Endless Flooding?

Friday, 17 June, 2022 - 7:26 am

Yellowstone National Park is experiencing some of the greatest flooding on record. Our neighbors in Montana are struggling with similar floods. Despite our incessant prayers for rain, we beseech our Father in Heaven to deliver tempered rain.

This reminds me of the story of Choni HaMe’agel in the Talmud. Choni haMe'agel was once asked to pray for rain. So he drew a circle and declared: "Master of the Universe! See how Your children have turned to me! I swear by Your Great Name that I will not move from here until You have shown Mercy towards them! At that moment a few drop of rain began to fall. Choni exclaimed: "I prayed for enough rain to fill the wells and the ditches!" Torrential rain started to pour down from the Heavens. Choni then called out: "I didn't ask for this type of rain either! I prayed for rains of blessing and favor." Immediately, the right kind of rain began to fall…

We too, sometimes struggle with shutting down our own internal spigot.  At times, it’s a flow of unwanted feelings, or words that we know we should not be saying. It can be a deviant behavior that we are wrestling to overcome. How do we put a stop-gag on our own inner spring of activity that seems to shoot forth from the depths of our darker side?

In healing there are two approaches: One is to fight the ailment head-on.  Treat the condition directly.  The other is to strengthen the body – via more healthy eating, exercise and regimen that will bolster the body’s own immune system and overpower the disease.

In the cosmic clash between good and evil, light and dark, we also wage the same battle. But why fight darkness endlessly when you can simply turn on the light and it will vanish?

This is the message of this week’s Torah portion, Behaalosecha.  The Torah enjoins us to kindle the flames of the Menorah in the Temple until they remain lit of their own accord.  Instead of wrestling with darkness, let’s just increase the bright light of Torah and good deeds and, automatically, darkness will recede.

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