D’var Torah: Ariel Skolnick ’20 (Beresheit)

We recently went through the holiday season with celebration, but also with reflection. These past holidays, we reflected on our past and tried to create a new path for our future. This year I did something a little different. I didn’t want to all together change my path, because whatever mistakes I made would be forgotten. I wanted to add on to my path or change the direction. Everyone has an unique path they take to their own future and they go in all different directions. They also intervene with each other in countless ways. How I remember to reflect is not by seeing someone’s path going in the wrong direction, but how they can correct it. We all start from a seed then grow into a root, and then make decisions like what to eat or drink, but we also make decisions on where we want to go to college or what our job would be.

Our paths are very personal to us, but sometimes we have to share them. We have to think about how we want to shape the future for ourselves, but also for the people around us and even our own children one day. When I was a kid a lot of my opinions were based on what my parents told me and what they did. They taught me how to help others in need, pursue what I love and work hard. They didn’t really have much trouble with the last one in the past few months. In all seriousness, I understand that I am only 13 and I am talking about the future. My thought and opinions will change and progressively develop into who I am. But it all starts as an idea. An idea can blossom into a passion and then into a creation, and finally a reality. The reality might take a while, but at least know that the idea will always be with me.

Let’s go back to the paths for a second. Let’s say one day, someone in front of you that’s in line for a store, drops a penny. So you pick it up and put it in your pocket. No big deal right, it’s just a penny, they’re not gonna miss it. But then the next day someone drops a dollar, again not that much, it’s fine. But it eventually progresses to 10 dollars then 20 then 100 and when does it stop? When is the point when we stop and  think to ourselves, that’s not right. I need to turn around and think about what we are doing. But which way is easier, is it doing something that at first is not harmful, or admitting a mistake and then gaining the trust that you lost. Cain and Abel for example. At first Cain is just a little jealous but it’s no big deal. All siblings have their fights and disagreements. But then he realizes that Able is his mother’s favorite, and he was always praised for being the good child. Then when the final test came, G-d was testing Cain. God told Cain and Abel to go bring him offerings. Abel being the good child that he was, brought his best and most ripe crops to G-d. But Cain brought a good, not great but good animal to G-d. Understandable, Cain wanted to have the best one, Ii mean he raised it, and took care of it, he did all the work. But when G-d chose Abel’s offering and disregarded Cain’s, that was his breaking point. It made him so mad, as to kill his own brother. His punishment, a wanderer. With all the time he needed to think about what he did.

Is that the only way for us to realize that something is wrong? Can’t we just stop at a dollar and call it a day? The farther we go down our paths, the harder it is to stray. So start with giving that one penny back, and the a dollar, and then 10. Because it will get you on a different path, one that will be hard to stray from, but it will be good rather than harmful.

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