Rabbi Irwin Wiener
A man brings some very fine material to a tailor and asks him to make a pair of pants. When he comes back a week later, the pants are not ready. Two weeks later, they are still not ready. Finally, after six weeks, the pants are ready. The man tries them on. They fit perfectly. Nonetheless, when it comes time to pay, he can’t resist a jibe at the tailor.
“You know,” he says, “it took God only six days to make the world. And it took you six weeks to make just one pair of pants.”
“Ah,” the tailor says. “But look at this pair of pants, and look at the world!”
Sometimes when we look at the world around us, we seem to despair. There is so much bloodshed, so much famine, so much hopelessness, and there is so much bigotry. We were created to be together in both action and deed. And this closeness often leads to contempt.
But then we realize that with just a few kind words or simple gestures, we can enhance our lives and those around us. In fact, if we really wanted to get along with others, we would not be so judgmental or critical. And yet, there are those who would suggest that our belief systems are different and therefore not worthy of connection. And still others who would submit that salvation is relegated to just a few.
We can, and should take a different approach to indifference. We should resolve to confront it, not with antagonism, but with a straightforward appeal to decency and morality. We can propose dialogue and exchange of ideas to remember that as we were created differently, so are our thoughts and ideas. We need to propose that there is no one path to knowledge or acceptance, but rather many ways to the paths of brotherhood and civility.
Perhaps we should take the time to look around and see that while we are all different in appearance, we are the same in the way we were created. Scripture describes the birth of humanity, and the question that is raised relates to the fact that only one man and one woman were the beginnings of everything. Perhaps the answer is too simple, and just maybe its simplicity is designed to help us understand that the example is there to remind us that one person is no better than another, for we come from one mother and one father.
The one ingredient that can be found in each of us is simply the gift of choice. We have the ability to be empathetic and sympathetic to the needs of others. We can make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate. We must learn that to choose hate over love will lead us into an abyss from which there is no return.
Perhaps we should step back and take a long hard look at the world and know that while all was created in just six days, it will take a lifetime and many lifetimes to follow to continue to complete the task of creating an appreciation for the value and purpose for the greatest gift given us: Life.
As the winter approaches its height, let us resolve to keep the warmth of our spirit and the breath of the impending spring, the most important aspect of the choices we make: “To do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.” (Micah 6:8)