17 Shvat 5782 / Wednesday, January 19, 2022 | Torah Reading: Va'era
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Rocky Road, Chocolate Souffle    

Rocky Road, Chocolate Souffle

Exile means disconnection from Source resulting in chaos and disorder stemming from misplaced priorities depending upon how far away we have journeyed…


What is life? Life is learning the rules of the game. One of those rules is we get what we give, but we do not control outcomes. Another is we are allowed to choose whether or not to become mindful of Hashem and that the very purpose of life is to get close to Him and to know Him. Mindfulness, as opposed to living life on autopilot, involves choosing to spend time learning the rules of life as expounded in the Torah and then deciding whether or not to follow them. Our decision of which direction we decide to take sets us on one of two basic paths---the Rocky Road or the Chocolate Souffle (albeit with some “crunchies” along the way just so we know how we are faring).


Once we commit to living in order to meet the needs of the soul, we quickly realize that the life we were born into isn’t necessarily the right path, nor is it the wrong one. Our parents’ choices determined how we grew up. It then became our job to discover what we truly want, why we want it, and how to get there. Studying G-d’s Torah helps us find the answers to those questions. We also realize that we are in exile from our Father’s table. We’ve been in exile for over 3300 years, so we tend to try and make the best of the predicament. Sometimes we may feel that it’s not a predicament at all, because we’ve been enjoying the physical pleasures of exile in our own personal world. However, when we realize that there is a plan toward which the world is headed, we have another choice to make:  Whether to facilitate and align with the plan, ignore it, try to change it, or oppose it.


Exile means disconnection from Source resulting in chaos and disorder stemming from misplaced priorities depending upon how far away we have journeyed. The goal is re-connection and refinement. The exile has a definite purpose. That purpose is to find Hashem through emuna. When we pray for emuna and thank Hashem for both the good and the seemingly not-so-good, we come closer to Him by being happy with our lot, taking responsibility, refusing to blame or complain, ridding ourselves of negative character traits, expressing our trust that G-d does everything for our very best and for a purpose, and living with gratitude for every single thing in our lives. In exile we have the time to take a good hard look at life and make some critical decisions that will impact us, our families, and the world around us. Because happiness, optimism, and seeing the good in the situations that occur is a choice, it is a lot easier to choose this attitude when we discover the truth. What is that truth? It is that Hashem loves us beyond anything we can even imagine, so if He gives us challenges, it is only for our ultimate benefit so that we get closer to Him. We will enjoy the smooth chocolate soufflé with fewer pebbles to contend with once we make choices that align with our souls over our bodies and internalize the love Hashem has for us, which is infinitely greater than the love we have for our own children.


We are being given a great opportunity to make progress, switch paths if necessary, take an accounting, make some new choices, change some beliefs, and even change direction at whatever age we decided to pay attention to what is occurring both in our personal lives and in the world around us. If the road has been very rocky, we have the ability, through our choices, to change it. G-d is on our side always. When we choose Him, we choose faith over fear and discontent. We take action to emulate what Hashem values as we develop our spiritual awareness. Then we can view the “crunchies” or the “pebbles” as simply guide posts, often helping us make further adjustments to how we navigate.


When we call on Hashem and develop an authentic relationship with Him that grows over time, asking Him very specific questions to help us learn from the messages He sends us, He responds to our inquiries. G-d loves gratitude and expressions of joy with what we have, knowing that He is a loving Father Who only has our best interests at heart. Challenges are a part of growth, and we learn as we go. With emuna we awaken to the fact that everything Hashem does is good, and if it’s still rocky, it’s because it’s not over yet. We learn to be patient with the process. Each of us is an intricate part of the plan. We all matter. When we do see progress, which will invariably occur once we take a good look at the path we’ve chosen and at our thoughts, our speech, and our deeds and begin to self-evaluate and work on ourselves, we will be able to visualize and look forward to harmony, balance, and purpose. Praying for emuna helps us maintain a happy, optimistic attitude that all is for our very best even if we do not understand a thing.  As we reinforce the positive energies of emuna and unity, we propel ourselves and others from exile to re-connection to Redemption. May it be speedily and in our days.  Amen.

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