ON THE TRAIN TO DAVOS

January 26, 2018

 

I write to you as I’m on a train ride to Davos, Switzerland to attend a Friday night dinner at the World Economic Forum. In attendance will be Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Jared and Ivannka Kushner and World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder as well as hundreds of other business and political leaders from around the world. 

 

The theme of this years forum “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World” is certainly very poignant. The world it seems is becoming more so. Or is it?

 

As always I find myself challenged to find inspiration and guidance on topical matters from the weekly Torah portion. Thank G-d this weekly narrative is dramatic and the inference is clear. 

 

Let me share with you...

 

In one of the most gripping biblical scenes we find the Jewish people as they are trapped between the Red Sea and an ensuing hostile Egyptian army. This enslaved nation who have just been liberated and are about to become a free people are on the verge of utter despair. 

 

Against this backdrop the cohesiveness of this new nation begins to fracture, eventually forming itself into four distinct factions, each pointing in a different direction. 

 

At this stage, Moses has no choice, so he turns to G-d. And it is in G-ds response to Moses that we find perhaps the most immortal words ever spoken to man. For contained in this message lies the secret in overcoming all adversity. 

 

G-d says “speak to the children of Israel that they go forward”.  In other words irrespective of the obstacles that you perceive lay in your path, take one step closer towards your destination. 

 

When we face adversity of any kind we typically become distracted from being able to focus exclusively on our goals that are greater then ourselves. Instead we become focused on ourselves. We start becoming preoccupied with protecting and rationalizing our individual positions. It becomes more about the people then the cause. The focus shifts towards the problem rather than on the solution. 

 

The message to us is resoundingly clear. 

 

Focus on self, and life becomes a constant struggle to justify ones position. Consequently one has no chance in getting the job done. 

 

If however we heed the call of G-d and maintain our focus on our life’s mission, notwithstanding the obstacles placed in our way, we will never become distracted from the path which will lead us to the promised land. 

 

Even the sea in front of us will miraculously split for those who are not afraid to focus on a cause greater then themselves.

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