Our B'nai Mitzvah Students: Noah Rockoff on Trust
There are four traits that I believe are key to being a Jewish adult: prayer, analysis, leadership and teaching. These are the four tasks that every Bar and Bat Mitzvah demonstrate during their ceremony. They engage the congregation in prayer. They analyze the Torah and read it closely. They lead the service. Then lastly, they teach.
I would like to share some of the teachings that these young men and women have come up with periodically in the weekly shabbat message. This week our teaching comes from Noah Rockoff where he discusses the importance of trust:
“God singled out Moses to lead the Israelites because he trusted him. God trusted that Moses had it within him to lead the people, and to do great things. Moses, to be the leader God knew he could be, had to return the trust. This trust relationship between God and Moses is extremely important because without it, God’s plan cannot be fulfilled.
There are two types of trust, conditional, and unconditional. Conditional trust is trusting someone under certain circumstances. But in this portion, God exhibits the second type of trust, unconditional. Even when the Israelites built a golden calf to worship and Moses smashed the first set of commandments, God came back to Moses and the people and trusted them AGAIN, despite the fact that most of us here would probably not do that. God has Moses write the Ten Commandments for the second time. This begs the question, is unconditional trust the proper strategy in this situation? If the Israelites keep doing things wrong, but God keeps coming back, is unconditional trust the best course of action? God keeps coming back because God has tremendous faith that the Israelites will hear and believe his message, and carry it forth for generations. Unconditional trust can place someone in a position to learn what is expected to earn that trust.
Trust builds relationships, but let's dig deeper. If someone trusts you, what does that say about you, and how does it make you feel? When someone puts their trust in me, I feel worthy. That allows me to feel good about myself, and builds my confidence to help me succeed. With trust I can confide in someone to tell them my deepest secrets. God actually does the opposite of this by trusting Moses to convey God’s message to all the Israelites. To put it in baseball terms, when I am pitching, I trust that my teammates behind me will support my efforts and help us succeed. This is exactly what God is trying to do when he confides in Moses to help the Israelites succeed by using God’s message.
Trust can travel many avenues and pathways. People have been known to use trust as a weapon, to fight against the evils of despair, anger, and disappointment. Trust has the power to banish these evils. Trust provides everything that these emotions do not. Trust allows for confidence, happiness, and joy. The trust relationships in my portion gave the Israelites the tools to fight the battles of evil, throughout history, and help make the Jewish people who and what they are today. My trust relationships give me the confidence and strength to succeed, and the tools to fight these battles. Sometimes, it is hard to know whom I can trust to confide in. I have learned that confidence comes not from trusting less, but believing more”.