28 Dec VAEIRA- THE TIME TO LIVE IS NOW
A famous Midrash tells that when G-d brought upon the Egyptians the second plague, the plague of frogs, he started by bringing just one single frog. The Egyptians tried to kill the frog, but when they struck it, trying to kill it, it reproduced, spewing more frogs. The Egyptians continued beating it, and it continued producing more frogs.
Many have wondered why the Egyptians kept beating the frog if they saw that this just made the problem worse. Once they realized that it kept on producing more frogs the more they beat it, why did they keep doing it?
Different answers have been suggested. Some say that this incident shows the effect of anger, how once our emotions are aroused, we lose our senses. We act irrationally. We keep “beating” the other person, even if this just makes the situation worse.
Another answer is that each person in Egypt thought for sure that he had the solution, that he could succeed where everybody else failed, that he knew the secret that nobody else did. And so everyone kept trying to kill the frog, each person certain that he was going to do it right. But the frog kept on reproducing.
Regardless, I’m afraid that we oftentimes act just like the Egyptians beating this frog.
So many of us keep going, doing more and more, thinking that we’re going to get it right, that we can do everything…but what’s actually happening is that we just get so overwhelmed that we are not living.
We keep at it – another text message, another phone call, another chat group, another social media post, another app, another event, another job, another customer, another hour in the office, another meeting, another business trip… We “beat the frog” again and again, causing ourselves more and more pressure, consuming more and more of our time, until there’s no time TO ACTUALLY LIVE LIFE.
Parashat Vaera begins with Hashem sending Moshe to convey to Beneh Yisrael His promise of redemption, a beautiful prophecy about how they will be brought to a land flowing of milk and honey, and they will be taken as Hashem’s beloved nation forever. The Torah tells that the people could not listen to Moshe, because they were so overburdened and so pressured: השמ†≠לא†ועמש†אלו†Æהשק†הדובעמו†≠†חור†רצוקמ
When we’re under pressure, we can’t stop to think about what’s really important, about what really matters in life. Like Beneh Yisrael in Egypt, a person under pressure is focused on solving the problems he has right at that moment, and he can’t think of anything else.
Even though we are not slaves, many of us make ourselves into slaves. We think that we just need to solve this one issue, and then we would feel relaxed and be able to enjoy a meaningful life. We just need to make X amount of money; we just need to get that one promotion; we just need to get the business going; we just need to get that child married; we just need to deal with this one challenge, and then we will be free to actually live.
What we don’t realize is that THE TIME TO LIVE IS RIGHT NOW!!!!!
Today, this very moment, with whatever stresses, problems, pressures and challenges we have, is the time to enjoy and find mean ing in life. Today is the day to connect with our spouse, to connect with our children, and to connect with Hashem. And in order to do that, we have to stop frantically “beating the frog,” thinking we need to do everything, and fooling ourselves into thinking that we need to do everything.
I used to feel proud to be able to say “I’m so busy.” And I felt flat tered when people would tell me, “I know you’re so busy, Rabbi.” But now I realize that this is totally wrong. If a person is very busy, then most likely, this means he does not know how to delegate, he does not know how to organize his time, he does not know how to set limits, and he does not know how to say “no.” This is not a compliment.
Let’s stop “beating the frog” and causing ourselves more stress, so we can start really living, and enjoying the limited amount of time we have on this earth.