Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Walk in My Ways - and Eat Your Broccoli

"How about one broccoli and two desserts?" Thus is the reasoning of my son regarding eating dinner. Suffice it to say, that while we probably give in on a lot, that was not a deal we were going to accept. It can certainly be frustrating wanting to do what's right for your children even when they don't see it that way. It occurs to me to share this story because of something a friend mentioned regarding God and our prayers to God: "I know, we really don't want a God who takes advice from his creations." It was a great sentiment. And while the relationship between God and us and parents and kids is not exactly the same - I thought the story put it in context. And all of it goes to helping us understand the parshah (actually two combined) this week. The start of Leviticus 26 tells us that if we "walk in God's ways" then He will, so it seems anyway, bend the will of creation to suit our needs. However we know, as I suspect even our ancestors did too, that sometimes that doesn't seem to be the case. Rather I think, and I think it is along the same lines as our examples, that the emphasis is not to be on the rains and produce of the land but on the walking in God's ways. Walking in God's ways goes along with parenting with concern for the child's true health and well-being, or accepting that God isn't a magician for me. It is our understanding that living upright and moral lives, and helping others, being God's agents in this world - that those are the things that make whatever the rains and crops and whatever anything else does, if not "okay" then at least "endurable" - because we have caring people willing to step up all around us. Just as I hope in some small way, that eating broccoli will produce a child who cares about his own health and well-being and that of others, so too I think that this is what God wants of us and what He is trying to tell us in our parshah this week. Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Benson

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