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Thursday, 27 August 2015

Burdensome or Awesome?

Daf Yomi Nazir 5

Our patriarch, Yaakov, was known as “a simple man, who dwelled in tents.”  His brother, Esav, was the tough one, the strong one, the wild one.  He was the weak one, the puny one, the meek one.   So much so that he was chased out of town for fear of being murdered by his brother.

He arrives in Haran and meets the shepherds at the well. 
‘What are you all waiting for?’ he asks.
‘We need all the shepherds here so that we can roll the stone off the top of the well to water our flocks,’ they reply.
‘Oh,’ he says, with a shrug of the shoulders.  Just then, Rivka shows up and Yaakov is overcome with an outpouring of love.  He is so smitten, that with superhuman strength, the weakling Yaakov singlehandedly lifts the stone off the well and waters Rivka’s sheep!

Where is it written that a lifelong nazir may trim his hair?
Rebbe taught: Avshalom was a lifelong nazir, as it says, “And it was at the end of forty years, Avshalom said to the king: Let me go and pay my vow that I made in Hebron.”  And he would cut his hair every twelve months, as it says, “And it was at the end of days to days that he would cut, for it was heavy upon him.”
The Gemara asks: But didn’t Rebbe teach that ‘days’ means no less than two?  How does he infer a year from the verse?
The Gemara answers: He derives it from the word ‘heavy’.  In two days, the hair does not grow heavy. 

The truth is, even when you don’t take a haircut all year, the hair does not grow heavy.  In certain world cultures, one never cuts one hair, for an entire lifetime!   If you look at the verse, it doesn’t say that Avshalom’s hair grew heavy; it says “it was heavy upon him.”  That means that he felt weighed down by his nazirism.  He felt burdened by the mitzvah.

He didn’t need to feel burdened.  It didn’t need to be “heavy upon him.”  He could have looked into the mirror each morning and said, “What an awesome, rocker hair-do!  Hey you good-looking guy, aren’t you excited to do this mitzvah!”   But instead he chose to feel burdened and see the mitzvah as a hassle.

Everything you do in life, you get to choose how to experience it.  From mitzvos to relationships, you have the power to make the load light or heavy.  Will it be joyful or burdensome?  When you choose joy, nothing is a burden.  Just like Yaakov, who was so in love that he was able to lift a boulder, when you choose to approach a task in life with positive energy, nothing can stop you! 

When you daven, is it a drag that you have to push your way through?  Or do you say, ‘Wow, here’s my opportunity to have a conversation with the King of Kings!’?
When you put on tefillin, do you think, ‘Here we go again’?  Or do you say, ‘Wow, this is Heavenly!’?

In your relationships, do you think, ‘Oh no, my spouse’s birthday is coming up.  I guess I’d better buy them something’?  Or do you say, ‘Wow, I can’t wait to surprise them!  I’ve been waiting all year!’?
When you take your kids to the park, do you say, ‘I guess that’s what dads do’?  Or do you say, ‘I’m so lucky to have beautiful kids that I can play ball with!’

Everything in life can be either burdensome or awesome.  It’s your choice whether to put the awe or the burden in front of that some-thing.  May you merit choosing to make every aspect of your life awesome! 

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