June 23, 2024
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June 23, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Sometimes when we face a challenging situation we feel worried. Maybe something will go wrong or things won’t turn out the way we want. This week’s Torah portion teaches us that it’s better to have courage and trust in God at these times rather than to worry. “Be strong and brave,” the Torah tells us. “Don’t be afraid and broken by (your challenges), because God is with you and He won’t let you down” (Deut. 31:6). Not only will we enjoy life more when we live this way, but we will find the confidence to accomplish much more than we ever could by worrying.

In our story a girl learns to replace worry with confidence and trust.


Up-Beat Tempo

The normally plain-looking Saunder School lunchroom looked more like Symphony Hall. Kids holding all types of musical instruments—from slender piccolos to massive brass tubas—crowded around the long gray tables as they awaited their turn to try out for the all-school marching band.

Lisa Morris balanced her trombone on her lap as she reached into her red-and-white tote bag to pull out a can of soda and two plastic cups. “Want a drink? It’s on me,” she said cheerfully to her friend Marilyn who was sitting next to her.

But Marilyn didn’t respond. She seemed to be in another world as she stared out into space through nervous eyes.

“Hey, are you in there?” Lisa quipped as she jokingly elbowed her friend in the shoulder.

Marilyn looked up. “Um, yeah, I mean no thanks,” she said. “I’m too worried to drink.”

“Worried? About what?” asked Lisa, scrunching up her eyebrows.

“Well, aren’t you worried?” responded Marilyn. “This is our big chance to make the band, and I’m afraid I’m gonna blow it.”

Lisa pointed to her friend’s flute and said, “You had better ‘blow’ it or you definitely won’t make it.”

Marilyn laughed. “You know what I mean,” she said. “I’m afraid I’ll forget my song, or my flute will jam, or…”

“Everything will go great!” Lisa interrupted. “Listen Mar, you can sit and worry if you want, but when they call me, I intend to go in and try my best. That’s all I can do. The rest is in God’s hands. I think I play pretty well, but it’s not up to me. Either way life will go on, so why worry?”

Marilyn nodded.

“One thing is for sure, though,” Lisa said. “Being nervous won’t help you play any better, and it’s likely to make things worse…”

“LISA MORRIS, NEXT PLEASE,” crackled the voice over the intercom.

“Well, here I go. Wish me luck!” said Lisa as she ceremoniously marched toward the try-out room.

Marilyn smiled at her friend’s antics. The girl took a deep breath and tried to relax as she waited for her turn.

A few moments later Marilyn heard her name being called. Instinctively she felt herself tense up as she walked toward the try-out room. But then she recalled her friend’s words and attitude.

As she did, Marilyn felt her own worries begin to melt away. By the time she got to the door she felt almost calm and ready to give it her best shot.

Nesanel Yoel Safran is a writer, chef and a teacher/student of Jewish spirituality. He blends these assorted vocations on his blog, Soul Foodie, where you can join him on mystical cooking adventures and glean practical wisdom for the kitchen—and for living. https://soulfoodiecom.wordpress.com/

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