News From Ramaz
By Rabbi Justin Pines, MS Mashgiach Ruchani
Sometimes - often - life imitates Torah. I was watching a big college basketball game last night, Duke against University of Central Florida (UCF). Duke, who has the best player in the country, Zion Williamson, and is considered to be one of the best teams, was losing at the end. The coach, Mike Krzyzewski, perhaps one of the greatest coaches of all time, gathered his team in the huddle. He said, "I'm not worried, You guys live for these moments."
Then, a few minutes later, when Duke's star, Zion, got the ball back after missing a 3-pointer, his teammate, Tre Jones said, "Go, Get to the basket." The best basketball player in the country had to be reminded first by his coach, and then by his teammate, "Go." "You can do this." God blessed you with talent. You worked hard. You are prepared for this moment. And he did go to the hoop, and Duke won the game.
Now, I am not going to pretend that a basketball hoop and the Mizbeach are the same. But life can help us understand Torah, just as Torah helps us understand life. This week, in Parshat Shmini, imagine: the Mishkan is complete, the Kohanim have prepared for seven days, and on the eighth day, the entire community has brought Korbanot and stands in front of the Ohel Moed, and it is time for Aharon HaKohen to begin his avodah on the Mizbeach. Moshe says to Aharon, קְרַ֤ב אֶל־הַמִּזְבֵּ֨חַ֙, go to the Mizbeach. Rashi asks, why did Moshe have to tell Aharon to go to the Mizbeach? He knew that was his job. Rashi answers that Aharon doubted himself. Moshe had to remind him, this is your destiny. Hashem chose you for this.
Sometimes, like Aharon HaKohen we forget our self worth. We forgot that Hashem has showered us with gifts. We get so caught up comparing ourselves to other people, or focusing on what we don't have, that we forget what we do have. The next time you find yourself doubting yourself, make a list of five positive traits you possess. Make a list of ten positive traits you possess. Remember, I'm not worried. You live for these moments. You can do this. Go to the Mizbeach.
And the next time you see a friend doubting his or her self worth, be like Moshe Rabbeinu, and do the same. Remind them, I'm not worried. You live for these moments. You can do this. Go to the Mizbeach.