Ki Savo: Turning Things Around

Last erev Shabbos I went to the Den of Doom & Destruction (aka the Post Office).  After I completed my mission, I went to the nearest bus stop to await my ride back home.  Seeing that I had some time until the next bus, I pulled out my small chumash and started to learn.  Within a minute, a car pulled over and the driver started to roll down the window.  Thinking that he needed directions, I went to the car, and lo and behold it was my children's doctor.  He asked me where I was going, and when I told him, he said, "Any person who is learning Torah in the morning, it's my mitzvah to take him home!"  (We have a great relationship with him.)


Now, you have to understand something.  He's not religious at all.  In fact, I was told that he used to be quite anti-religious, until more and more religious families moved into the area, and he, as their doctor, saw that they were normal, responsible people.


It takes a lot for a person to be willing to change his opinion on something, especially such a popular opinion.  But he did so.  It's says a lot about him.


But it also says a lot about me.  Most important people who have drivers … they have drivers.  But MY driver?  He has a doctorate.  That says something about my greatness, doesn't it? 😊


This week's parsha contains a list of all the things that could go wrong if we decided to throw off the yoke of Torah.  However, there contains a pasuk which seem to be exhibit strange … behaviour …


"Your ox will be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will not eat from it; your donkey will be robbed from before you, but it will not be returned to you; your flocks will be given to your enemies, and you will have no savior" (Devarim 28:31).


When you read it backwards, word for word (in Hebrew), you get:


"A savior you will have, and your flocks will not be given to your enemies; to you it will return, and your donkey will not be robbed from before you; you will eat from it and your ox will not be slaughtered before your eyes"


There are two lessons that can be learned from this pasuk.


The first is that through proper tshuva one can take the curse that was ordained for him, and easily switch it into a bracha.  All the more so, during Elul, the month before Rosh HaShanah, which is the best opportunity to turn one's life around.


Another lesson is something that I thought of when I saw this.


Many times, Hashem gives us … I don't know the English word for this … hmmmm … not negative things per se, but rather … we're missing things in our lives or we have certain traits that get in our way from (what we perceive of) growing.


Take ADHD for example.  Any child that has it, and certainly his parents, knows that it is very difficult to sit still, learn, and concentrate on a lesson.  They have a need to constantly move and focus on many different things.  It's not a negative thing in itself, but it is something that can keep somebody from working within societal bounds.


Yet, on the other hand, such a trait can be used in the positive.  My son's rebbe told his class (which seems to be full of such kids) that the Israeli army is actually looking for such soldiers to fill in certain positions, where they would serve better than those who do not have ADHD.


A good friend of mine married into a family which is just FULL of ADHD.  Neither one of his brothers-in-law completed the same yeshiva that they started in, since they had this bad habit of getting kicked out.  His father-in-law is simply oozing ADHD (which is interesting, since my friend comes from a strong German background, which tends to be the complete opposite).  Now, this same father-in-law used to run a series of boys schools in Yerushaliyim.  My friend said about him, "It's only BECAUSE he is so ADHD that we was able to run so much at the same time; no other 'normal' person would have had the ability to do so."


So, sometimes Hashem gives us certain things that are either "negative" or "missing" that other people don't have to deal with.  It adds extra stress on their lives and seems like a curse.  However, these same traits, when used properly, can be used in the most positive way, bringing bracha into this world.  I'm not talking about overcoming issues, I'm talking about using these issues to better oneself and society around them.

Have a great Shabbos!