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It's the process of how we live life that really matters

08/11/2017 04:00:00 AM

Aug11

What did you accomplish? Where did you go to school? What is your career?  We are trained from early on in American society to look to the future and to build our lives and sense of accomplishment through the achievement of goals.  To put it another way we are a product driven society.  However, Judaism offers a different approach.  An approach that emphasizes process over product.  No where is this more evident than in the Torah.  For five books we read the story of the return to the promised land, only to end the story with Moses's death outside the land and to start over with the creation story.  We never get to the promised land.

As I read through the book of Deuteronomy, Moses's final farewell address to the Israelite people, I am left asking myself a question, did Moses see himself as successful?.  I imagine that it would have been easy for Moses to see himself as failing because he did not achieve his final goal of arriving in the promised land.  Like many of us it is easier to see the things that do not work out then the things that do.  However, if Moses shifted his perspective he would see all that he accomplished. 

Rabbi David Eschel, a colleague of mine, once said to me about Jewish summer camp, "We are not teaching your kids how to do something but how to become someone".  Judaism tries to point out to us that life is not about the destination it is about the journey.  That contrary to how we have been raised, it is not the product of life, but the process of how we live life that really matters.  As James Taylor once wrote, "The secret to life is enjoying the passage of time, it is just your point of view". 

Therefore, take time this Shabbat to think about the person you are, and who you have become, and who you would like to be.  However, most important of all, enjoy the ride. Jewish education needs to shift its focus from product to process

Sat, September 21 2019 21 Elul 5779