To Grab or Grip
“In man the most precise function that the hand is capable of is to place the tip of the thumb in opposition to the tip of the index finger, so they make maximum contact. In this position small objects can be manipulated with an unlimited potential for fine pressure adjustments or minute directional corrections. This is the hallmark of mankind. No non-human species can do it.” (John Napier – The Roots of Mankind)
This extra inch of the human thumb transforms the grasping power of the primate hand into the cast repertoire of the gripping precision of the human hand.
This week’s portion, Beha’alotecha, has a number of powerful lessons about the difference between grasping and gripping:
Moses and the Children of Israel are ready to cross into the Land of Canaan. They are just days away. Moses invites his father-in-law, Yitro, to join them, but he refused. He grabbed onto God and the Covenant with Israel, but he did not grip. He let go. He lacked the dexterity to make their future his own.
The Children of Israel were changing. All was ready and prepared for them to enter the Land. But, they were uncomfortable with their new lives. They began to complain about the Manna and lack of bread. They had grabbed onto God, but they did not grip. They, too, let go of their opportunity to achieve a new stage.
A powerful prayer experience offers the same choice. We can grab the chance and then run, or, we can grip carefully, by reifying the insights of the prayer and changing. The difference between the animal and the human is the ability ti grip, and make it truly our own.
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