This week's parsha
Unless otherwise noted, "This week's Parsha" comprises articles taken from contributors to the Chabad.org website. We show the original author's name here, so that proper attribution is given. For the sake of brevity, footnotes cited in the original author's writings are omitted from this website. If you need to see the citations, please refer to the original articles on the Chabad.org website.
Beating Around the Bush
Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, of blessed memory, former Sephardic chief rabbi of Israel, related:
“The Rebbe once learned of a scheme to personally humiliate one of the Israeli prime ministers. He made every effort to stop the individuals from doing so. He said, ‘To rebuke their actions, yes; to humiliate them, no.’
Journeying Through Life
We read in this week's Parshah of the equitable division of the land of Israel. Every single Jew had and has a portion in the Land. First, the land was divided it into 12 regions, one for each of the tribes; it was then further subdivided, so that every family was allocated an individual plot of land for a homestead.
(Parenthetically, this gives the lie to those who would foolishly relinquish parts of your inheritance in exchange for some meaningless promises and vague international approval. Putting aside the stupendous irresponsibility involved, the land being discussed isn't theirs to give away. It is yours. Your inheritance, from your parents, and no politician, whether cynical or just stupid, has the right to rob you of your birthright.)
It was the method of division of the land of which a gambler would approve. They held a lottery. Equal chances for all. I can just imagine the scene "Roll up, roll up! Where are you and your children going to live and work? Who fancies the mountain region? How about a cottage by the sea? Take your chances. Come one, come all!" Your name along with all your neighbors' went into the same pot and, as the shards inscribed with the subsections of land was plucked out, a corresponding name would be announced, settling the question of where to settle.
We've all looked around on occasion and asked, "How did I end up here? Is this really what I'm supposed to be doing?" Placed in a situation not of my choosing, facing odds seemingly stacked against me, why shouldn't I just walk away from the table?
Life is inherently a lottery. Try as we might to influence the odds in our favor, G‑d still fixes the game the way He wishes. It's neither fair nor unfair, just the way G‑d wants it. You can complain and criticize, you can moan and mourn, but it won't change the facts, so you might as well play the hand you've been dealt.
And because G‑d is the dealer, we're guaranteed that if we play the game by His rules; live up to our potential and His purpose, then, come the end of the game, we'll definitely be left holding onto the jackpot.