Parashat Va'eira: A Time to Believe
When's the last time you jumped and did something without thinking it through, without thinking about all the possibilities that could be and just following your heart and your instincts? As human beings we have a deep seeded need to see something, learn something, experience something, and then know something before we truly believe in it. Before we can trust it. Like the famous idiom says, “Seeing is believing.” We have a hard time living with the unknown. When I was a little girl I discovered the book, The Voyage of the Basset, by James C. Christensen, a book that still sits prominently in my library. This book was a real gift for me because not only did it open the doors of my childhood imagination wider, but it gave me the credo I would live by for the rest of my life, “By believing one sees.” In life I try my best to believe before I see. Not always an easy feat, because I like everyone else, feel uncomfortable when there are unknowns in my life. But, I found that when I follow my heart, follow my instincts without backing down, amazing things can happen. Becoming a rabbi for one. Believing has opened my mind, heart, and soul to more of life’s possibilities. There are so many things we don’t know or fully understand, G-d being one of them, even Religion (or what we think it is), or how our lives will turn out. All of that is okay because as human beings we are not all knowing, but have the potential to learn. Keeping an open mind, heart, and soul, believing in the possibilities gives us the ability to truly experience life with your whole self.
Let me ask you a question, how many times of seeing something, or experiencing something, does it take you to believe in it? In this week’s Torah portion, Va’eira, G-d afflicts the Egyptians with seven of the ten plagues (Blood, Frogs, Lice, Beasts, Pestilence, Boils, and Hail). Why does this happen? It happened because neither the Israelites, nor the Egyptians believed G-d's messages to them. The Israelites were so deep in their suffering as slaves that they didn't believe Moses, when he told them that G-d would save them, be their G-d, and bring them to a land that was promised to their ancestors. Pharaoh and the Egyptians had to experience ten plagues, and the Israelites had to witness them before they believed G-d. It took ten times before there was enough trust that G-d would follow through for them to believe in G-d. So, what would have happened if the Israelites and Pharaoh, just believed in G-d from the beginning?
What can we learn from this? What kind of world would we live in if we just tried to believe? What would it feel like to have faith in something that is not completely tangible, that is unknown without knowing it? These are all important questions we should try to ask ourselves. What is the worst thing that could happen if we believe a little bit more, follow our hearts and instincts, and jump. The worst thing that could happen is we make a mistake and have to try again. Whether we believe or not, we will make mistakes. Life is about making mistakes, and how we grow from them. This year maybe believing a little more instead of just seeing, and see where your life will lead you.