Mattos : Personal Responsibility

When my wife and I took our trip last week, on the way home, we stopped off at our favorite store, to stock up on food for the upcoming Apocalypse (at least we won’t go down hungry).  


While I ran away from my wife, like all good men do, my wife overheard a couple (the husband obviously did not run away in time).  He brought her two jars of something.  She yelled at him, “I wanted THREE jars!" He yelled back, “Look!  You wrote TWO!”  She yelled back, “You should know by know, that when I write TWO, I mean THREE!”


My wife couldn’t stifle her laugh when she heard this and he turned around and said to her, “I’ve known this woman for fifty years, and I still have no idea what she wants from me.”


My wife replied, “I’m sorry, but she is right.”


Poor guy.  Next time, he needs to make a break for it faster.


In this week’s parsha, the Tribes of Gad and Reuven came and requested that their share in Eretz Yisroel be "traded in" for the land in the present-day Golan Heights.  The reason for this was simple, they had a lot of cattle and needed the room, worried that their portion in Eretz Yisroel proper would not be big enough.


Immediately, Moshe sensed that something was up and questioned them to find their motives.  He was worried that they were simply going to back out of the upcoming conquest of the Land, and sit on the sidelines.  The two tribes spoke up and assured Moshe that it was never their intention to do such a thing.  In fact, they would commit the exact same amount of soldiers to the war as any other tribe.  Not only that, but they were going to be the first into battle.


After Moshe’s death, as the army moved itself into the Land, Gad and Reuven were there, just as promised, and did not return to their families until many years later, when the land was finally occupied.


There is something to be learned here which many people in our world have forgotten about.  It’s called “taking responsibility” or “keeping your word."


When a person takes responsibility for something, being a new job, a new child, position in the community, a spouse, a friend, it is now their job to follow through with that responsibility.  As a parent, you have a responsibility to your children.  You are obligated to raise them properly until such time, your "term" ends.  As a teacher, you have a responsibility to your students.  As a Jew, your responsibility is to Hashem.  Other things might sway you this way or that, but in the end, you have an obligation.  


The list goes on and on.


But, what many people don’t understand is responsibility means putting in your full effort.  Doing a half-baked job, is not being responsible.  Yes, there are times that your 100% is low, due to different circumstances, so the end might be half-baked, but the important part is, you still gave it all you've got.


I admit, this is a sore spot for my wife and me.  Sometimes we feel as if we are spending more time doing other people’s jobs, than our own.  People who are being paid to be negligent are having their jobs done for them by others who need it done.


Can you imagine all the pain and suffering that is being accrued on such a person’s account?  All because they are not interested in responsibility?


When we are part of something, we have an obligation to “hold our own” and do our best, so others don’t suffer from our laziness.


That is how you build a strong community and a strong nation.  Each person doing their share as best as they can.


Have a wonderful Shabbos!