To our 9:00 am Shabbat Ark of Prayer and the Mishpacha within,
Earlier this week I lost 111 days of food abstinence by eating a small fourth meal at night because I felt entitled. I felt entitled not to feel my feelings like hunger, uncomfortableness and irritation at a day filled with technology problems and lost work production.
I felt entitled to assuage my feelings by relying on my own understanding and resources, which led me into the need for recovery in the first place. And I did not rely on what I had been taught as I worked my food recovery program. I had slacked off of the activities that I do that keep me spiritually fit and as a result was not sufficiently close to G-d to have avoided my wrong choices.
This is what we see this week in the Haftorah in 2 Kings 4:42-5:19.
Here we see Naaman, who has leprosy, an always gruesomely fatal disease in his day, a mighty warrior and general, a wealthy man admired by his King.
Naaman is a man that is used to getting his way in everything. There are no lines at the checkout counter for him.
So he shows up at the doorstep of Elisha, the prophet of G-d, looking to buy a cure with his gold, silver and prestige. He even expects the King of Israel and Elisha to ignore the fact that Naaman has been attacking Israel and help him, their enemy, anyway.
Elisha loves G-d and for the opportunity to introduce Naaman to his L-rd, he is willing to ask G-d to heal Naaman. But Elisha does not go out to speak to Naaman, thus slighting him, and worse tells Naaman to wash in a local river to be healed, a ridicules “prescription” even in the day of Naaman.
Naaman has not sought the L-rd for help or acknowledged His role in his military victories, has not acknowledged his own powerless to cure his leprosy or acknowledged that his life is ultimately unmanageable due to his impending death. This leaves Naaman angry when he did not get what he expected as his due, so he storms away.
But we see something interesting. His officers, who must have cared for Naaman to risk his wrath, reason with him to reconsider Elisha’s instructions. As a result, Naaman is ultimately healed and becomes a follower of G-d.
But imagine the outcome if Naaman had no one around him or if Naaman remained savagely belligerent and ultimately unteachable. He would have died and not known the L-ord.
Having a cloud of people around me who care enough about me to call me, in a lovingly appropriate way, on my stuff is important. My relationships help keep me teachable and is central to my recovery and to my life at Temple. I will miss the fruits of the Spirit if I approach my life, and especially my relationship with G-d, in isolation.
So when I slipped earlier this week, I was able to talk to my sponsor, who, without judgment or inappropriate emotion, was able to help me refocus my activities to more solidly connect with G-d. And I am abstinent again with no gap between my poor choices and my restarted abstinence.
The love and spiritual growth we experience at TAJ comes from a solid acknowledgement and adherence to scriptural boundaries, a willingness to not be judgmental but to be kind and helpful to everyone.
To maintain my food recovery and my relationship with G-d, I need a belief in Yeshua’s power, willingness to do as Yeshua and my sponsor direct, honesty, humility, and destruction of self-centeredness through service to others. My spiritual life and G-d connectedness is enlarged through work and self-sacrifice to others.
But fear, like Naaman’s fear of looking foolish, cuts me off from everyone and from G-d. The more I rely on G-d, the more serene and peaceful I am. To have a manageable life, I must make continuous progress perfecting my G-d given ideals but I am not required to be perfect. As I grow spiritually, I will become more humble, tolerant, patient, and able to show good will and love to everyone.
I hope you find my musings this week thought provoking and helpful on your own spiritual journey and any hurts, habits and hangups you may have.
Blessings to you and yours.
Your brother in Yeshua in the TEVA TEFILAH,
Posted on Sun, March 23, 2014