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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Beha'alotcha

TIME FOR AN AFFLUENZA SHOT

Rabbi Stewart WeissSivan 15 5776
31
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Our Sedra of B’Ha’alotcha is known as "Parshat Ha-Mitlon’nim (or Ha-Miton’nim); the Parsha of Complaining." All kinds of complaints dot the Sedra; one of them is actually a positive gripe – the lament of those who, through no fault of their own, missed the chance to bring the Korban Pesach, which was brought only once during the entire 40 years spent in the desert. The result of this complaint – which clearly delighted Hashem – was the institution of Pesach Sheni, the chance to bring the offering a month after Pesach (Iyar 15).

But all the other grievances in the Sedra are of a much more mean-spirited & arrogant nature:

"Who will feed us meat?" "Where is all the good(?) food we enjoyed in Egypt - the fish, the garlic, the melon?" "What is with this Mahn?! True, the taste may vary, but it looks the same every single darn day!"

And then Miriam & Ahron get into the act, criticizing their brother Moshe, accusing him of acting in a "holier than thou" fashion vis a vis his wife, Tzipora.

Moshe himself catches the "moaning malady," when he cries bitterly to G-d: "Why did you do such a bad thing, to make me leader of this nation?! I can’t take them any more, it’s too much for me! Just kill me & end the misery!"

What is going on here? Why all the complaints? Did the people not experience, just a short time ago, the most amazing miracles in history (at least until 1948)? Were they not coddled & cared for in the hostile desert, their every need satisfied? Why the massive ingratitude?

Perhaps the answer lies in one little phrase (11:6): The people say, regarding the Mahn, "Naf’shenu y’vesha; ayn kol" - our souls are parched, we have nothing." But the words "ayn kol" can also mean, "We don’t have everything!"

All too often, no matter how much we have – or perhaps, because we have everything! – we suffer from a disease known as Extreme Entitlement, or "Affluenza." We get used to the world bowing to our every whim, we think every minute of every day must go our way & we go ballistic if things don’t turn out exactly as we would like. The slightest inconvenience sets us off.

The cure for this, perhaps, is a mix: One ounce Humility, one ounce Hakarat HaTov, one ounce Emuna. Appreciate what you have; don’t think you are the most important person on Earth; and trust in Hashem that He knows what is
good for you. And take that frown - and turn it upside-down.

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