It’s Halloween this weekend, and this Shabbat, we read the portion of Abraham.
Creative minds, weak in their personal identity, have come up with, what was it? Thanksgivakah? And now something like Challaween? Cute no?
One of the great qualities of any product is a strong proud and unique identity. Look at what happens when smartphones start looking and acting like each other. Look at what happens when all politicians look and sound alike! Or almost alike.
For many people it’s hard to know who they are, living in a world that values assimilation. Everything you see and hear is telling you to change who you are to fit someone or something else. Be more like the family you see on TV. Be more like the guy in the movie or girl in the magazine. Buy this toothpaste because 4 out of 5 people recommend it. Do what we say. Believe what we believe. Fall in line for this group of people or for this greater cause because they are more important than you.
There are many stories of our great sages who expressed the same lesson. When we reach Heaven G-d will ask us. Not, why were you not like Moses, because then we will answer, my name was something else. After 120 years, G-d will expect from us the full potential He endowed in each ONE of us. Did YOU live up to your own full purpose and potential?
What if nothing was more important than you? What if you were just as valuable as anyone or anything else? What if your goals were just as significant as the goals of any other person or group? Can you imagine for a moment if all the organs in your body became one big mush? Looking and acting like each other??!!
The only real happiness anyone and everyone can experience is when they live their own lives, to its own full potential.
There is every good reason to respect and accept other people’s right to their own beliefs. Stop looking outward at how other people are living, stop trying to conform, and start looking inward at how YOU were meant to live.
The first time G-d communicates and speaks with Abraham He tells him, “Go inward, into yourself”. You are not like anyone else. Your purpose and mission, and the people you will bring into the world, to shed light for the rest of the world, is like none other.
Instead of finding ways to adapt more to the world around us and adopt their holidays, let’s spend time with ourselves to figure who we really are. What is our own unique message to the world. Figure it out. Explore them. Name them. Discover who YOU really are. There is no reason to dilute our own beautiful Shabbat experience with anyone else’s practices.
Abraham stood up against the whole world in his belief in monotheism. That’s why he was called Ivri, literally on the other side, or loosely translated as Hebrew, or Jew. Abraham the Ivri was an independent thinker who had the inner fortitude to become himself with his own convictions, on one side, while the rest of the world was on the other.
G-d was pleased with his fortitude, cheered him on and supported him. G-d told him this is the way you will make YOUR name and become the father of a great nation.
Each one of us was meant to be recognized–not for how similar we are to the rest of the world, but for how different we are. Know who you are. Show the world who you are.
This Shabbat, let everyone see and know, at this home Shabbat in all its purity is being celebrated.