This week's parsha
Why Do We Win Huge Wars and Lose Small Battles?
After closely observing myself and the world around me, I have come to realize that it is much easier to make large lifestyle changes than small ones.
People regularly plunge head-first into huge commitments such as marriage, bringing a child into the world, or volunteering time to the local charity chapter. Some even fly to a third-world country and dedicate their lives to help unfortunate souls.
When it comes to the small sacrifices however, like spending a mere five minutes with that same child or spouse that we so wholeheartedly chose to care and nurture for the rest of our lives, a world war takes place.
The same phenomenon can be found in our relationship with G‑d. Many of us, especially those who have grown up in Torah-observant homes, readily commit to eating only kosher food our entire lives, to abstain from work one day a week, and pray three times every day… forever!
But small battles, such as praying with a bit more concentration, infusing our Shabbats not only with don'ts, but more importantly with do's, such as studying extra Torah and beating to a higher tune, seem as unbeatable as Mount Suribachi!
Why? Why does the holy "give-my-life-away" individual find it so difficult to win the tiny battles?
Sacrifices are the theme of this week's Torah reading, Vayikra. The chassidic masters have taught that in our post-Temple era, we don't sacrifice four-legged animals; rather we sacrifice animals of temptation and natural instincts -- the animal within us.
Not to demean the big stuff which are the bedrock of who we are and what we do, but may I venture to say that the real battle, the real sacrifices that are sacrificed daily on our altar, are the small stuff -- those that when won don't make us feel like a "prince in shining armor," and unfortunately don't cause too much guilt when avoided or lost.
Like the time we refrain from giving that knee-jerk reaction to our spouse/child/boss/local-nudnik.
The time we pray to G‑d not only with our mouth, but with our heart and mind as well.
The two minutes we spend doing homework with our child.
These are not ego-building victories, but they are the victories that G‑d seeks from us. The battles that make every day a D-Day.