50 First Dates
Have you ever had the experience of asking yourself, “What was I thinking?!”
We can all be forgetful at times. I forget where I put my glasses – all the time. It’s become a family joke. Have you ever forgotten to pick up a loved one from the airport or school? My college educated son who manages to get straight A’s in his courses somehow forgets to take out the trash more often than not. We have to constantly remind him.
What do the people in your world constantly remind you to do?
The title, “50 First Dates” refers to a story about a man who is attracted to a woman with whom he wants to start a serious relationship. The problem is that she suffers from short term memory loss and can’t remember each individual day. He won’t let that detail stop him so he prepares to make her fall in love with him all over again, each and every day.
According to the ‘constructive feedback’ (i.e. complaints) I’ve received over the years, it seems that I tend to engage in the habit of flawlessly remembering other people’s crimes and misdemeanors against me, while mysteriously falling into a state of utter amnesia when it comes time to recall my own. Imagine that. Therefore, I have been lovingly referred to as ‘Ms. 50 First Dates.”
We all suffer from temporary amnesia at times. But, there’s an amnesia that we suffer from most of the time - spiritual amnesia.
It seems to be the human condition.
Coincidentally (or not), the first letters of the titles of the first 6 chapters in the Book of Exodus (Shemot in Hebrew), spells the word Shovavim. The term Shovavim is plural for Shovav.
In case you are wondering, a Shovav is a derogatory term that refers to a child or immature person who is mischievous, naughty, or just plain defiant. An example of a shovav would be the child who looks you squarely in the eye and does exactly what you are screaming ‘vigorously stressing’ not to do while they are in the act of doing it. Defiantly doing things like drawing on the living room wall with a permanent marker - and a big smile, sticking their hand in the cookie jar while staring at you squarely in your eyes while you warn, ‘NO!’ or running around the house with scissors, etc.
So, what is the connection between the Book of Shemot and acting like a shovav?
If you are not familiar with the simple storyline of the Book of Shemot, here it is in a nutshell: Moses, through the direction of God, performs many spectacular miracles (including the 10 plagues) in order to free the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt, leads them into the desert, culminating in the building of the Tabernacle there.
And, did they appreciate his efforts? No! Throughout the whole journey they just whined and complained to Moses, “You made things worse than before. We liked the food in Egypt. We were very comfortable there! We want to go back!” They witnessed the miracles, and then, a short time after, acted as if nothing happened. They lost all appreciation of what was being done for them. In fact, many of the people repeatedly complained and rebelled. Their spiritual amnesia set in time and time again.
It doesn’t make sense. Or does it?
This is not a history lesson. This story is about us – humanity – and it describes what we do when we act like shovavim to the Creator. As evidenced by our convenient memory loss regarding our constant blessings every second of our lives. Every moment the Creator is loving us, feeding us, giving us ample opportunity to carry out our souls’ missions. But, we forget. We whine and complain about something – all the time!
The following commentary from the Kabbalistic Bible explains:
The answer is this: When a person stops appreciating other people, it is the end of his spiritual path. The minute that Pharaoh forgot that Joseph had saved the kingdom—the road could only lead him to failure.
His ingratitude to Joseph gave rise to the misery that enveloped the Israelites and, in the end, the Egyptians, as well.
Remember, the Bible is never talking about other people or history. It is all a timeless metaphysical code, reminding us to wake up and remember!
When we forget someone who has done even something small for us, we also begin to forget what the Creator does for us every single day.
Every now and then we can feel grateful, but it is usually at the threat of or after the loss of something or someone we care for. We forget that when challenges happen, they are actually gifts. As painful and challenging as they may be, the gift of a crisis helps us wake up to remember that the world of the 5 senses is our spiritual Egypt.
Each of us made a soul contract to carry out our tikkun (soul correction), share, and practice forgiveness; to overcome fear and selfishness, and most of all, to love fearlessly.
It takes only a second for us to forget that everything comes from the Creator. When this happens, it’s the beginning of the end for our spiritual development. So, what can we do about it?
As a daily reminder, I want to share with you what I do to remember:
- Practice appreciation – for everyone and everything, especially the people and things I take for granted.
- Look for opportunities to share. They are in front of us all the time. Uncomfortable sharing takes me out of my personal Egypt.
- Use the 72 Names of God. (Shemot, in fact means “Names,” referring to the 72 Names of God.) I use the 72 Names of God app on my phone, which helps me to stay focused when I meditate. It’s awesome! I never leave home without it.
Now, what was I saying?