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One breath at a time - Yisro

During this past week, I enrolled in college to finish my degree. On the placement test, I was asked to share a parable about how someone tried to ascend a metaphorical ladder three rungs at a time but took a great fall instead of succeeding. I shared a parable based on something I once heard from Avrohom Fried.

There was a man named Sam; Sam was a humble member of society. Sam was happy with his quiet life, although he always wanted to do more. One evening, he decided that he wanted to change the world. The next day, Sam made an appointment with the local sage and asked him for advice on his current situation. The sage listened to his aspirations and then advised him as follows, “for the next month, I want you to start your mission by reaching out to the entire world and try to change it.”

Over the next month, Sam posted on social media, visited many news stations and public activists to share his mission. After the month, he told the sage that he didn’t see much change in the world. The sage amended the advice, telling Sam that he should lessen his radius since changing the world was too challenging.

Refueled with energy, Sam continued his mission. Over the next few months, he focused on changing his country. When that failed, he focused on his state, and finally, before giving up, he focused on his town. After a few months of not seeing any measurable difference, Sam returned to the sage, looking for an explanation. The sage told Sam that the only action he should take is to make a positive difference in himself. The reason is that, when you do something positive, you will show others enthusiasm; and they will follow. First, it will be one of your family members, then the people in your town, and finally the entire world.

In this week’s Parsha, we read about Yisro and the Jewish people. I was reminded of this parable about Sam because when Yisro arrived, Moshe was dealing with every legal issue. This is too much for any person and would eventually overwhelm Moshe. Yisro suggested creating a hierarchy of judges so that Moshe could delegate his responsibilities and not get overwhelmed. Moshe accepted his suggestion and put this directive into effect.

In the metaphor about the ladder, the person couldn’t make it because he climbed multiple steps. In the story about Sam, he wanted to do something positive. Still, he jumped the beginning steps looking to complete the final goal. In this Parsha, Yisro helped Moshe create a system to break down all those legal cases into a system. In every example, the solution occurred when the situation was broken down into bite-sized pieces. Join me this week as we do one additional act of good and kindness. Hopefully, this small act will make a difference by transforming the world one step at a time and bringing Moshiach!

Good Shabbos

All the best

Avroham Ross

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