How easy is it for us to proverbially “put the cart before the horse”? How many times have we jumped to conclusions and acted upon them before we figured out that our conclusions were based on erroneous assumptions?
Of course, we should think before we act.
However, there is also a danger in over-thinking things….
The Torah tells us that our people stood at the foot of Mount Sinai and responded to God’s voice, saying: “Kol Asher Diber Adonai, Na’aseh [we shall do everything that God said for us to do]” (Genesis 19:8). Isn’t that an example of “putting the cart before the horse”? Shouldn’t our people have heard more extensively and listened more carefully and thought about what they heard before they promised to act upon what they were hearing?
In truth, the better question is: How can we do both – listen and act – in the best way possible? In order to be partners with God in the redemptive work of tikkun olam [making the world a better place] we must make decisions and we must act. Hopefully, if we act in haste and as a result we make a mistake, we can correct it.
At Mount Sinai, our people were eager to receive the Torah. They trusted that God was giving us Torah – a Torah of life, of freedom, and of peace. And they trusted Moses, as our teacher to help them understand the Torah and translate it into “darchei noam [ways of pleasantness].” They jumped in, knowing that hearing and listening and understanding Torah is an on-going effort throughout all of life. But, living a life of Torah does not mean postponing actions until we have understood it all….
May we be guided by the wisdom of Torah that encourages us to listen, to study, to think…but also to act in a timely fashion to fill our world with many blessings.
Rabbi Gilah Dror
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