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Break That Habit!

Break That Habit!

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“You can’t teach an old horse new tricks.” So the saying goes, but it’s one we can hardly afford to live by. Sure, we have parented a certain way for years and developed ingrained patterns of communicating with our spouse, and we have unique ways of interacting at work. However, deep down, we know that these behaviors might not be working for us, and that there is a better way. But where can we get the energy to create change?

There’s an awesome once-a-year opportunity.

On the holiday of Shavuot, we commemorate G‑d’s descent to Mount Sinai to give the Ten Commandments. “I am the L‑rd your G‑d,” He began. “The same G‑d who took you out of Egypt.”

But if G‑d was out to demonstrate His might, why bring up Egypt? Shouldn’t He have made his point by saying, “I am the Almighty G‑d who created this world and everything in it?”

The thing is, creating the world was “easy” for G‑d. He uttered a few words, and the world came into being. However, in order to orchestrate the miracle of taking the Jews out of Egypt, G‑d changed the laws of nature that He put into place, which required deeper and greater spiritual energy, even from G‑d himself. By proclaiming that He is the G‑d that took us out of Egypt, He demonstrated more power than what is required to simply run the world according to the laws of nature. At the same time, the proclamation gave us the strength to change our own “laws of nature.”

It’s difficult to change our habits, routines and communication styles. But every year when we celebrate the holiday of Shavuot, we are granted an extra spiritual boost from G‑d to help us change our old behaviors, to teach our old horse new tricks.

Thoughtstream: Today, I’m willing make a change for the better, and I acknowledge how much effort that takes.

(Adapted from Igeret Hakodesh, vol. II, pg. 39, cited in Shulchan Shabbat: Bamidbar, pg. 61.)

Sara Blau is a teacher and extracurricular director at Beth Rivkah High School. She is a wife, mother, and author of several children“s books.
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