Would you like to become orthodox?

Would you like to become orthodox?  Okay, okay, we don't have to go there.  At the very least, I won't be the one to tell you not to.  At the same time, we all have change waiting to happen that seem as impossible and ridiculous as becoming orthodox.  The socially awkward might expect their family to accept them as such, since "it's who I am."  To change this would be selling my soul.  I'll write more about this next week, but for now I want to share how impossible change happens. 

Anyone who has made life changing decisions can look back and pinpoint three stages in the change.  The first stage is the build up.  Let's use the example of someone with a debt addiction.  They could have 50 years of suffering from their problems, and still bang their head against the wall.  In this stage, there's lots of back and forth.  I want to change, but I don't really want to change.  Maybe I can manage my suffering with minimal change etc.

The second stage is the moment of truth.  All of the past experiences lead us to make the hard decision.  Like Elijah the Prophet told the Jews who were serving Hashem and idols at the same time, "If Hashem is your G-d, then follow him.  If the ba'al (idol) is god, then follow him."  Anyone who has made that life changing decision can pinpoint the moment when they decided to change. 

The third stage is implementation.  Just because I made a decision in my mind to change, doesn't mean my body is on the same page yet, and it will probably take years to master the change. 

In the story of religiousity, most people who become religious had years of questioning and searching.  At some point, they realize that they're far enough along that a choice has to be made:  either "in" or "out."  It takes years after that moment of truth though to really master keeping the mitzvos with all their details.

In this week's Torah portion, we read about the "42 journeys leaving Egypt."  Seemingly, asks the Rebbe, leaving Egypt only took one journey.  Yes, the Jews camped 42 times on the way to Israel, but leaving Egypt happened in one step.  Why doesn't it say that there were 42 journeys leaving Egypt?  After reading the last few lines though, I think the answer should be clear:  Leaving Egypt only is one journey, but there are dozens of journeys that lead up to the moment of truth to decide that "I'm leaving Egypt" and dozens of journeys after that moment of truth decision.  Even after the alchoholic decides to "leave Egypt" and change, they'll mess up at least 42 times before they can say, "I'm in Israel."  

Shabbat Shalom, 

Rabbi Abrams


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