Weekly Torah Commentary – Beha’alotcha May 23, 2013

Once again our beloved ancestors fall into complaining and murmuring in this week’s Torah reading.
This time they have been stirred up by what the Torah describes as the ‘rabble’. They are tired of the manna, they’re nostalgic about the garlic, the leeks, and the fish which they ate in Egypt, seemingly oblivious to all the suffering that went along with it!

So they complain.

Let’s just hit that straight on. Complaining isn’t pretty; and you and I don’t look so good when we do it! There – I said it.

We complain about the weather, about other people, about personalities, about politics, even about religion. Did you notice that while you’re finding fault with all those “other” people, you’re being incredibly intolerant yourself??? Not pretty!

Read down a few verses. The anger of Hashem flared at the people. This was definitely not cool!

The truth is that we all do it and we discussed this issue at length this morning in our local Torah class. Class members had some great input.

First of all, one woman said, the most important thing is to cultivate a grateful attitude, thanking Hashem for all of our blessings and being mindful of them, instead of floating through life blind to Hashem’s goodness and provision towards us.

Gratitude puts a serious clamp on the habit of complaining. There is more than enough negativism in this world. We don’t need to add to it with your complaining!!

A second comment stated that complaining is an expression of self-centeredness. Under the surface of the complainer’s life is a false belief that everything around her or him should be going as he/she sees fit. If that false conception is allowed to continue, a very spoiled child who will become a very spoiled adult will result.

Complaining is negative and engenders discouragement and ill temper. Who needs that around the house?

While pondering the topic, I did a Google search for articles on complaining and stumbled across this very lovely website: http://www.acomplaintfreeworld.org

I highly recommend you take a look. More than 10 million people have beat you to it already.

Their mission statement is worth pondering: We envision a positive shift in our world’s consciousness. We see a day when people focus on and speak about what they desire things to be rather than complaining about how things are.

Can you imagine how your corner of the world would change if everyone around you was “complaint free”, including you???

The children of Israel complained because their diet was limited to Manna. Never mind that they were healthy, their clothes didn’t wear out and they were living testimonies to Hashem’s miracles! They wanted meat to eat. And when Hashem sent meat – lots and lots of it – they ate til they were sick of it and in the end many lost their lives over it.

All because a handful of people started complaining and it spread like a cancer throughout the camp.

I’d like to echo the challenge put forth by “A Complaint Free World” – Could you go 21 days without complaining about anything?

In Tune with Torah this week = Who will take up this challenge with me?????? Let’s give it a go!
21 days with NO complaining about ANYTHING! Check out the website – It’s inspiring.

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