Friday, March 28, 2008

One and Done

I have always liked to think of Judaism as a ladder, with a goal of always moving up. Each of the commandments is a step on the ladder meaning the ladder is very tall. But the point wasn't to be at the top of the ladder -- or in the middle or at the bottom -- just being on the ladder is what was important.

Its a good thing that Judaism is more like this than like the NCAA Tournament. The Ten Commandments would likely be the No. 1 - No. 4 Seeds. The rest of the commandments, like Kashrut, rituals of sacrifice and doing it on Shabbat, those would be the rest of the seeds. It would be pretty interesting and fun to see the current Mitzvah seedings.

Maybe this week, when Governor Spitzer was forced to resign after being busted paying for an "escort," Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery would bring home a high seed. The commandments would have to duke it out.

The only problem is that if it was tournament-style instead of ladder-style it's "one-and-done." Win and move on, but sin and go home.

In the Parsha this week, Shmini, Aaron's two sons are helping their dad with the rituals. They decide to light an extra fire and are immediately killed on the spot. There was no loser bracket for them, no NIT tournament.

Later, Moses tells Aaron its not good to drink while on the job. So for this week, I'd imagine that would rule the Mitzvah power rankings.

Don't drink on the job. Similar to "don't shit where you eat." Important rules to know. Sometimes difficult to follow. But in our world at least, Governor Spitzer, Britney Spears, you and I, we all get second chances. Even Jerry Springer was able to reconfigure his life.

So for my final thought for the day, don't be intimidated by all the commandments, laws, stipulations and rabbinical debates found in Judaism. The beauty of it is that you win and go on, or lose and try again. It is said the righteous man gets knocked down eight times. But the important thing is that he gets up.

Apply to more than one grad school. Make a plan B. Ask out another girl (or boy).

And as the sages said, "Keep on Truckin."

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