14 Adar B 5779 / Thursday, March 21, 2019 | Torah Reading: Tzav
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Inside the Shell    

Inside the Shell

The shell never gets smaller. We get bigger. In fighting, we grow and grow to the point that we hit the edge of the shell and break through…


Does evil always precede good?


It feels like the only time I move forward is when someone is breathing down my neck.


What is evil? It is called a klipah, or shell. It is something that surrounds and engulfs us. The only thing we can do is push back as the shell closes in.


Is this why we thank Hashem for the bad along with the good? The world was born in darkness. Our existence in this world starts inside a dark womb. Only by pushing out are we born.


That’s why evil people always look like they are winning. Our journey begins not in the light of day but as a new adversary strangles us. Then the journey begins. If we delude ourselves that their lead is unbeatable, we stop trying.


King David calls evil chaff that the wind drives away (Psalms 1:4). But doesn’t the chaff cover the wheat, almost swallowing it into darkness? Only in the end we realize that the chaff must be removed for the wheat to be useful. The seed inside grows, pushing against the chaff. The chick grows, pushing against the eggshell.


The good pushes outward only when surrounded by darkness. The darkness doesn’t feel intense until you struggle to break out. Only when the chick is strong enough does the egg crack. Only when the wheat is big enough will the chaff be removed and exposed as waste.


Isn’t this the fight we are waging today?


Hollywood celebrities gain fame by dehumanizing deeds. Political leaders sell out people and standards to reach the spotlight. The corporate VP stabs you in the back...the stockbroker promises you the moon...the guy promises you it will be forever…


Aren’t they doing pretty well right now? Why did this happen?


It wakes us up. It gets us into fighting mode. We are at peak performance when forced to the edge of a cliff. It’s easy to push off clubbing, drugs, sex, and booze while Rav Arush is pushing you straight to the door of heaven. But what happens when you watch the ballgame and the next commercial features cheerleaders trying to sell you a six-pack of suds?


What happens when those cheerleaders, or people who look like them, ignore you and drool over the stockbroker, corporate VP, or sports star?


Only when surrounded by darkness do you have to fight, and it’s always the fight of your life. Only when someone tries to take something from you by immoral means do you feel incensed, or scared, or pray like never before, or work with all your strength. Often, when it looks like he is better at navigating this world and you simply cannot win, you surrender . . . to Hashem.  You realize that the only way to endure is by total faith in Him and the situation He put you in.


Wasn’t that the purpose in the first place? The shell never gets smaller. We get bigger. In fighting, we grow and grow to the point that we hit the edge of the shell and break through.


The challenge of life is to constantly push the limits of whatever is in our way.


Evil has never been so powerful before. The darkness has never been this dark. It can only be Hashem, pitting us against the hardest shell. By pushing with all our might, conceding we cannot win, turning to Hashem for help . . . we will be like the wheat grain ready to be plucked, but unable to do anything until Hashem blows off the chaff.



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David Ben Horin is the author of Thank God for IsraelZionism that Pays the Rent, and The Great Life Hack which you can have it for free! I also write first class content for startups, non-profits, and businesses of all sizes. If you are in the market for some great copy, check out my portfolio.

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