Conquering and Challenging- The Power of Habit



We think back to a little over a week ago and think of all that has changed. Our first day in person together indoors. We had dug into the ideas of Tahor and Tameh (inherent bad and inherent good). As we look back on these as concepts it’s easy to get caught in February 2021 and think only on the inherent evils that seem to be all around us- busy with school, busy with work, too many Zooms and not enough time. It is right at this moment that Purim comes along and gives us a moment to shed these formalities. To take a moment and remember the silliness in the world and all that it can do when we simply take a moment to tap into it.


We examined our own relationship to the concept of sacrifice. What were some moments where we had to sacrifice to achieve something or for the greater good?


  • “My Dad had to wait in line in the cold to get his COVID vaccine, but he did it because he knew it was important.” 

Furthermore, we talked about breaking our own rules and healing from the process of making a mistake:

  • “If I break a rule of my own I spend some time with my dogs”
  • If I broke a rule about the environment, I’d want someone to let me know what I had done wrong, why it was wrong, and how I could fix it” 
  • “I’d want someone to correct me in a calm, positive tone if they knew I had done something wrong”
  • “We once went camping and someone saw me collecting the wrong kind of firewood and corrected me in a kind manner, didn’t seem mean” 


We thought through the ways we talk to ourselves and recognize when we’ve made a mistake. We recognize the imperfections in ourselves easily. Sometimes we need to choose to speak to ourselves kindly.


Sacrifice is an idea that can play into elements of our own lives. Even though animal sacrifice is a thing of the past (much to the relief of many of our class members), we can still look at the process of it as something we can map onto our own lives. People in ancient times could look to sacrifice as a way to celebrate milestones in life, sad moments, happy moments, and ways to celebrate holidays. Sacrifice meant taking a break from routine to go participate in a new practice, and bring a person closer to the divine. 


In the same way we’re all bringing new things into our lives and breaking our routines to bud new ones. When we jump into a new text for BMitzvah class, we take some time out of our schedules to practice something in order to slowly improve at it. 


We all sacrificed moments of our time to learn to read from the Megillah. We’re learning more and more about the process of learning something piece by piece with a moment of dedication each day. And our Bmitzvah students were impressive readers! They were powerful role models to our younger students on Purim. We’re so proud!  Seeing this class read from the Megillah gives me so much joy. It’s amazing to see how well everyone did with their readings. I hope you’ll join me in taking a moment to reflect and congratulate members of this class on a job well done. 


When we look at Purim as a microcosm of our own lives- when the stress is high, when it seems we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, when it seems like the busiest time of year is about to drown us! We can take a moment and tap into the silliness, the joy, the little stuff, to take the moment in our routine to move ourselves a step closer to a bigger goal. This is a great joy of Judaism- the cycle always continues but it contains wonderful breaks- the stress builds for a moment and then falls like the tide. As we get older and learn about ourselves in BMitzvah I hope this is a process we can take a bit more time to appreciate.

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