Rabbi David Paskin
It's the Little Things
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From Rabbi David
After the awe and trembling of last week's portion at Mount Sinai it can seem like a let down when we open to Mishpatim - this week's Torah portion. It's filled with minutiae about how to follow God's commandments. In stark contrast to the thunder and lightning of last week's Torah reading - this week's obsession with law after law, none of which seem all that important, is perplexing.
It is also an important lesson that sometimes, the most important things are also the littlest things - the things that come without a flash or a bang but deserve your attention nonetheless. You may have heard the midrash (rabbinic story) about Mount Sinai being chosen as the site for the giving of the Torah because it was the smallest of the mountains. Being small doesn't mean you are any less important or valuable.
The problem is that we are hard-wired that "bigger is better." As a big fan of Marvel movies I often find myself bored with movies that don't have the big-budget special effects of Iron Man or Spider Man. And yet, when I reflect on what I enjoy most about a movie - it is often not the effects but the little details we see in each character or the attention to detail in costumes, scripting or casting.
Perhaps by design, little kids are great at appreciating the little things: A leaf, a bug, the rain. We would do well to follow their lead in understanding that our world isn't made up of Revelations at Mount Sinai - but in the little things that reveal themselves to us every day.