Monday, April 03, 2006
The Shrug and the Silence
Recently I read an article discussing the origin and usage of the phrase "It is what it is." A fascinating piece on modern vernacular, it really stuck with me. And whenever anyone uttered those words (or their close relatives, she is what she is, I am what I am, what will be will be) near me, I perked up and took notice. I noticed the strange and often sad acceptance of those words. "It is what it is" is usually sighed in a shrugging, I-guess-there's-nothing-we-can-do-about-it-so-we'll-live-with-it kind of way.
This kind of attitude is superficially admirable -a "good" attitude, accepting what cannot be changed, not pursuing futile endeavors of improvement. But as a Jew, we should never be shruggingly accepting. We really should be in a constant state of hishtadlus-growth, effort, change. Nothing is futile. The scenario itself may not alter or disappear with a few prakim of tehillim or with a prayer, but we will. So it is never what it is. It could be so much more.
In next week's parsha, Aharon hears from Moshe that his sons were killed by the strange fire they brought in the mishkan. What was his response? Silence. Not shrugging meek, resignation, but rather silence, stillness, understanding and intelligent acceptance. (Very often silence would be the most intelligent response to any scenario.)
So do not just accept the ups and downs in your life. Take them, use them, try to change them, grow from them. Apathy is one of the worst emotions -worse than hatred, anger, sadness, frustration...Apathy and despair are two halves of the same coin. So learn from this week's parsha, tzav, and maintain the aish tamid in your heart. Keep the fire burning, keep on trying, keep on working to make a difference. One tiny spark can start a conflagration.
"It is what it is." Or is it?
Posted by Lee at 4/03/2006 01:36:00 PM