Beha’alotecha Sermon Rabbi Moshe P. Weisblum June 5, 2004
Last Wednesday I went to pick up my son at school, and in the hallway I met his principal. He looked a little down to me, so I asked him "Are you depressed", and he answered "yes, a little. I asked him "Is it because you lost money, or because the Orioles lost?" He said "no, it’s because I’m constantly being criticized by parents, and it is hard to please all of them, especially at times when they want things that are the opposite of one another" I answered "Look at Moses and Aaron in this week’s portion, people criticized them all the time."
The Midrash tells us a story about a man his son and a donkey who are walking in a field. After a short time they met someone who said to the father, "How can you be so cruel as to make this young boy walk so far? Why is the son not ridding the donkey?" so they placed the son on the donkey. A little while later they met another man who asked the son "Where is your respect for your father? Don’t you know that you should honor your father? He should ride and the son should walk." Upon hearing that the son let the father ride the donkey. Then they met a third man and he said "You’re the father, why don’t you have compassion on your son and let him ride, too?" So they both got on the donkey. Then they met a fourth person and he asks "Why you don’t have compassion on the donkey?" Upon hearing that they both left the donkey, and walked on each side of it. Then they met a 5th who said "Bunch of idiots, it’s so funny to see 3 donkeys walking one next to the other" Upon hearing that they decided that the best thing to do is to carry the donkey on their shoulders. And they walked to the city carrying the donkey on their shoulders...
If Moses and Aaron listened to every opinion they would have ended up carrying the donkey on their shoulders…
Abraham Lincoln said "You can please some of the people some of the time but you can’t please all of the people all of the time."
This message applies not only to my son’s school principle but to every one of us. In life we need to make decisions, and sometimes they are hard decisions. If we try to follow every opinion we’ll end up carrying the "donkey on our shoulders." We have to have a decision made and we should be clear and strong in our convictions.
Copyright Moshe P. Weisblum, All Rights Reserved.
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