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​​This Week's Torah Thought

From Rabbi Miller
Ki Tisa | כי תשא

March 17th, 2017
19 Adar 5777 

To My Dear Students,

 Like the peers of my childhood, I was enthralled with the television series, Davey Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier.  The last episode found Davey at the Alamo, where the few and desperate defenders were about to succumb to the siege laid by the Mexican army.  Facing this hopeless situation, Col. William Travis gathered his men and then, in a dramatic display, Travis drew his sword and marked a line in the dirt.  "I now want every man who is determined to stay here and die with me to come across this line."  Davey Crockett joined the others in that irreversible decision.

I think of this brave act each year when we arrive at the Torah Portion, Ki Tissa.  In seeking to determine who among the people will maintain their loyalty to the Golden Calf and who will "Moses stood up in the gate of the camp and said, 'Whoever is for the Lord, come here!' And all the Levites rallied to him" (Ex. 32:26).  As at the Alamo, and so many other points in history, the moment comes when one’s true beliefs are put on public display.

I don’t know when and how that crossing comes for you.  I only know that it comes.  We all stand at that line in the sand at one time or another when the voice of conscience battles the voice of convenience.  It is tempting to stand still but it is necessary to step across the line and count ourselves among those who live by their beliefs and not by their excuses.

We humans are fundamentally choosing beings.  At the end of the day we are the sum of our choices.  We might not have been born if our grandparents had not crossed that line and left Europe.  A courageous decision long ago impacted the generations.  There are times when our own lives call forth loyalty to our higher selves, to G-d, to Faith, to People.  We say, Hineni, “Here I am,” ready to cross the line on behalf of something greater than myself.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Miller