Friday, April 5, 2013

Parsha Perspective

By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman, Dean, Cheder Chabad of Monsey

How do you develop confidence when you don't have it? How does one overcome fear, nerves and anxieties? Well, without going into major psychological dissertations (which I'm not qualified to do in the first place), perhaps we can find some insight in this week's Parshah, (Shmeinei  [Leviticus] 9:1-11:47)

Everything was set for the inauguration of the sacred service in the Sanctuary. The week-long preparations had been completed. Now it was Aaron's turn to approach the Altar and begin the service. But Aaron was reluctant. He still felt a sense of shame for his part in the Golden Calf episode. So Moses calls out to Aaron, "Approach the altar and perform the services." (Leviticus 9:7). Aaron did so and completed all the required tasks correctly. But what exactly did Moses say to Aaron to assuage his fears? All he said was "Come and do your thing." He never actually dealt with his issues. How did he address his concerns, his feelings of inadequacy?

Perhaps, Moses was saying: Come and do, and all your fears will be stilled. You lack confidence? Start performing the services and you will see that it fits you like a glove. You were born to be a High Priest and that's where you belong.

Moses was telling Aaron that if he would begin performing his chosen role, the rest would follow. As they say in Yiddish, Apetit kumt mit'n essen (the appetite comes with the eating) Even if you're not hungry, if you start eating, your appetite will follow. I suspect that’s why the first course in a meal is called an "appetizer." (Trust Jews when it comes to food!)

“Dr” Moses was dispensing sound psychological advice. The surest way of developing confidence is to begin doing that which you fear. Throwing kids in the deep end to teach them how to swim may not be everybody's cup of tea, but it usually works. Some of the finest public speakers were microphone-shy, even neurotic, at first. When we lack self-assurance, confronting our fears and phobias can be the best therapy. We discover that it really wasn't all that bad after all and we actually manage better than we ever imagined. And from there our self-belief grows until we become quite relaxed about the whole thing.

"Come and do" said Moses to his humble and hesitant brother. Aaron came and did - and the rest is history.

(From Chabad.org - Rabbi Yossy Goldman)

May you have a meaningful and uplifting Shabbos!

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