To ignore…or not to ignore. That is the question!
As the month of Elul progresses, and in preparation for the High Holy Days, we are called upon to reflect on our lives.
One of the dilemmas of life these days is how to sift through all the information we receive throughout the day. We are literally inundated with information, with news, with advertisements, with advice, with warnings, with emails, and with entertainment from morning to night. As a result, we have very little time or patience for introspection. Indeed, we have very little “space” for reflection.
We either make choices or we are buffeted around by whatever is thrown our way.
Our choice is: To ignore…or not to ignore.
The Torah tells us, in our weekly Torah portion: “If you see your fellow’s ox or sheep gone astray, do not ignore it; you must take it back to your fellow. (Deuteronomy 22:1). But, interestingly, just two verses later (in verse 3), the Torah tells us: …you will not be able to ignore it!
There’s a difference between the Torah telling us that we must not ignore something and the Torah telling us that we will not be able to ignore it! So, why does the Torah use these two distinctly different phrases? What’s the message?
By using the two distinctly different phrases, the Torah highlights for us that fact that if we try to ignore something that is of huge moral concern to us, in the long run, we will not be able to be at peace with ourselves. In the long run, we will not be able to successfully ignore the things that are truly reflect our highest values.
Especially in our lives today, when we are so inundated with information, it is important for us to consciously decide what is important to us and what is not. We need to be deliberately mindful in choosing the things that will capture and retain our attention. We need to decide what to ignore and what not to ignore. This is true spiritual work.
May the month of Elul, and our spiritual work, lead us to a sense of “space” and “inner peace” as we navigate our paths within the turbulence and noise of the world around us.
Rabbi Gilah Dror
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