Straight Talk Parshat Va'eira: Stop the Craziness
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Va'eira(Exodus 6:2-9:35)

Stop the Craziness

It is quite unbelievable that Pharaoh can fail to learn over and over again. Every time, at the height of the plague, he sees his mistake, and sincerely decides to let the Jewish people go. But as soon as the pain has gone, he is back to his old tricks.

It seems crazy, but then again, don't we all do the same? We make mistakes and when we are feeling the pain of the consequences of those mistakes, we swear that we will never make the same mistake again. And we really do mean it - until next time that is, when the pain has subsided and we make the same mistake again.

It's plain and simple human nature. You sit and watch absolutely nothing on TV till 3 a.m. on a work day, and swear that tomorrow will be different. And you really do mean it. Until tomorrow comes and the frustration has subsided and you aren't tired any more and there are some good programs on and ... at 3 a.m. you swear it will never happen again. Or you wake up with a hangover swearing never to drink again - until later that evening when you are offered a drink. Or you finish the whole cheesecake when on a diet. You feel sick and appalled at yourself and tell yourself that you are never going to even look at fattening food again because it is disgusting to you. And you do mean it at the time. But tomorrow's another day and the cheesecake looks so yummy again.

So let's get back to Pharaoh. He's ready for another plague, just because the pain of the previous one has subsided? That's nuts. And when we do it, it's just as crazy. But we do have one advantage over Pharaoh. At least we know we are crazy!

Knowing we are crazy at least leaves us with the possibility of changing, even if it we don't take advantage of it right now. To think, like Pharaoh, that insanity is a normal way of living, is to walk into the asylum - and lock the doors behind us.

Published: December 24, 2007

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Visitor Comments: 9

(9) Leya Yetta, January 17, 2012 8:03 PM

as a psychiatric social worker I had to laugh at your summary! Yes, we all do crazy things repeatedly, expecting (or hoping) the results will change. But, we are reading the story from the advantage of history; what might the exodus have been like if it occurred after the Nile turned red?

(8) Anonymous, January 5, 2008 8:42 AM

A hardened heart

When G-d hardens your heart it's harder to overcome. It does amaze me that Pharoah doesn't seem to learn. Even so after the Hebrews left Egypt they still didn't seem to understand the miracle of the Red Sea. Hashem does miracles every day but we don't see them because we're so wrapped up in our own self's that we can't see what Hashem is doing or has done. I believe that if we would engross ourselves in Torah we wouldn't miss what G-d has in store for us and our evil inclination couldn't control us like it does.

(7) Hercules, January 4, 2008 9:41 PM

Crazy comments

Being sensitive to the needs of others is a mandatory trait. However, being so overly sensitive is a fault. I think this brief article iss excellent and the author did not overstep any boundaries or use any inappropriate language whatsoever.

What's crazy is getting overly worked up over the use of the word "crazy."

(6) Yehudit, January 3, 2008 7:15 PM

PLEASE BE MORE SENSITIVE - TO HUMAN BEINGS AND TO FELLOWJEWS

The article has some good points, but I totally agree with comment number one. I also have worked with the mentally ill, and the word "crazy" causes excruciating anguish and hopelessness in these people. Can you guarantee that no one with emotional problems will ever read your articles????? This word is much, much more pejorative than "nigger" is for Blacks. It borders on Loshon Hora, and I'm not kidding. Please be much more careful what you write and how you say it. Thank you so much.

(5) anonymous, January 3, 2008 1:35 PM

can and can't change depending on sensitivity,courage and will

was paro nuts or was he crazy like a fox?the possibility to change is i believe always there.to what extent one is able to change is a result of ones effort and merits.a hardened heart makes change more difficult, not impossible. it seems that as long as one has the gift of life this process is ongoing.

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