A reason for living

צילום: יעקב כהן
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Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

How do you handle complaints, whining, and lack of motivation? In this week's Torah portion, the nation of Israel complains about the trek to the Land of Israel and even expresses intense longings for - fake news alert - the tasty Egyptian food they left behind.

Regarding this attitude, Rabbi Yaakov Edelstein brought the following metaphor: When a person eats, he opens and closes his mouth dozens of times consecutively, but does not get at all tired. But if someone who is not eating tries to do the same actions, to open and close his mouth and move his tongue, he will quickly grow tired and find it difficult to continue. When someone eats, he feels that there is a purpose and a reason for his actions, that they are not done arbitrarily. In order for the nation to continue on its journey with confidence of success, the nation must understand the reason and feel the necessity for it.

When we occupy ourselves with mitzvot, education, or many other lifetime commitments, the same question arises: Do we feel the necessity and find a reason and a deeper meaning in what we do or, like the one who chews without food in his mouth, are we just going through the motions? As soon as we understand the significance of what we do, it's no longer a burden to move forward.

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