Life is a Team Sport


“Happy Tuesday everyone! I hope everyone is having a great start to their week! This week in our Torah we read Parshat Matot-Masei, and it's a double portion that finishes the book of Numbers, the book of B’midbar. And in this Torah portion, we read a story about Reuven and Gad “G-A-D”. And these two tribes ask Moses not to go forward with the rest of the Israelites to conquer the land of Israel but instead to stay back, and stay on their side, the Eastern side of the Jordan, where it’s great for their cattle and it’s great for them to stay. It’s safe, it’s peaceful, they’re fine. And Moses says, “Absolutely not. We are all in this together. This is a collective. We will all go forward into the land. If you want to go back afterwards then you can, but you can’t abandon us right here, on the precipice of us conquering the land of Israel. So, if they do that, great. They can go back. But if not, Moses warns Reuven and Gad, the tribes, that they will have sinned against God. And they should know that their sin will overtake them. And I think this is a particularly powerful message for us today, that if we remain so insular and we stay so stuck within our own tribes, and we don’t worry about the wellbeing of those around us, our sin will overtake us, our sin of selfishness. But if we all join together and fight for that promised land that we all crave and desire and yearn for, then we will get that promised land and we will achieve the peace and security and love that we all want. When we end a book of Torah, we say “Chazak, Chazak, V’nitchazeik,” Be strong, Be strong, and let us [together] be strengthened. But if we don’t stand up for others and we only looking inward at ourselves and the needs of our very exclusive, insular tribe, we will never achieve the promised land we crave and we will never strengthen each other. We will never strengthen our society, we will never strength our country, or our world. We all have to stand up and be a collective and treat everyone with dignity and care and love. I hope you all have an absolutely wonderful week and I will be here with you next time. Bye!”

Alex KressComment