The Responsibility of Responsibility
9 November, 2018
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This week’s Miller’s Musings is sponsored
בן משה אלישא מתתיהולכבוד
לאה בת אברהם
They say there are some things that money can’t buy. But this notion seemingly did not apply to Eisov. For him even the most valuable possessions had a price, and in the case of his birthright, it was the measly sum of a bowl of lentil soup. Rashi explains that Eisov’s rationale in selling the birthright was because he felt that he simply did not have the wherewithal to live up to its responsibilities. If we think about this carefully, it would seem that Eisov had a point. When he heard about the requirements and the consequences of a failure to fulfill them, he knew himself well enough to determine that it was not for him. That being the case, what in fact was wrong with his selling it? We is he so maligned for realising his own inadequacies?
While it was certainly true that the tasks involved in the birthright were ones of great personal accountability, we must also consider what was at stake were he to accept his calling as the firstborn. It was an opportunity to bring tremendous sanctity into the world and an opportunity to give honour to Hashem, the purpose in fact of all creation. When something as monumental as this is in question, says the Darash Moshe, there is nothing that should stand in a person’s way from accepting the challenge. To relinquish one’s role in this crucial part of bringing about the perfection of creation, is to in effect forsake Hashem, for it is He who has allotted our part and His presence in this existence that we are minimizing by not contributing our portion. Eisov’s fears may have been well-founded and his concerns real and indeed sincere, but if this was the task assigned to him, he should have accepted it, no matter the risk involved.
There are many reasons for why one might shy away from responsibility and leadership. Some of them may be legitimate and genuine. We might be concerned about the potential cost to our own family, we may wonder if we truly possess the abilities and skills that are necessary to succeed in that particular endeavour and we might be unsure if there are others better suited to the role. What we must never do however is back away from something simply because of a fear of failure. If we have ascertained that all those considerations point towards us being the right person, we must force ourselves to take on this duty because it is the right thing to do and will bring pleasure to our Creator. Yes it may be scary and yes there are always going to be risks involved. But if there is something our community needs and we have the capabilities to provide it, we must simply trust in Hashem and His having chosen us. If we don’t, not only are we letting ourselves down and those around us, we are worst of all disappointing Hashem who believes in us more than we believe in ourselves.
*May Shabbos give us the faith in ourselves as Hashem has in us*
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