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"The Courage to Keep Moving."

“The Courage to Keep Moving.”

The Talmud tells us that the entirety of Rabbi Akiva’s students – all 24,000 –

died during the period between Pesach and Shavuot, the period of the Omer.

This Sunday will be the 33rd day of the Omer, known as Lag B’Omer.

It was the day his beloved students stopped dying.

This is one of the reasons why this day has become one of

celebration and joy.

The world was spiritually desolate after such a large decimation of the Torah world.

Subsequently, Rabbi Akiva travelled down to the South and

found five more students to whom he

started teaching Torah.

These five formed the foundation of the rebuilding of the Oral Torah.

Perhaps one thing we can recognize on Lag B’Omer

is the remarkable tenacity of Rabbi Akiva who

refused to give up, refused to give in to tragedy,

and continued his work of transmitting the Torah to the next generation.

His resiliency and his faithfulness to his mission is what we celebrate.

John C. Maxwell teaches that,

“The difference between average people and great people

is in their attitude toward and response to failure.”

Rabbi Akiva didn’t give up or sink into despondency-

he found a small group of students with whom to start over again.

He succeeded in rebuilding the Torah world.

In the book of Proverbs it says,

“Seven times a tzaddik (righteous person) falls.

What makes the person a tzaddik is the ability to rise from failure.”

We often fall and fail again,

however, our greatness lies in our ability to pick ourselves up

and keep going, keep having faith in and

hope for a better future.

May we take this lesson to heart and

know that however much we may feel that we have failed,

the measure of our greatness and our courage

is our ability to pick ourselves up,

put one step in front of the other and

somehow keep moving forward.

Rabbi Akiva went from the depths of despair and the darkness of death

to the light of hope, of resilience, with the belief in the intrinsic good in life and

the hope for a better and brighter future.

So may we.

Much love

Shabbat shalom


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