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Nitzavim: Why Are We Afraid Of Uncertainty

As human beings, we all have a deeply embedded desire for certainty and control. Without these we would feel profoundly disorientated.

For many millennia mankind has strived to achieve dominion over the forces of nature. We believe that by finding ways to diminish uncertainty in the future, we will feel more secure about our lives in the present.

The mystics were diametrically opposed to this way of thinking. It is told about the Baal Shem Tov that he did not have any savings. In fact, at the end of each day he would encourage his household to dispense of all money remaining to the poor people of his village.

Yet in spite of this, or perhaps because of this, he was renowned for being fearless. He was not afraid, neither of man, nor of the future.

He believed that we can all conquer the future by controlling the present. In the same way that we can change the world around us by being a master of our impulses.

We fail in life because we conveniently distract ourselves from the root of the problem. We tend to go for the quick fix rather then the long haul.

People who are insecure try to control others. Those who are afraid seek to intimidate the weak. Those who have no faith look for alternative ways to secure their future.

We can change our lives by living in the present and beginning to exercise self control. Each and every human being has the power over their thoughts, speech and actions at all moments in their lives.

The more secure we become by gaining control of our lives, the less intimidated we are when interacting with others.

We strengthen our faith by making the right choices in the present, thereby being in a stronger position to face the future.

History is a partnership between man and G-d. It is best played by not overstepping the boundaries.

In the words of the prophets “The horse is readied for the day of battle, But victory comes from G-d”. (Proverbs 21:31)


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