Printed from

Rabbi Mendy Herson's Blog

Thoughts from, and conversations with, Rabbi Herson

Viva la Revolucion!

Are you a revolutionary?

I’m not imagining our readership as scraggly-bearded, under-fed insurgents with AK-47’s strapped to their backs, so let’s forget the Castro/Chavez definition.

I’m talking about you.

If revolution is the act of repudiating the status quo, we need to ask ourselves: Do we have the courage to be revolutionaries? Meaning: Are we ready to rise up against ourselves, our habits and our respective norms?

It shouldn’t be an easy answer, because revolution takes courage and inner strength.

But it’s vital.

I’m not advocating a willy-nilly overthrow of the ‘establishment’, because rules and parameters are very important. We raise children to respect manners, decency and protocol. And, in matters of faith, rules have a Divine importance.

But that doesn’t mean the spirit of rebellion is itself a problem.

If a discipline is moral that’s great; we should respect it and abide by it.

But rebellion WITHIN the discipline is still vital.

Just following the beaten path isn’t good enough; you need to outrun yourself.

Let’s face it: Even when we’re in a proper functional rhythm, our souls can be asleep. You can go through the motions of being a loyal spouse or parent, while your brain is still in the office – or at the stadium. We can perform good deeds without any fire in the belly nor with any pro-active consciousness.

If we’re living a life of complacency and self-satisfaction, a life without the passion to rise up against ourselves, have we not become ‘spiritual bourgeoisie’?

That calls for revolution.

And we want a Divine uprising too.

G-d’s [meta]physical system has been our established order since time began. But it’s time for a radical change. It’s time for G-d to buck His own system, and bring out the meaning and beauty - the Harmonious Oneness - that’s inherent in our world.

We call that a world of Moshiach – a Messianic era. A world actualized.

And it’s G-d’s promise to humanity: When we rise up against our limitations, G-d will rise up against His.

So look at your life and rise above your limitations.

And let the revolution spread.


The word has a musty feel to it. And, at least in our society, I think it’s a word that strikes unease – if not fear - into many a heart.
After all: Who wants to grow old?
But maybe we need to re-think our attitudes.
I hope we’re all glad to look ahead at (G-d willing) future decades filled with exciting potential.
But they are just that: Potential.
The future is just an amorphous, yet-to-be-actualized possibility.
Conversely, the years behind us are ‘in the bank’. The good that we’ve done is ours to keep; no one can take it from us (yes, things can - G-d forbid – go awry, to the extent that we can no longer appreciate the previous good; but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen).
In addition, our experiences bring insight that no textbooks or teachers could ever afford us.
So right now, sitting in front of my computer, I probably have another 11-12 waking hours left to the day.
So let me think: What should make me happier in the context of my life?
The present fact that I have those hours ahead of me?
Or [the possbibility of] tonight’s bedtime recognition that I spent them well, in alignment with my life-goals and reason for being?
It’s good to be younger. It’s also good to have time-well-spent in the bag.
Getting older is part of life. The disempowerment of aging is not.
In this week’s Torah portion, Abraham is described as having “grown old”, and as “coming along in/with his days”. Abraham didn’t just pass time with his life, and his youth was not a thing of the past. Abraham brought his days with him. Every day was a day of achievement, learning and growth.
So when Abraham was wizened and of weakened body, he possessed the spiritual strength of a life well-lived. He wasn’t only looking hopefully ahead to quiescent potential; he was looking gratefully back on actual meaningful days.
It shouldn’t be unease; it should be quiet gratitude for the past and hope in the future.
Age with grace.

The Journey of a Lifetime

Your soul was waiting, hankering, chomping at the bit, for this moment.

It wasn’t about the length of the wait (is there a calendar in Eternity?); it was about the depth of the anticipation.

Finally, FINALLY, you got the go-ahead for the ultimate challenge, the ‘Iron Man Competition’ of the ages:

You would be embarking on the journey of Human Existence.

Why did you want it so much?

Why would you long for the pain, the suffering, and the inevitable tears?

Because there’s so much to be gained.

Sure, you knew you’d be afflicted with a wide assortment of struggles, internal and external. But you also knew full well that every time you rose to the occasion, every time you transcended a self-indulgent bad mood, every time you consciously guided your life in a meaningful direction, every time you crossed the boundary from self-centeredness to responsibility-centeredness, every time you saw an otherwise mundane moment as a beautiful opportunity waiting to be capitalized – you would be creating Cosmic Harmony.

Your deepest desire was to melt deeper into the Infinite Oneness of the Great Divine, and – FINALLY - this was your ticket.

Yes. You knew that the payoff for your personal victories was the creation of greater Oneness between G-d and the world, and immeasurably greater Divine intimacy within your own soul.

That’s why wanted it so badly.

That’s you waited so longingly.

And, now, your moment had finally arrived.

You were to be born.

So now you’re here, facing a life of blessing and bother, of purity and pain, of success and struggle.

All in all: A life of opportunities.

What are you waiting for?

Looking for older posts? See the sidebar for the Archive.