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Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Are you ready for your second wind?

Daf Yomi Sotah 8

Yosef was in Egypt, far, far away from his family and birthplace.  He had been sold as a slave by his brothers to a band of Ishmaelites, who in turn sold him to a party of Midianites, who finally sold him to Potiphar, an Egyptian.  He worked relentlessly, day and night, for his master.

But his master’s wife laid eyes upon him.  The Torah says that Yosef was so handsome that the young maidens would climb up and peer over the fence at him.  Day in, day out, she would endeavour to seduce him, all to no avail.

One day, he was physically exhausted from all the hard labour, emotionally drained by the lack of family love and care, and ready to throw in the towel and just say yes to Potiphar’s wife’s enticing gestures.  Suddenly, at that moment, he receives a vision of his father and he thinks, ‘How could I let him down?’ With that imagery in his mind’s eye, he resolves to proceed full speed ahead with his commitment to Heaven and not let his guard down for even a second of poor judgment.

Mishnah: If the sotah maintained her innocence, we take her up to the eastern gates of the Temple.
The Gemara asks: We take her up?!  She is already there for the trial!
The Gemara answers: We take her up and down to tire her out and weaken her resolve.
As Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar teaches: When witnesses come to testify regarding a capital crime, the court moves them from place to place in order to get them all farmisht (mixed up) and retract their testimony.

Sometimes life is so hectic that you feel worn out, like you can’t go on any further.  You feel like you’re being schlepped from one end of the Temple of life to another with no reprieve to breathe.  You feel weak, exhausted, wiped.  You’re ready to give up and throw it all in.

Maybe it’s an illness of a family member you’re dealing with.  Maybe it’s problems at work.  Maybe your kids are acting up in school or keeping the wrong crowd and getting into trouble.  You’re physically exhausted and emotionally drained.  You don’t know how you can continue.  What are you supposed to do?

You know that feeling you have on Shavuos night at about 3:00am?  You’ve been listening to lectures all night long and you have to admit you don’t really remember much of what the 2:00am rabbi taught at all – every five minutes you kept slapping your cheek just to stay awake.  But then all of a sudden, at 3:00am you catch a second wind.  You’re now wide awake, hanging on to every word of the lecture.  Everyone around you may be falling off their seats, but you are wide awake and raring to go!

That is what is about to happen in your life.  Right now, you might feel that you can’t take another step.  But Heaven is about to infuse you with a second wind that will carry you through the storm!  Just like Yosef who was about to give in, but then redoubled his resolve when he saw the vision of his father, you too are about to receive an injection of Divine ginseng that will give you the boost you need to persevere!

Don’t ever give up the battle.  The Almighty only gives you what you can handle.  When it seems the bleakest, that is when the second wind picks you up.  May you resist the urge to throw in the towel – the second wind is right around the corner!