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May 19, 2011 - Image 120

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2011-05-19

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spiritualit

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Parshat Bechukotai: Leviticus 26:3-
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116

May 19 • 2011

hink back to the last time
you were at the grocery store
and had to choose from
among multiple laundry detergents,
toothpastes, soup mixes, breakfast
cereals, etc.
We might not even
think about it consciously
but there is no question
that the overabundance of
choices we have to make
each day is definitely tak-
ing its toll on us.
Every minute of every
day, we are making choic-
es involving everything
from our image and atti-
tude to choosing a career
as well as when and where
we will retire. We make
choices of when to speak out and
when to stay silent, when to hold the
door for someone and when to let it
close in their faces, when to politely
let someone go ahead of us in traffic
and when to cut them off and pre-
tend that we didn't see them ... You
get the idea.
Some of our choices will have
a big impact on our future, while
others will not. But, needless to say,
with so many choices to be made
constantly and continually it is no
wonder that in this day and age we
find decision making difficult ...
and living with our choices even
harder.
Overwhelmed by it all, some
people are actually outsourcing their
choices and asking others to make
important decisions for them. One
example I heard recently was how
the Internet is enabling brides and
grooms to ask others to pick every-
thing from the menu and dessert, to
the band and photographer, relying
on the wedding guests to make all of
the decisions for them.
In some ways, we yearn to return

to the simpler days when there
weren't so many choices to make
like in our Torah portion Bechukotai
— where God makes it easy on the
Israelites. There was just one choice
to make: They had to
choose whether or not to
observe the command-
ments.
This week, in the
concluding parshah of
Leviticus, God offers one
very powerful choice to
the people, a choice upon
which their lives depend:
"if you follow my laws
faithfully and observe my
commandments, I will
grant your rains in their
proper season ..."As this
teaching reminds us, we are largely
in control of our destiny so we must
take all of our choices seriously.
The truth is that our choices
and our decisions have the power
and the potential to change lives
for the better — and by so doing,
transforming the world in a pro-
found way. This is why, even when
we become overwhelmed, we must
continue to take our choices to heart
and not arbitrarily disregard their
importance.
Yes, we are the ones who are
responsible for our choices — not
our parents, not our children and
not our neighbors. And so, let
us more fully embrace our all-
important decisions with the right
attitude and a full heart, as we seek
to improve our lives physically, emo-
tionally and spiritually — whether
by choosing to exercise or by hold-
ing out our hands in love to some-
one in need.

Joseph H. Krakoff is a rabbi at

Congregation Shaarey Zedek in
Southfield.

Conversations

What is the best choice you ever made? What is the worst choice?

Do you put off making important choices or do you make choices
easily?

Why is it important to choose to observe the commandments?

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