Who Looks Up to YOU?
I got really nervous when I heard Rush Limbaugh was rushed to the hospital last week. All kinds of thoughts started running through my mind. On a personal level I would have been greatly saddened if anything had happened to him. On a national level I said, “Oh, oh. Who will be the voice of conservatism in this country if Limbaugh never wakes up?” Then I started to realize how dangerous it is to vest all our hopes and confidence in one individual as we did with President Obama who cannot walk on water after all. We all know rationally it’s not wise to put all our eggs in one basket or all the bets on one horse. Yet we do it over and over again. Our tendency to deify individuals has two serious traps, either they die and leave us at a loss of what to do next, or maybe they let us down by the mere fact of being human. Then we are left without role models and the things we can believe in become evermore tenuous when the mighty fall. We are always looking outward for external saviors instead of searching within and cultivating what we have to offer. When the eyes of a younger generation look upon you to find leadership, to learn from your example, what have you taught them? Your nieces, nephews, kids, the people who know you, when they walk away from interacting with you, how have they been improved? Did you know that today's youth spend approximately six hours a day in front of a screen, either the TV, the computer, video games, iPhones, etc.? So, who is filling the moral gap for them, the leadership? Tiger Woods? Tom Daschle? Rod Blagojevich? Michael Vick? Timothy Geithner? Britney Spears? Can you imagine taking the morality of all these individuals, putting them in a blender and then pouring this slimy smoothie into an impressionable youth? You'd end up with an adulterous alleged mother-beating dog-killer who doesn't wear underwear while shafting the country as he auctions off a Senate seat for which he refuses to pay taxes while playing golf. Just add a splash of vermouth to the mix and you have a future congressman. But it’s our fault when we feel let down because we keep investing too much hope in individuals and deferring responsibility instead of assuming some ourselves. Glenn Beck alone cannot re-found America, and frankly it’s fraught with danger to empower him so. The desert Jews made the same error when Moses went up to the mountain to receive God’s laws and because his return was delayed they speedily turned to sin and built the Golden Calf. Indeed, there are many great leaders appointed and empowered by God but they alone cannot sustain the world in which we live. We are continually looking for someone to bless or blame instead of assuming the role of responsible leadership ourselves. This week in synagogues around the world we begin the second book of the Bible and read about the birth of Moses. Yet the book is not named in his honor, but rather in Hebrew is called “Shmot” which means “names”-- a dedication to all of us because the life we live is all of our stories, not just one man’s. It’s fascinating to know that as Moses was on his initial journey to save the Jews from slavery “God countered him and sought to kill him,” [Exodus 4:24] because he was negligent in fulfilling the commandment of circumcision on his son. Even Moses was dispensable to God, as there are many agents who can fulfill His will. So my friends, as we travel through our days let’s never forget that we are the custodians of the moments. We each must be leaders for the young eyes that watch us, even as we follow. And instead of seeking external saviors out there we must learn to save ourselves and make ourselves worthy of the final redemption.  Rabbi Elie Munk, The Call of the Torah, Mesorrah Publications, 1994. ********************** **************************************** Sponsored by the Wordsmithy for all your editing needs. Contact: email@example.com for further information