“Stand your ground.”

It is an expression of war. Perhaps the war is taking place on the battlefields of Afghanistan, one soldier calling out to another “stand your ground” as they try to fend off the enemy. Maybe the war is on a football field, it’s fourth and goal, the linebackers calling out “stand your ground,” as they attempt to keep the other team from advancing the ball. Maybe it’s an emotional war amidst life, after a divorce, after a failure, after a loss – “stand your ground” – face the battle no matter what it takes.

This past week we read about Adam and Eve. Their sin wasn’t that they ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Rather, their sin was that after they were caught, when God came calling, instead of answering the call, instead of standing their ground, they run, they hide, they blame. Essentially Adam and Eve’s failure is that after facing the battle, even losing the battle, the real failure is that they flee the scene, they run, they hide, they retreat.

The Midrash (ancient mythical teachings) comments that human beings are the only creatures to walk fully upright: “God stood Adam on his legs.” Why? Because human beings were placed here to learn to be courageous, learn to be strong, learn to be “upright,”unlike the snake, who cowardly slithers away. To stand upright may be natural, but to live “upright,” that is something that takes work.

God didn’t create us to be automatons or blindly observant believers.

God doesn’t expect us to be perfect or flawless.

God does, however, expect us to:

· stand our ground amidst life’s battles

· stand our ground and take responsibility after our failures

· and pick ourselves, after we fail to stand our ground, again and again and again.

We’re judged not only for our failures but how we respond after we fall. Are we a snake slithering away after defeat? Or are we men? Are we women? Are we ready, willing and able to stand up, return to the battle even after, especially after, we fail and we fall? Are we ready to stand upright and stand our ground?

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi B



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