middot decisiveness besorah decide not to forget

decide not to forget

Written by  rabbi benjamin ehrenfeld

art-forgettingDecisiveness means taking to heart what needs to be done enough to take the steps to accomplish it. It is not enough just to know what needs to be done; one must not tarry in the knowledge so long that action becomes superfluous or forgotten. This is Yaakov’s exhortation to us: 

“Become the doer of the word, not a mere listener who lets himself be fooled…he who looks into the perfect law, inside the Torah of freedom, and holds on, he’s not the hearer who has forgotten but a doer of work, and in his doing he will then be blessed.” (Yaakov 1:22, 25, Restored New Testament, Barnstone)

For Yaakov the sign that one has held on to the Torah is acting in accordance with its precepts. Decisiveness goes beyond the need to simply make decisions quickly, as if it were only about catering to impatience. Decisiveness is a response to the immediacy and value of the task at hand. When the task presents itself is the moment to respond, either through immediate doing or scheduling the time to do it. Why? Because we will forget. If I do not treat others kindly, I will forget that God demands it. If I do not take the time to pray daily, I will slowly forget God is there. There is no need to wait to be the disciples we once decided to be. May we not forget who we are.

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