Editors note: with MLK day coming soon and the recent “freedom to twerk” controversy, we’re reposting this MLK-inspired dvar on Parshah Yitro from 2011.
OK we’ve been there…Moses carried Joseph’s bones… while the rest of the folks in Israel were collecting weapons, gold and silver. Moses didn’t care. He carried the bones in his arms. Then, God goes and sends them the long route.
Fast forward to Martin Luther King. He carried the bones of his ancestry, while others carried cars and homes, jewelry and focused on oppression of others. MLK could have ignored it all and done his thing in his hometown.
He could have not had as much stress in his life, but he chose a different route. A much harder road to travel. He put himself at risk and was armed more with his beliefs rather than weapons or grandiose items.
Now, fast forward to you right now. What do you carry with you in your heart and spirit? What helps you understand what to keep with you and what to throw out? The Ten Commandments.
Sometimes we are forced to take the long route, and it doesn’t mean it is wrong or bad for us, sometimes we need to circle the goal to see what the purpose really is. We are a lot like Moses and Martin Luther King; both men didn’t want to carry the “baggage” per se, but did so because it was a part of them, and a part of something they valued.
If you look at the ten commandments, where Moses is trying to get people to listen, he is setting up ethical laws… and so was Martin Luther King. If you really look at the bigger picture, the commandments, when followed by differing groups of people, serve as an alliance of sort. They are laws but laws that bring people together rather than tear them apart. In what ways do the ethics of the Ten Commandments bring you together with others or, tear you from others? Have you had peers or friendships that have been weighted by the knowledge that something in a commandment was being attacked, even if at the time you didn’t think of the commandments but instead, the behaviors? Being stolen from, lied to or someone being disrespectful to your parents or to you as a parent could be just some of the reasons you felt a friendship was being tested.
In whole, the ten commandments are often intertwined with our spirits even when we don’t see them; bringing back last week with the bones carried, and MLK with his ancestry and desires; we see that there are things we carry with us that are a part of us. The Ten Commandments are most certainly with us; just recognizing them instead of being oblivious to them, is the key.
This week’s d’var is written by Michele Paiva, wellness expert, publisher and syndicated radio host.