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Dance Steps

“Rabbi, I am so depressed that I am going to commit suicide! What are you doing?” “I’m calling 911.” “Why?” “You said that you were suicidal.” “But you’re supposed to talk me out of it! You aren’t supposed to call 911.” “I can’t take the risk with your life.” “I don’t really mean it. None of the other rabbis I spoke with called 911. I am just threatening.” “How am I supposed to know?” “Well, you’re not responding the way I expected.” The ambulance came to take him to the hospital and he had no choice but to go. I visited him in the hospital a week later and he was a different person. He understood that he had a script in his head, in which he would threaten suicide, and the other person would be so scared that they would give into whatever he wanted. He imagined a series of mapped out dance steps and had managed to manipulate people into dancing according to prearranged dance steps. I refused to dance to his scripted steps. Thank God. His suicide threats were a script, based on reality, but there was a part of him that was suicidal. I watch such scripted dances all the time. I see teenagers fight with their parents according to the same script, time after time, until the script says that one party or the other should give in, and everything is settled until the next dance. I see husbands and wives repeatedly argue to the same planned steps. They push each other away, until one or the other, depending on the dance, blows up or cries and then the preprogrammed steps instruct the other to apologize and give in. I watch people dancing all the time and I always try to erase just one of the dance steps marked on the script in order to get them to stop dancing and live with clarity. The Days of Awe make me think about such dances. We become more introspective as we approach Rosh Hashana, the Day of Judgment. We consider our mistakes. We make a serious effort to repair relationships. On Yom Kippur we make promises to improve and grow. We then go on with our lives. It is almost as if we have the steps marked out on the dance floor and simply follow the instructions. It is not coincidental that the Days of Awe conclude with the totally unscripted dancing of Simchat Torah: Our goal is to learn new dances. We want to use Torah to constantly learn new dance steps and experience lives filled with fresh movement and growth. The only way to properly prepare is to make sure that we don’t dance on pre-arranged steps through Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. This is the time we must catch the dances we practice without any thought because they have become so habitual. We can use the next argument as an opportunity to stop and erase just one step from the script and see where it takes us. We can use each Shmone Esrei between now and Rosh Hashana to learn some new dance steps, so that we are ready for the eternal dance of Simchat Torah. Author Info: 

 Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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