Are we too busy to see what is most important in our lives? There is a story this week in the Torah that God regularly “appeared” before Moses, starting with the burning bush. Moses later was asked to return to Egypt and act as a spokesperson. However, when he transmitted God’s messages to the Israelites in Egypt, they ignored him because they were short of breath and too burdened by their hard labour as slaves. They had long since given up on the idea of looking up. They had lost the ability to “see” or feel anything spiritual.

It was at that moment that the first plague was initiated. And it brings up an interesting question: Were the plagues aimed at punishing the Egyptians or were they aimed at the Israelites, to shock them out of their apathy and brokenness, to awaken them spiritually, and to give them a glimpse of hope?

Chasing careers and taking care of our families and literally, everything else can get us caught up too much in the details of our lives. We are staring down at the tasks before us or at best looking ahead but below the horizon line, at what is within sight and achievable in the short term.

Perhaps that is the takeaway this week, that this isn’t enough — it is too easy to look down and to quite forget that there is an ahead and an upwards and an onward available to us. We lose a sense of the magical or the spiritual, of endless possibilities and of hope. But if we look up and beyond, well…

Shabbat shalom,

Rabbi Allan