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Speaking my Mind - Emor

I looked him straight in the face and said, "Just because I exist and you exist does not mean that your existence shapes my existence. We are not the same people, and you cannot expect me to be the same as you."

As I finish up this semester, one of my assignments for my public speaking class was to write a persuasive speech. The professor asked us to pick something we felt passionate about. On a regular day, I would do something about developmental disabilities, Ohel, working, and writing. For this one, I decided to pick religion and how my relationship with religion or spirituality does not necessitate the existence of the relationship my future kids might have. Side note: Through my research, I found that giving kids autonomy and being a supportive role model speaks more than telling them to do whatever they "should" be doing.

This semester has been a hard one, so I didn't spend that much time preparing, but last night, as my deadline was approaching, I fell asleep researching. That is where I dreamed about a dialogue between me and a friend.

In this week's parsha, we read Emor. Translated, Emor means speak. While I am completely taking this out of context. Tonight, I took the opportunity to share a little about my speech and to speak my mind. I feel that authenticity is very important for anyone, and I've seen that when people put themselves in inauthentic situations to appease their friends or family. They will drop everything when their friends or family are not there anymore. A simple example is if my parents had me wear green shirts for 10 years, and I followed. The minute I left their jurisdiction, I would never wear a green shirt again. Please don't mistake me and think that I am telling you not to teach your children; I am saying to make it authentic through action, not words.

The lesson I took from this experience is that it's worthwhile to be authentic. If you have kids, know it's never about your words but your actions because they watch you. During this week, I will do my best to live a bit more authentically. For you, well, I'm not telling you what to do :)

Good Shabbos All the best!

Avroham Y Ross

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