Bit by Bit

Friday, 21 February, 2020 - 9:34 am

Sadly, many people who achieve greatness don’t know what to do with it. How many celebrities’ lives have spiraled into self-destruction after becoming famous? How many unknowns have hit the political spotlight, only to fade into oblivion, unable to handle the heat?

The truth is that we all face the same problem. We may not have the magnified burdens of rock stars or the headline-making news of politicians, but we still face the challenge of living up to the changes that occur in our lives. In fact, often these changes are good, productive strides ahead. And, nonetheless, we may struggle with our newly accomplished goals. For one person it may be the new “me” that I discover after a rigorous weight-loss diet. For another it may be the tests of a promotion at work.

What can we do to help acclimate ourselves to our newfound positions? How can we ensure we are not ensnared by the very success we have accomplished?


In this week’s parsha Mishpatim, the Jews are promised that they will conquer the land of Canaan (Israel). Yet G-d promises that this conquest will not happen overnight. Rather, “I will not drive them away from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beasts of the field outnumber you. I will drive them out from before you little by little, until you have increased and can occupy the land.”

If G-d could bring ten plagues on Egypt in less than a year and could split the sea in an instant, why did He choose not cause the conquest of Israel to transpire immediately?


The goal, however, of conquering Israel was not to drive out the Canaanites. When we left Egypt the objective was indeed simply to be free of Egypt and its bondage. The Jews were simply escaping. But now the Jews had arrived. In the land of Israel the Jews were meant to discover their true character and destiny. That requires proper growth and balance. It isn’t enough to rid ourselves from the Canaanites. If we merely did that we would be wondering, “Now what?” In fact, we might just become the next Canaanite nation, virtual successors of those we defeated.

If we begin learning about our new identity and preparing for it, we stand a far better chance of actually embracing and internalizing it.

The best preparation for positive spiritual (and material) growth is taking it step by step. If we continue to move forward a little bit each day, we will have the fortitude and spiritual stamina to handle the road that lies ahead.

We all can do it. As the Torah says, little by little.

Comments on: Bit by Bit
There are no comments.