Lech Lecha: Sometimes Thinking Small is a Big Thing
During Hebrew School this week, one of our classes learned about Habitat for Humanity. Habitat is an organization which -in part-enables poverty stricken people to live in affordable homes.
Fortunately, our students are not growing up in poverty. They reap the benefits of hard working parents, who are raising their families in relative comfort and security. We may teach our children to appreciate the ramifications of poverty; and we can motivate them to contribute-personally and financially-to causes which assist the poor and downtrodden. However, most of our children (thankfully!) will never fully appreciate poverty, because they have never experienced poverty themselves.
Hopefully, our children will live comfortably (if not affluently) all their lives. Our challenge however, is to keep them grounded; enabling them to enjoy the benefits of a good life without taking life for granted. When material possessions become a Divine right rather than a cherished privilege; we morph into creatures of greed.
In the Torah reading of Lech Lecha, greed plays a central role in the saga of Lot; Abraham’s nephew. During their initial journey in Canaan the herdsmen of Abraham and Lot quarrel over where to live. Abraham and Lot are both fairly affluent and their respective herdsmen desire the choicest land on which to settle. Abraham, often the magnanimous one; offers his nephew first dibs as to where he wishes to live. Lot casts his eye on the entire Jordan plain; eager to claim all the fertile territory for himself. Rather than settling on a nice piece of the Jordan property, he wants it all. As we discover, the land he so covets is home to the evil people of Sodom and Gomorrah. As Sodom and Gomorrah are caught in a war among various kings, their communities are overrun and Lot is taken captive by enemy invaders. Although Lot and family are eventually rescued by Abraham and returned to their property, they must eventually flee from the evil people who surround them.
Were Lot inclined, he could have lived in comfort and happiness on a piece of the cherished land. Because his greed overwhelmed his ‘seichel’; Lot encountered trauma instead of joy.
In raising our families, we want our children to be ambitious and to enjoy comforts of life. However, when ambition translates into greed;
we becomes individuals who are never satisfied with life nor appreciative of all the possessions we should enjoy. We will always demand more, and live a life unfulfilled.
Sometimes, thinking just a little small can lead to living a lot big..
Special Notice. Special Notice. Special Notice. Special Notice
Next Wednesday, November 1 (beginning 4:30 pm), our Hebrew School will host a theater presentation from the Anne Frank Center in New York.
The theatrical presentation is called CONVERSATIONS WITH ANNE.
Below is the biography for the actress playing Anne Frank. The presentation will last for 45 minutes; a question and answer period will follow.
We thought the program will be apropos; considering that the following week is Kristallnacht; the pogrom which marked an early stage in the Nazi destruction of German and European Jewry.
If you are free next Wednesday (11/1) in the late afternoon, please consider joining us!
Actress Rachel Griesinger:
Rachel Griesinger is a Brooklyn based actor, collaborator, teaching artist with an activist streak. She recently received her MFA in Acting from The New School for Drama. She spent her formative years growing up in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She has traveled extensively throughout Central and South America for both theatre and pleasure. This summer Rachel was accepted to the Lincoln Center’s Teaching Artist Lab. She recently performed in a staged reading at Ensemble Studio Theatre. Some of her favorite roles include: Cassius (Julius Caesar), Widow (Vigils), Luciana, et al. (Comedy of Errors). As well as performing, Rachel is also a dialect and accent coach for actors. She is very excited to be playing Anne Frank; in our current state of geopolitical turmoil this material could not be more prescient.