To Act, to Dare, to Challenge

by Arliene Botnick, January 30, 2020

The world is a dangerous place. We are in the early stages of the coronavirus “epidemic”. Each day, we hear of more deaths, more suspected cases, more ways the virus is able to spread. At the same time, the President of the United States is going through an Impeachment Trial, the Prime Minister of Israel is accused of fraud, the Premier of Ontario is once again at war, this time with the teaching profession. Helicopters crash and a basketball legend dies, and innocent lives are lost as a plane is shot down “by accident”.

So, we can agree the world is a dangerous place. For some of us, fear can be paralyzing. How do we keep safe? How do we keep our loved ones safe? Can we make the world safer at all?

In a recent Torah portion, we read the parashah entitled “Bo”. “Go”. God instructs Moses to, “go to Pharaoh”. Our ancestors the Israelites, had been enslaved for over 400 years. Theirs too was a dangerous world. God told Moses what had to be done. Finally, after some 400 years, there was a leader who could make a difference. To make a difference, one has to “go”. One has to “do”. Sitting around passively, bewailing the situation never rectifies the situation. One has to act, to dare, to challenge.

Moses was a reticent leader. He was reluctant to take on the task assigned to him by God. Moses felt inadequate. “Please, O my Lord, I have never been a man of words….I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” But God knew that Moses was the person to lead our people. Moses was the man who acted quickly to stop the cruel beating by an Egyptian taskmaster of a Hebrew slave. Moses did speak, he did act, and he did “Go”. He went to the Pharaoh to initiate the freeing of our people. He led our journey to receive the Commandments, and to find the land where we could live according to God’s Mitzvot.

In today’s dangerous world, we too must act, must go, and take on the challenges of making the world safer.

When illness and viruses abound, we have to take every health precaution we can. We are given the instructions; we have to follow them. When political leaders are corrupt, we have to make sure we pay attention. The next time there is an election, we must vote! When death occurs by accident or by intent, we have to try to correct, if at all possible, what led to the accident. And if by intent, try to create a world that will not be filled with hatred and mistrust.

This has always been a dangerous world, but we are commanded to choose life, and our role in life is to do our best to make it a less dangerous world in the future.

Keyn Y’hee Ratzon
May it be God’s will

Filed under: Educator's Message

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