Skip to content


January 29, 2016

I am currently reading a very “cute” book The Penguin Lessons by Tom Mitchell. In the book I noticed the following quote – “If there are always cows in the field, hens in the barn and dinner on the table, where is the challenge and excitement?”

This week’s Parsha (Torah Portion) Yitro in a Nutshell from
– Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, hears of the great miracles which G‑d performed for the people of Israel, and comes from Midian to the Israelite camp, bringing with him Moses’ wife and two sons. Jethro advises Moses to appoint a hierarchy of magistrates and judges to assist him in the task of governing and administering justice to the people.

The children of Israel camp opposite Mount Sinai, where they are told that G‑d has chosen them to be His “kingdom of priests” and “holy nation.” The people respond by proclaiming, “All that G‑d has spoken, we shall do.”

On the sixth day of the third month (Sivan), seven weeks after the Exodus, the entire nation of Israel assembles at the foot of Mount Sinai. G‑d descends on the mountain amidst thunder, lightning, billows of smoke and the blast of the shofar, and summons Moses to ascend.

G‑d proclaims the Ten Commandments, commanding the people of Israel to believe in G‑d, not to worship idols or take G‑d’s name in vain, to keep the Shabbat, honour their parents, not to murder, not to commit adultery, not to steal, and not to bear false witness or covet another’s property. The people cry out to Moses that the revelation is too intense for them to bear, begging him to receive the Torah from G‑d and convey it to them.

Sitting in Shule in Hong Kong on Shabbos there were birds flying around the Shule. I was thinking what would people do who if they had a fear of birds? (I have friends who have walked around Trafalgar square rather than crossing it!) At the end of the service my niece Ativa made her Batmi speech. She made an incredible Dvar Torah/ speech with such confidence. There is no way I could have made such a speech at that age. She did not look one bit nervous or fazed by the occasion.

Chinese_word_for_crisis.svgAt the Batmi Friday night dinner Rabbi Avtzon at the CHABAD in Hong Kong explained that in Chinese there is no word/ Chinese Character for crisis or danger and the Chinese word wēijī is made up of two characters the one meaning challenge, and the other opportunity. So basically this fear/ danger etc. is really a challenge and an opportunity.
We all have fears or get nervous in certain situations. It’s our approach that governs how we deal with them.

In these weeks Parsha at the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the blare of the shofar and the mountain smoking, and they fell back in “fear” (some say they stepped back a thousand yards!). – They uttered the following words –“You speak to us, Moses, and we shall hear. Let G-d not speak to us lest we die.” What can we learn from this fear that they felt?

Moses consoles them and tells them to have no fear. G-d only wishes to lift you up and give you a reminder of “his” presence.

With the New Year I am on the search for both new work opportunities and sporting challenges. After a tough year at work and my cycling injury I am nervous for both, but have to face the challenges, take the opportunities and try to set goals.

What is the job market going to be like? How long will process take? I hate not having anything to do!

What sporting challenges should I pursue? A 70.3 Ironman, I missed doing one last year, a stand-alone marathon (not after an Ironman) or should I attempt an ultra-marathon on the Great Ocean Road?

Yes – I am once again going to quote the late Stuart Scott from his book “Every day I Fight”. Stuart Scott said that he likes to be nervous “nerves are good” He goes on to say – “I’d identify them as energy, focus on that dropping sensation in my gut, and tell myself to take the energy and use it……Take the nerves, manipulate them into energy, and make them work for you.”

We all need to take this fear and nervous energy and use it to face the challenges and opportunities.

With the new school year starting, my daughter Michaela said to Loren and I this morning at breakfast that she was nervous for school. Loren said that she must not get stressed and she replied “I am actually excited”. I think this sums it up.

To end I have just started watching a documentary on the late great musician and civil rights activist Nina Simone called “What Happened, Miss Simone”. At the start she is asked what freedom is and she responds – “What’s free to me? It’s just a feeling. It’s just a feeling. It’s like how do you tell somebody how it feels to be in love? How are you going to tell anybody who has not been in love how it feels to be in love? You cannot do it to save your life. You can describe things, but you can’t tell them. But you know it when it happens. That’s what I mean by free. I’ve had a couple times on stage when I really felt free and that’s something else. That’s really something else! I’ll tell you what freedom is to me: NO FEAR! I mean really, no fear. If I could have that half of my life. No fear! Lots of children have no fear. That’s the only way I can describe it. That’s not all of it, but it something to really, really feel. Like a new way of seeing. Like a new way of seeing something.”


From → Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: