Some Things Must Not Change
By Rabbi Yoseph Kahanov Jax, Fl
Imagine what life would be like if we couldn’t depend on the sun to rise in the morning?
A prevalent cultural misnomer is that the “New” and “Different” is intrinsically better than the old and routine. This mindset affects all aspects of human life, from relationships to religious observance and even where we choose to live.
Unwilling to pay the price of endurance and commitment, people with this mindset are addicted to change. They cling to the tantalizing allure of the unknown like addicts to drugs. The sobering truth of the predictable has them running like prey from a perusing predator. Most of all they despise commitment like the Black Death of the bubonic plague. Running is sadly their only way of dealing with realty.
At the core of this pervasive syndrome that breeds inertia, is a gullible and distorted sense of reality – the naive belief that there is a formula for an existence that is simple, effortless and forever blissful. The result of this flawed philosophy is a shallow and superficial existence; one that inevitably yields a very low dividend. Relationships, for example, are shallow if not flaky and, as a result, buckle under the slightest degree of stress.
In order to discharge their religious obligation, or squash their “Religious guilt,” they are easily seduced by smorgasbord religion and a garden variety of simulations, each of which promises the intrinsic security and rewards that religion has to offer without any of its inherent commitments. When one replication proves hollow and unfulfilling, they quickly move to the next, hoping that it will prove more rewarding than the one before.
The same mindset is used with regards to community and leisure pursuits. Life, in the end, amounts to a never ending cycle of instability and change. Worst of all is the fact that such people live life on the periphery, they dabble and skim but are not part of anything. They live life in as spectators in the bleachers, but never quite get into the game.
While the new is fresh and exciting and clearly has its place, it must not replace the old and routine – that which is consistent, dependable and has withstood the test of time. To dismiss the importance of the routine and dependable is to dismiss some of the most authentic and sustaining realities of life upon which we depend on for survival.
Imagine what life would be like if we couldn’t depend on the sun because it decides that the routine is boring and chooses not to rise one morning, or if the earth gets tired of its same duties and no longer wishes to bear fruit. We would obviously not survive. If we count on the dependability of the Almighty and his creation in order to survive, shouldn’t He be able to count on us? If our lives depend on the commitment of others, G-d as well as humans, shouldn’t our commitment be dependent upon?
This week’s Torah portion teaches the importance of dependability and routine. In the beginning of the Parsha of Tzav, we are commanded: “The fire on the Altar shall remain burning on it, it shall not be extinguished; and the priest shall burn wood upon it every morning” (Leviticus 6:5).
Instead of heading for the quick fix, we ought to ask ourselves: “How dependable am I as a father? How dependable am I as a husband or friend? How dependable am I as a person. What would the world be like without dependability?
May we take to heart the lesson of our Parsha and strengthen our commitment to G-d and to humanity, in both the old and the new, in doing so we will enrich our live and prepare the world for the coming of the righteous Moshiach BBA.