You are children of HASHEM, your G-d. You shall neither cut yourselves nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead. For you are a holy people to HASHEM, your G-d, and HASHEM has chosen you to be a treasured people for Him, out of all the nations that are upon the earth. (Devarim 14:1-2)
For you are a holy people: You are holy from your ancestors and even more so HASHEM has chosen you. – Rashi
Blessed are You HASHEM the One Who chooses His Nation Israel with love. – Recited Daily Before Shema!
What a valued position we find ourselves in the universe. The Almighty writes explicitly in the Holy Torah, “You are children of HASHEM your G-d…” WOW times WOW! Anybody who has a child can have a hint of what that might mean. A parent naturally loves their child and would do anything to see their child happily succeeding. We cannot begin to imagine how great and perfect is HASHEM’s love for His children. The flip side is also true. Somebody once said, “Parents are only as happy as their unhappiest child!” Oy times Oy! We are that powerful and we matter that much! We can bask in the glory of that light all day! It can make happy without limit in an instant or admittedly it can feel burdensome and make us uncomfortable as well.
Years back an old friend called and asked me if I had time for a two minute story. I was occupied at the time with bus duty. I just listened and when he was done he wished me a good Shabbos and hung up. Years later I am still in awe from this episode and its profound implications.
While exiting a Shul in Brooklyn on Thursday eve he espied a non-Jewish fellow with his sweatshirt hood pulled over his baseball cap and he was not so atypically preoccupied with his phone. He also noticed that the fellow was wearing extra-large baggy pants and they parked way-way below his waistline. This is not an uncommon scene these days. Unfortunately it has become in many places the new normal.
For some reason it bothered my friend. His appearance was not befitting the dignity of a human being and he felt he had to address it somehow. He approached this fellow and gently pointed out to him, “Do you realize your pants are hanging way down there?!” The fellow looked up blankly and grunted with a vague acknowledgment.
My friend just pivoted and walked away, somewhat disappointed and wondering if he had discharged his mission effectively or not. After going a block he said that he felt compelled to turn back and approach the fellow once again. He told him emphatically, “You are a prince! I want to let you know that you are a very important person. You are a prince! You don’t know how important you are!” This time the fellow was looking up at him and listening with interest.
Then he pivoted and walked away again and when he got half a block away he was overcome with curiosity and he turned to look back. Incredibly so, the fellow had pulled up his pants!
Cogitate on the power of having an elevated image of self! That is the very good news and that is the bad news!
In one of my favorite quotes Marianne Wiliamson writes, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of G-d. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of G-d that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
That may just be the best and truest description of our chosen mission!