20 Sep 2016

Tuesday Morning Torah – September 20, 2016

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Another  Elul challenge as we begin to spiritually prepare for these upcoming Days of Awe- written by Karyn Kedar.  Warning- this is a bit heavy,  so read this when you have a few quiet minutes to reflect during the day.
Life is fundamentally unfair and often tragic….
At my brother’s funeral, I looked around at his friends who were there. It was a surreal experience to be eulogizing my brother. My little brother. I began to do an inventory of all the young people I had known who had died: the seven-year old boy who drowned in the neighbor’s pool, the twenty-something hit by a car while being offered a new job on his cell phone, the forty-something father whose heart stopped beating as he sat on the couch after making breakfast for his family, the recovering addict who flew out of a window in desperation, and the people killed in a house fire or by an overdose or by cancer…Why do the young die? How do parents bury their children? I don’t know….
There is no comforting answer to the question why? And why not? Because life is cruel and random? Because evil-doers are punished and the good are rewarded in the world to come? Because God “needed” someone and cut his life short? Every answer to why leads me to a deeper despondency. Those answers offer no solution, no resolution, no comfort. They make no sense to me. Life’s tragedies do not demand an answer to why. Rather, they ask how and what.
How can I make sense of my life?
What have I learned about what is true and important?
How do I turn my pain into compassion for others?
Given what happened to me, how should I change my life?
What am I supposed to do with the profound lesson I have learned?
Why? I have no idea. No one really does. This useless question distracts you from what you need to be thinking about. It keeps you in anger. Questions that begin with “how” and “what” lead us toward perseverance and resilience, toward a deeper understanding of life’s meaning and purpose.
Kedar,  The Bridge to Forgiveness 62-64
Take a few quiet moments to reflect on those things that have you questioning- your faith, your place in life, or your relationships with others. And then, instead of asking “why,” challenge yourself to ask a more productive question. Challenge yourself to ask how you can make sense of your struggle, and what you are going to do about it.  B’hatzlacha- good luck!
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