Do your job!

Thursday, 25 July, 2013 - 7:17 pm

Each morning as we prepare for prayer we recite a passage from the Torah known as the Akeidah. It is a moving passage that contains numerous lessons and guidance for the daily life of a Jew. Today I read a story about the Akeidah that really moved me and so I am sharing it with you.

The great commentator Rashi was once conversing with one of his grandsons. The boy asked the following question. “In the passage of the Akeidah the phrase “and they walked together” appears three times. The first time is when Abraham and Isaac depart from the two servants upon reaching the land of Moriah. You explained the term “together” to mean that even though Abraham knew why they were going and Isaac didn’t, they walked with the same joy and devotion. The second time is after Abraham reveals to Isaac the purpose of their journey and you explain that still Isaac gladly went and walked “together” with his father as one to fulfill G-d’s request. The third time is after the Akeidah is over when they return to the two servants and the donkey and then they all walk together to Beersheba. How come you did not explain this one grandfather?”

Rashi replied with a twinkle in his eye, “This one I left for you to explain. What do you think about it?” The boy answered, “After successfully passing the test of the Akeidah both Abraham and Isaac could have rightfully felt superior in having reached the pinnacle of dedication to G-d. Yet they return to the servants and the donkey, who certainly had no knowledge of or appreciation for what just took place, and they all walked “together.” There were no airs about them. It was just “another day at the office” of carrying out the will of Hashem.”

It is one thing to go with joy knowing that this is the end of the line. That takes fortitude and greatness. It is something else entirely when you have just accomplished unprecedented greatness and you are able walk away feeling – happy to be of service, what else needs to be done. There is a sense of “Do your job” because that is what is expected.

To use a football analogy, there are some players who after scoring a winning touchdown they dance or spike the ball and then there are the ones who flip the ball to the referee and line up for the extra point as if nothing happened.

This is a lofty level of dedication but it behooves each of us to at least aspire to get there sometimes, where we can accomplish something that was tough to do and then walk away feeling no airs or superiority.

Mazel Tov to Jennifer and Neil Schneider upon the Upshernish of their son Josh.

Mazel Tov to the Kaufmann family upon the upcoming marriage of Chaya Mushka to Berry Silver.

Mazel Tov to my parents Rabbi Zelig and Bluma Rivkin upon the birth of a granddaughter Miriam to Rabbi Eli and Tzippy Rivkin of Northridge, CA.

Shabbat Shalom and may you be inscribed and sealed for a happy, healthy and meaningful new year of 5774 (just around the corner in less than six weeks).

Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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