It's Not Fair – Parshat Ki Tissa*
When I was growing up, child care was something your mother did and nursery schools weren’t so prevalent. So, I spent my days at home with my mom and she made sure I had everything I needed. But one day, I noticed my older brother was going to school. I don’t think I had any idea what it was but it meant he was going somewhere. I do remember crying about not being allowed to go to school. It wasn't fair.
The finishing touches of the laws of preparing the Mishkan, the desert Tabernacle, are discussed in this week's parsha.1 There was a special oil prepared to anoint the utensils and the Kohanim, the priests. What interested me was that not only were you not allowed to prepare this mixture for any other purpose, if you did so and used it the penalty was severe. Why should only the Kohen be allowed? Aren’t we all equal? It's not fair! The Sefer Hachinuch explains that this special oil was made only for the use of the Mishkan, the Kohanim and the kings. By limiting its use, it becomes that more special – similar to the law of supply and demand. And when it becomes more special, the people who use it are viewed as special as well. The nation would look up to those who earned the right to use it.2
I may understand it better. But I still want it.
With this turmoil, I can now choose to live my life feeling second rate, being angry at God for limiting my use of it, jealous of those who did use it. Or I could look at what my range of choice is - and learn to live my life as well as I can.
In my very first logotherapy class assignment, my teacher, Dr. Teria Shantall, replied with the following words:
If we are only what we intend to be and never really are, what do we gain but feelings of awkardness, disjointedness, not fitting in anywhere properly? But once, if only once we dare to be ourselves, step into our own shoes, are truly there for someone else who needs us … how the whole picture changes! Gone is the pressure to prove yourself or else. Why? Because you are yourself and are the very proof of the fact that you are really you. How much everyone needs you to be you.
We don’t need to be priests and kings to find meaning in this life. We just need to be us.
In memory of my mother, Hentcha Leah bat Yitzchak Lipa, hk"m
*Thanks to Logotherapy Associate Miriam Hennig for pointing me towards this idea
Have A Great Shabbat!