might have asked, “Where is God?” Consider Rachav’s position: she is attached to 31 Kings and knows their secrets; she lives on the border the Jewish people are about to overrun; she has no idea whether the two men she hides will accept her. Nonetheless, she sees God’s hand in these tribulations, and to this she commits everything.
Rachav understands that good or bad, everything that happens points the way to God.

To be in a difficult situation and make the best of it – to see God in the midst of uncertainty and chaos – is a quintessentially Jewish trait, whose foremother is the great Rachav.

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Notes:
*1) See Ibn Ezra Shemos 14:13 re: the slave mentality of the Jewish people
*2) See Tractate Zevachim 116b
*3) See Tractate Megilla 15a
*4) Kesef Mezukak - Parshat Shelach
*5) The final paragraphs are from
torah.org/learning/women-class30/