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What are our priorities?


Translation by Yehoshua Siskin 

I previously published this thought, but you are invited to see how relevant it is to today as well.

Before going off to war, the tribes of Reuven and Gad turn to Moshe Rabbeinu and speak of how they wish to attend to their herds and children left behind: "We will build enclosures for our livestock and cities for our children." The order of their priorities is clear: first their animal herds, then cities for their children. First business, then family.

Moshe Rabbeinu answers them, but reverses the order of priorities: "Build for yourselves cities for your children and enclosures for your livestock." First the children, then the animal herds. This is not an order based on sentiment, but rather a prioritization of values, a lesson in what is truly important.

And if this message is not clear enough, Rashi adds: "Moshe said to them: Make what is essential -- essential; make what is secondary -- secondary." 

The summer months are the perfect time to ponder these questions: What is the proper balance between work and family? What are our priorities? How much time do we waste, and how much time do we utilize in a meaningful way? Do we have a sense of mission inside, within our homes, or only toward the outside world? In short, do we get confused between what is of essential importance and what is secondary, or do we finally succeed in making the essential -- essential, and the secondary -- secondary?


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