Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I Get No Satisfaction, That's Why I Sing The Blues (Bob Weir - "One More Saturday Night")

Our eldest daughter has now started her new life. Now a college graduate, she has beaten the odds and actually found a job in her major: Political Science. She has moved out west to work on the Presidential campaign. While we are all excited for her; the conversations leading up to her first day of work had very little to do with working on a presidential campaign.  In fact she seem to call me only when she needed something from me: Money, a credit card, her anxiety about starting a new phase of life, a car. So I gave her some money, I have put off the issue of a credit card for a while,  I laughed at her anxiety reminded her that she is lucky to be employed and then reminded her that this is what she wanted to be doing, “What could possibly be the problem?” Then I explained how to buy a car. Thinking for a moment that I had been a wise and good father, I receive another phone call from my daughter. It turns out that I am no co-signing for her car loan.  A couple of days later she called. Before she could speak, I told her that she cannot call me anymore if she is only going to ask me for things. It seemed that with every phone call, she indicated another degree of frustration, aggravation or dissatisfaction with her life circumstances.  I am thinking what I wouldn’t give to be 22, right out of college working and having minimal expenses and only being responsible for myself! How dissatisfying could one possibly be?
This week’s Parsha is Eikev. Here in his second discourse, Moshe reminds B'nai Yisroel of the reward for fulfilling the commandment, their parents’ experience of the Exodus from Egypt, the miracle, the Eigel Zahav (the Golden Calf) as well as the trials and tribulations of the life in the wilderness. Moshe also reminds B’nai Yisroel that they have nothing to fear when they enter into Canaan and conquer the land even though they maybe outnumbered, because God has already demonstrated that he will protect his people. He did so during the Yetziat Mitzrayim (Exodus), and as long as B’nai Yisroel keeps its side of the B’rit, God will continue to protect his people and they will remain in the Eretz Canaan
Particularly noteworthy in the parsha is what is known as the second Paragraph of the Shema. This Paragraph contain 7 verses and essentially outlines the reward for Bnai Yisroel’s observance of God’s commandments. Just exactly what is the reward for Bnai Yisroel’s undying loyalty to Hashem and the observance of the commandment? While I am sure many expected something really large and quite awesome; the reward seems rather small and simple. Yet the reward is also quite profound. V’Haya Im Tishma’u El Mitzvotai Asher Anochi M’tzaveh Etchem Hayom L’Ahavah Et Adonai Eloheichem Ul’Avdo B’Chol Levavchem Uv’chol Nafshachem. V’Natati M’tar Artzechem B’Ito Yoreh Umalkosh V’Asaftah D’Ganecha V'Tiroshcha v’YitzharechaIt will be that if you hearken to My commandments that I command you today to love Hashem your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, then I shall provide rain for your Land in its proper time, the early and the late rains, that you may gather in your grain, your wine and your oil.  V’Natati Esev B’Sadcha Livhemtecha V’Achalta V’Savata – I shall provide grass in your field for your cattle and you will eat and be satisfied (Deut 11:15). Among the rewards is grass in our fields for our cattle and we will eat and be satisfied. It certainly doesn’t very glamorous. Yet it does speak to the human condition.  Rashi explains the reward as follows: When you are very prosperous, you must be very careful not to rebel against God, because man rejects God only when he is sated.”
I spoke to my daughter earlier this week. I said it would be nice to hear from her and not have her need something from me nor express some degree of dissatisfaction with something. She actually understood and proceeded to tell me that now that she has a car, now that she has started working, now that she has collected her first paycheck, she feel like a person. For now she actually used the word “satisfied”.  I wish I could say that I was satisfied. Now I just have another thing to keep me awake at night. Now I need to worry about my daughter having a car at her disposal driving all around the state of Colorado. Even worse, because of the two hour time difference, I won’t know if she arrived home safely by the time I go to sleep at night. I guess I won’t be very satisfied with the quality of my sleep until the campaign is finished.
Rav Yitz.

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