Aaron's D'var Torah
Many of you may be aware of an unusual aspect of the makeup of my family. I am a big fan of the New England Patriots, while my dad roots for the New York Jets. But don’t worry, we all get along. It’s just a playful rivalry, as it is with Fantasy Football, (especially when I win). While some people might think it could cause some tension, I think it teaches us an important lesson, to always strive for balance in life, to aim for the middle ground. That’s what we have in our house. No matter who wins, someone is always happy – unless of course, the Bills or Dolphins win.
Balance is the primary theme of my portion of Beresheet. The portion has lots of examples of the need to strike a balance in life.
In the story of Creation, the Torah says that God created the world by taking chaos and giving it order. The way some commentators have explained it, God struck a balance between the qualities of justice and mercy to create the world. With too much of one and not enough of the other, the world couldn’t survive. If no one followed laws and everyone drove through red lights, there would be chaos. But if people who ran red lights were put into jail for the rest of their lives, that would not be good either. You need laws, but you also need compassion.
Adam and Eve are told they can exploit nature but later, they are told they need to take care of nature. We need to find the right balance to use the natural resources our planet provides, but also take care of our planet.
Finding a balance in life is important for everyone. In my life, I try to strike a balance between
o School and sports
o Homework and bar mitzvah studies
o Spending time with family and friends
It has been especially challenging these past few months to balance school and my bar mitzvah. After school I had to make sure I did all my homework in addition to practicing for my bar mitzvah. I had to make sure my grades didn't suffer while also ensuring that I was as prepared as possible for my readings today. On top of this I often had baseball practice or games, but also wanted to sit on the couch and watch baseball highlights or watch the Patriots beat the Jets.
Another example of trying to find balance is in sharing my dog, Lexi, with Jenna. We each have our responsibilities and we take turns feeding her, taking her out, and playing with her.
It is because of my love of dogs that I am volunteering at and collecting donations for a local animal shelter for my mitzvah project. The Lucky Dog Refuge in Stamford rescues dogs most in need of saving, rehabilitates them, provides housing, vetting, training, and extra love. I chose Lucky Dog Refuge because I think all dogs should have a home and an opportunity for a good life.