Daf Yomi Kesubos 26
When Graham Moore received the Oscar for best screenplay for The Imitation Game, he astounded the audience with his revelations of almost having killed himself at the age of sixteen “because I felt weird and I felt different and I felt that I did not belong. And now I’m standing here and I’d like this moment to be for that kid who feels that she is weird . . .”
Why do kids bully other kids? Who do they pick on to bully?
Rabbi Judah quoted Shmuel: There was once a fellow who happened to mention the following. ‘I remember that when I was a child riding on my father’s shoulders, he took me out of school, got me undressed and immersed me in the mikvah to eat terumah tithes in the evening. My friends would separate themselves from me and call me Yochanan, the challah eater.’ Based on his story, Rebbe elevated him to the priesthood.
You can imagine how Yochanan felt as a kid. He was the weird one. He was the challah eater. The other kids wouldn’t share their lunch with him and sat apart from him. And yet, it was his weirdness that ultimately elevated him to the priesthood!
Have you ever felt different to everyone around you? Maybe it was when you were a kid. Maybe it’s now as an adult. You almost wish you could just be like everyone else. Don’t give up your unique streak – that is what sets you apart and it is your path to greatness! If you were just like the others, you could expect the same boring results in life. But you’re not, you’re special! It’s time to take pride in your difference and achieve the great things the Almighty put you on earth for!
And of course, more generally, as Jews we are different to everyone around us. They taunt us, they deride us. And so sometimes we feel ready to throw in the towel and blend in to become like everyone else. G-d forbid! You must be proud of the fact that you are different. You are unique and special! You have a special, important Divine mission that is head and shoulders above the rest of humankind!
Weird is good. Unique is awesome. May you merit embracing your difference and achieving greatness far and beyond those around who are simply jealous of your specialness!