Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Parshat VaYishlach, Deceiving Yourself

Parshat VaYishlach, Deceiving Yourself - Is your view of reality accurate?  Today we talk about “fake news” and how the unique experiences of people may make it hard to understand them and their challenges.  But what happens when you have the wrong picture of things? Can that be?
The Prophet Obadiah in the haftarah addresses this.  Speaking about the Edomites a related tribe to the Jews who failed to aide them in their time of need he says:
Z’don libcha hishi-echa, “your heart has deceived you [to do bad things]”
Later, in talking about how the Edomites are “going to get it” he says, hi’shi’ucha yachlu lecha anshe sh’lomecha, “they’ve deceived you, your supporters [and now you’ll be defeated without them]”
Through the use of “deceiving” in both places, the Prophet Obadiah tells us something, and not just about the Edomites, but for us now.
What Obadiah wants to tell us is don’t deceive yourself about what’s right and about doing the right thing.
Surround yourself by the wrong people, let their words and actions deceive you as to the right things, as to the nature of reality itself, and you will face the repercussions.  
And how do we know what is “right?”  Obadiah’s criticism of Edom in a moment of crisis, they ignored those in need, those who should have been important to them.  
We must constantly ask ourselves if our views and perceptions are leading us to shun and ignore those we should help.  If we find ourselves increasingly seeing people as “other” and unworthy of our concern, we may just be deceiving ourselves.  
Shabbat Shalom 
Rabbi Benson

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