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Upgrading from not good to good

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

The pairing of the words "לא טוב" or "not good" occurs only twice in the Torah. The first time is in parashat Bereishit: "It's not good for a man to be alone." These words are spoken by God just before Adam meets Eve. The loneliness that accompanies the single life, alongside the quest for a lifetime partner, preoccupies us until today.

The second time these words appear is in the Torah portion that we just read on Shabbat. Yitro sees Moshe taking too much upon himself, judging disputes between the people from morning until evening, and then Yitro says to him: "The thing you are doing is not good." In other words: You need to allow other people to assist you in your work, to delegate authority. The message here is the same, in fact, as in parashat Bereishit: "It's not good for a man to be alone." It's not good to work alone, all by yourself, without partners.

Extreme isolation and exaggerated individualism are among the plagues of our time. May we be privileged to learn how to upgrade from what is not good to what is good. Shavua tov.


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