Rabbi Daniel Lapin
June 17, 2012
One day you’re on top of your game and the next you’re not. It can happen to anyone. All of a sudden the simple day to day tasks that must be done loom as gigantic obstacles. You’re overwhelmed with self-pity and hopelessness. You are your most important asset and you’re letting yourself down.
Watch how one of history’s greatest men, Moses, overcame this challenge.
Only three months after God miraculously took the Israelites out of Egypt, Moses discovered them worshipping a golden calf. He punished the people, then begged God for forgiveness on their behalf. (Exodus 32)
As a real leader, Moses cared deeply about the children of Israel. Though the Israelites grumbled about him, he continually advocated on their behalf. They complained about water and Moses prayed to God. (Exodus 15:24-25)
Later, when they complained of hunger, Moses again interceded on their behalf. Even his expressions of anger were in order to educate them and improve their behavior. (Exodus 16:20)
Moses fully engaged with his people. He constantly sought to provide whatever they needed while caring for them, teaching them and guiding them.
About a year after these events, a year during which God sustained the Israelites with the daily ration of miraculous manna, the people again complained. (Numbers 11:4-6)
This time, instead of engaging with Israel, correcting their behavior and asking God to solve their problem, Moses seems overwhelmed by the challenge.
Moses said to God, ‘Why have you afflicted your servant? Why have I not found favor in your eyes, that you place the burden of this entire people upon me?’ ‘...From where should I get meat to give to this entire people…’ ‘I am not able to carry this entire people alone, because it is too heavy for me. If this is how you deal with me, then kill me now…let me not see my failure.’ (Numbers 11:11-15)
God assures Moses that the next day He would supply more meat than the people could eat. Instead of joyously conveying this to his people, Moses doubtfully asks how God could supply enough meat for so many. (Numbers 11:21-22)
Ancient Jewish wisdom explains that Moses suffered a temporary crisis of confidence. In a lapse from his customary assertive leadership, he felt weak and hopeless. Unsure of himself, he even momentarily doubted God’s power to help him! Yet we know that he recovered because he successfully led Israel for another 38 years.
How did Moses rise above his negative mood? By acting in exactly the opposite way to how he felt. The main characteristic of pessimism is feeling small and inadequate to the challenges facing us. When we are insecure, we tend towards pettiness.
Yet, only a few verses further in Numbers 26-29, we meet two interlopers named Eldad and Medad who threaten Moses’ position. Even Joshua pleaded with Moses to destroy them. Yet Moses rose above the annoyance of these two men and reacted with bigness. Rather than resenting them, he judged them favorably. His magnanimity banished the depressed feeling and he returned to his usual strength.
In the same way, each of us can help ourselves when what Winston Churchill called his “Black Dog” strikes us. The remedy is to act in a way that enlarges us. Rather than acting small because we feel small, we can behave in a way that indicates greatness. Our feelings will rise to match our actions.
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While everyone has emotional setbacks, the severity is lessened when we are confident in who we are. If we aren’t true to ourselves, we cannot lead others or ourselves with conviction. We are at a disadvantage among those who see Jews and Christians as ‘the enemy’, if we don’t fundamentally claim our heritage. The timeless truths I disclose in my 2 audio CD set, Clash of Destiny: Decoding the Secrets of Israel and Islam are both chilling and a source for optimism. They are spiritual weapons you need if you wish to feel optimism and confidence rather than depression and hopelessness when faced with implacable foes. Available at a reduced price this week, listen to this resource and join in leading our society towards a peaceful and productive future.
© 2012 Rabbi Daniel Lapin - All Rights Reserved
Rabbi Daniel Lapin, known world-wide as America's Rabbi, is a noted rabbinic scholar, best-selling author and host of the Rabbi Daniel Lapin Show on San Francisco’s KSFO. He is one of America’s most eloquent speakers and his ability to extract life principles from the Bible and transmit them in an entertaining manner has brought countless numbers of Jews and Christians closer to their respective faiths. In 2007 Newsweek magazine included him in its list of America’s fifty most influential rabbis.
You can contact Rabbi Daniel Lapin through his website.
Web Site: www.rabbidaniellapin.com