The Torah teaches us what to value, sometimes by faithfulness and sometimes by forsakenness.
Despite many trials and difficulties, Ruth remains faithful to Naomi and through that faith, reconstructs their lives and paves the way for the coming of the Messiah.
Samson should treasure his people and God, yet forsakes both for ego that struts for an hour on the stage before he is reminded of his destiny.
Moses remains faithful and fulfills his mission.
Saul is betrayed by his own insecurity and uncertainty, forsakes his calling and fails as King of Israel.
The Torah’s message is clear: Do not let the distractions of the moment derail you from the deep certainties that should guide a life. Bitachon, trust in God and in the love that brings, will be the lodestar of the divided heart.
Or in the words of the great poet Dante, from Canto XV of “Paradiso”:
“Endless the grief of one
who, for love of things that do not last,
casts off a love that never dies.”
Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. Follow his teachings at www.facebook.com/RabbiWolpe.