29 Iyar 5781 / Tuesday, May 11, 2021 | Torah Reading: Bamidbar
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Humble Mud Pie    

Humble Mud Pie

If we are passionate about work that provides about 33% of our total needs, we should be completely devoted to Hashem, who provides 100% of our total needs...


FMan comes from the ground, is returned to the ground, is sustained from the ground, and spends a lifetime claiming he's independent. - Rabbi Yehoshua B. Gordon 


Having something to plant our feet on is a big part of life we take for granted. Maybe it’s because all too many times it feels like nothing but air underneath our feet, like the coyote chasing the road runner off a cliff, running too far, and waving to all of us right before he makes the big plunge.  


The truth is that the ground beneath our feet enables everything. A Smartphone may be made out of wires and an airplane out of supersonic engines, but man, and everything that sustains him is made from simple dust.  


God did it to keep us honest.  


Take a meal of meat and potatoes with a glass of semi-dry wine. It’s the rain that enables the potatoes and grapes to grow, along with the grass that the cows feast on to develop enough mass to put the porterhouse to the plate.  


Hashem decides when it will rain, where it will rain, and how much it will rain. For all our 5G Internet of Things DevOps Architecture, we cannot fill a tea cup with water that wasn’t created by God and brought down to us in miraculous fashion.  


You see, rain comes in independent droplets. It falls 2 kilometers (a little over a mile) from the sky to the ground and it doesn’t touch another raindrop. If it did, the two drops would become one bigger drop. In the 2 minutes a raindrop falls, if it were to touch a handful of drops and they would come together, the impact would be no different than a rock hitting your face.  


Even the dirt itself is a miracle. This one simple substance, soil, mixed with this miraculous bounty, rain, has the power to take a seed the size of your wisdom tooth and provide it with enough minerals to grow into a cornstalk taller than you, yielding produce for us to enjoy.  


The Soul Wrenching Lie 

We still feel like we are independent.  


We live in this fantasy world of lies that feed us disinformation. Instead of reflecting on how those lies got onto our place, we are force fed the illusion that we control our fate. Only in a world where we delude ourselves into thinking we control our fate can we compound it with the horrendous error in deciding our fate 


Are we in control? Try doing this: Without moving anything else, move your arm about 12 inches to the right.  


Great. Now do the same with your left lung. Once you are done, move your femur bone about four inches down. See if you can stop your heart from beating for about 20 seconds, then start again. Maybe reverse the flow of blood moving through your body? How about just asking your internals to produce 5 billion white blood cells today instead of the expected 10 billion.  


We don’t even control 99% of what’s going on in our own body.   


Hashem creates us. He creates everything that sustains us. He creates everything to interact with the bodies He gives us to keep us on the right path. When our lives are complete, He analyzes what we did with the body He gives us, in the world He made for us, from the events He created to help us.  


Take any job. The boss does the same. He gives us salary. He gives us responsibility. He gives us a pat on the back when we are doing well and he punishes us when we aren’t. At the end of each year, he reviews us to see if we deserve more.  


Given those circumstances, of course we work as hard as we can to advance as much as we can.  


If we are so passionate about advancing at work, which provides for maybe 33% of our total needs for maybe 66% of our life, we should be completely devoted at every moment for Hashem, who provides 100% of our total needs 100% of the time, along with providing us with things we need that we don’t even realize we need! 


What’s more important? Another promotion, another share of stock? Another pair of jeans, or another mitzvah. Another page of Gemara. Another Torah portion 


The moment we understand, we know the Truth: 


Our mission in life is to make His Will our will so He can make our will His will. We do this by performing as many of the mitzvot He gives us at all times.  


Our existence is this great big jigsaw puzzle with a single piece missing. We are not that piece, we’re just a malleable hunk of flesh. Our life’s mission is to mold ourselves into that piece in order to complete the puzzle of G-d’s universe.  


With every word of Torah, every sincere prayer, every act of kindness we slowly grow into that piece Hashem created the world for us to fill.  


The heavens are heavens of the Lord, but the earth He gave to the children of men. (Psalms 116:16). 


The earth is sustained by G-d’s gifts of water and soil, the heavens are sustained by G-d’s gifts of Torah and Mitzvah. Our bodies grow from what Hashem creates and our souls grow from what Hashem enables us to create.  


When you are hungry, having a salad is not a choice - it is a necessity. If you are underwater, popping your head above the surface for air isn’t free choice - its survival.  


When Hashem commands us in Deuteronomy to choose life over death and good over evil, it’s not a choice.  


It’s the only way forward.  


What’s the secret to a good life?  


We are promised by the Torah that if we fulfill it with joy and good spirit and meditate on its wisdom at all times, [God] will remove all the obstacles which prevent us from fulfilling it, for example, sickness, war, famine, and the like. Similarly, He will grant us all the good which will reinforce our performance of the Torah, such as plenty, peace, an abundance of silver and gold in order that we not be involved throughout all our days in matters required by the body, but rather, will sit unburdened and [thus, have the opportunity to] study wisdom and perform mitzvot in order that we will merit the life of the world to come. 

- Rambam Mishneh Torah Laws of Repentance Ch. 9 


* * * 

David Ben Horin lives in Afula with his wife and children. Since moving to Israel in 2002, David has discovered Torah, writing hi-tech, hiking, coding ReactJS Apps, and hearing stories about the Land of Israel from anyone excited to tell them. Check him out on Highway 60 or email him your favorite Israel story at:  david.ben.horin@spreadyourenthusiasm.com. 


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