Friday, July 6, 2012

We are celebrating and honoring the many designers who have participated in our Charity Design Project tonight. Thank you to all of you who have designed the rooms, all the vendors who gave furniture, etc to make the rooms so wonderful and all of the people who donated to the this amazing project. We will be holding our Grand Reveal this coming Thursday from 6-9PM. Please join us and help us thank Heidi and Rhonda for putting this project together and seeing it through as well as all of the designers who put their time, passion and love into helping our residents know that THEY MATTER and their recovery is important to everyone. This week's Parsha is Balak. This is the name of the King of Moab. The Beginning of this Parsha teaches us about fear and what it can do to us. Balak was afraid of the Israelites because of what had happened before. The Moabites were descendants of Lot, Abraham's nephew. There was no reason to fear the Israelites because they were probably going to just ask for passage through the land. Balak did not wait to see if the Israelites were coming in peace or not, so he hired Balaam, a Prophet of God, to curse the Israelites. I understand Balak. I know of the fears that my mind creates and how often the reality is so different! I also am guilty of reacting to the fears before I find out the truth of the situation. I am almost always wrong in my reactions! I realize this year this from this Parsha. I have a choice as to whether I give in to my fears or surrender to Truth. When do you just give in to/react to your fears? Do you seek counsel/help to see the whole situation? What does it take for you to pause and make an informed choice when dealing with your fears? Balaam, a Prophet of God, is hired to curse the Israelites. He tells Balak that he can only do what God ordains him to do. Instead of cursing the Israelites, Balaam Blesses them! Here again, we are taught a lesson. We don't have to put a curse on others, our job is to Bless others. I understand this teaching in a very deep way this year. My first reaction to this idea is "why bless my enemies?" When I take a breath and reflect, I see the wisdom of the teaching. Blessing another is the way I acknowledge the Divine Image of the other person. It has the power to remind the other and ourselves of our oneness, our similarities of being God's Partner, our ability to rise above our baser instincts and our unique ability to influence the course of our history and the way of the world. This doesn't mean that I won't have to go to war it means that going to war is the last resort and I go to war with a heart of peace. In this way, I live as a Spiritual Warrior instead of as a hater/self righteous warrior. How do you deal with your enemies? Do you have hate/envy/self-righteousness in your heart? Do you practice rising above your baser self? What does it take for you to see the Divine Image in the people you are not so crazy about? Let's practice making a choice about which fears to surrender to and blessing others this week. Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Mark