Parsha Re’eh: You Can’t Have it Your Way

Burger-King-Have-It-Your-WayThis week we read parsha Re’eh (ReehR’eih, or Ree) which means “see.”  Re’eh consists of Deuteronomy 11:26–16:17.  You can read a very brief summary here.

Deutoronomy 12:8 

You are not to do as we do here today, everyone doing as they see fit,…

Again we find there is nothing new about humanity.  3,500 years ago people wanted to simply do what felt good to them.  God (who brought them out of Egypt, showed them great miracles, and provided for them in the wilderness) tells them how He wants them to live and relate to him… AND still people end up doing their own thing.

Look, I am no tzadik – especially in regards to following rules.  But as I’ve matured and learned I have finally realized that a world without rules is chaotic and destructive.  A world with too many rules is oppressive and destructive.  So God has given us just the right amount of rules and laws to live by so that we can have good and productive lives.  And so that we can actually progress as a humanity, and become more moral and holy.

But we can’t just keep making up our own rules based on FEELINGS.  

We are living in an age where feelings trump rules and standards.  This is truly foolish.  First it is unwise to be guided by your feelings as they will easily lead you astray.  Second being led by your feelings means you will never actually acquire the state of mind you are searching for.  For instance, if you want to feel happy and you go and do some fun things… You might experience momentary happiness or joy, but it is nothing compared to the lasting happiness you would feel after accomplishing a task you find challenging and daunting.  Often times we have to do what we don’t want to do in order to attain a desired state of mind.

Finally, no one else really cares about your feeling.  And you don’t really care about others’ feelings.  We really care about how we treat one another.  If I’m in a bad mood and feel like being a jerk, but I speak with my clients with cheer and treat them well despite my momentary feelings  – Do you think they care?  Not really.  Do you think I benefitted from behave good despite my bad mood?  You bet!  Don’t you want the same from folks you have a relationship with?

God wants a relationship with us, and He gives us a way to do it that is okay by His standards.  All we need to do is listen and obey, and and be spiritual in His way.  Today too many Jews try to be spiritual in their own way and they drop all the standards God gave us in the Torah.  It’s a problem, and I too have been guilty of it.

The beautiful part is that if you are still alive then you can return to His way, and stop doing it your way.  God is the King of Kings, not Burger King.

Shabbat Shalom

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