What is our responsibility as human beings?
2 Av 5776 בלוג מַּטּוֹת – מַסְעֵי, ב” אב, תשע”ו
The double portion Mattot-Maasei “tribes-journeys” ends the book of Numbers and begins with the idea of vows. Yeshua told us in Matthew 5:37 in his Sermon of the Mount that we should not swear about anything but that our yes needs to be yes and our no needs to be no. Anything else comes from evil. The Torah teaches us that if we make vows, we need to keep our word. My father was a very honorable businessman and his handshake was worth more than any signed contract. His word was his bond. This concept has all but disappeared in this day and age and instead it is rare to find any honesty in business. Sadly today bankruptcy has become the means to get ahead leaving many to suffer.
In this portion we see Moshe passing the baton of leadership to his second in command, Joshua. There is always a leader chosen for a time followed by a new leader who will take over the reins. I am praying that a good new leader would take the world stage but the problem is that there is no one to be found. Instead we find dictators who care only about themselves not the people. The great leaders of the past have disappeared while today’s politicians care only about how much money they can accumulate for themselves. They supposedly have come to serve the people; they begin with their pockets empty and full of promises but when they leave, their pockets are filled and their promises null and void. The people however adore these leaders and don’t seem to see or care about their moral turpitude. Both politicians and religious leaders have one thing in common —very full pockets but in the end who are they serving — the golden calf or the Creator?
The greatest gift that our Creator gave us is free will. We have each been given the right to make our own decisions and this right carries with it the responsibility for the decisions that we make. However what is happening in the world today? Most people blame others for their actions and rarely do they take responsibility for what they have done. You see this especially in the realm of the politicians. Few are honest admitting that they did wrong and then taking the steps to make it right. The concern today is more about being politically, socially and theologically correct than what the Torah asks which is to be ethically and morally correct for everyone, not just a small powerful minority. Our Creator tells us to be responsible for ourselves. We cannot blame our past and our families, even if we have come from a very difficult home. Once we are an adult we are then responsible for our actions. Throughout the years I have been teaching that we are each made in a marvelous way as we read in Psalm 139. We are each special and are privileged to have been called on this journey yet there is no perfection in us. We are humans and commit mistakes and so the Creator gives us the opportunity to do teshuva so that we can acknowledge our faults and make things right with our fellow man. That process is our remaking. When we don’t care about our actions or about others we become destructive. Each one of us is very important. We matter. We are special. Don’t look at how small we are but at the privilege of being a chosen vessel for Him. We don’t need to be like others who follow anything new. We follow Him. Yeshua said blessed are those who are poor in spirit and who humble themselves before the Creator for they will be in His Presence. The journeys of the tribes of Israel give us a picture of the journey that we each take through this life. They learned to be in community, accountable and responsible for each other. It is only then that true growth can occur. No man was created to be an island.