These awesome words of Torah are mostly from Rabbi Wagensberg.
The seemingly paradoxical nature of the mitzvah of Parah Adumah (red heifer) makes it particularly troublesome. The ashes of the parah adumah were used to purify people who became tameh by coming into contact with a dead body, yet the Cohanim, who prepared the purifying ashes became impure in the process!
What many people don't know, though, is that the Cohen became impure for only ONE day while, with the ashes of the parah adumah, he could made MILLIONs of tameh people to be pure FOREVER.
What a lesson.
Temporary impurity can lead to millions of people becoming pure and staying pure FOREVER.
We must realize that our power to fix things is exponentially greater than our ability to destroy them. One tiny spark of light can dispel vast amounts of darkness because the powers of positive energy in this world are far more potent than the powers of negative energy!
It's never easy to be the first one to do the right move. And sometimes (more often than not - due to our friend and foe, the yetzer hara) the right move even feels like the WRONG move. But when you finally do that right move - it can influence the WHOLE world. Thousands are you. That one moment or that relatively temporary discomfort for you can lead to so, so, so many people growing because of it.
For example, it's never easy to be the first one in a less religious group to become MORE religious or observant. Say, for a example, a bunch of girls who don't dress modestly, or even those who dress somewhat modestly and then suddenly, one decides that she wants to become MORE modest. She decides: you know what? I'm going to wear longer skirts. I'm going to wear looser shirts. I'm going to wear stockings. I'm going to wear darker stockings since clear, nude colored stockings aren't modest according to most opinions that require women to cover their calves. I'm going to wear a mitpachat even though most people wear wigs.
Do her friends, her family, envrionment, etc. ALLOW her to make this decision easily?? Does she feel good RIGHT after she makes the change? Most likely NOT! Yetzer hara will make her feel guilt. Impurity. Difficulty.
Or take a guy, who decides - I'm not going to clubs anymore. I'm not going to hang out with those guys anymore. I'm not going to sleep late anymore and miss minyan. I'm not going to go to movies anymore. (The list is endless!)
Will his friends ALLOW him to make this decision easily? Does he feel good RIGHT after he makes the change? Surprise surprise most likely NOT!!! Yetzer hara will do everything in his power to make him feel impure, guilty, and not worthy.
But every single person who is doing the right thing.... NO EXCEPTIONS... will find that if he or she perserves and continue doing that mitzvah then NOT ONLY will everyone around him or her ACCEPT him but they will ALSO emulate him! Just by that one choice to improve, then in a lifetime, you can influence thousands, even millions, without even realizing!
Never give in just because it's difficult. You will receive tremendous benefit. Spiritual AND physical both in this world and in the next world. It just USUALLY WON'T BE IMMEDIATE!
Amazing, right?! The Cohen becomes "impure" by doing the right thing but helps thousands in the process. And then, of course, he becomes even more pure the next day. Why? Because he did the right thing. Yes, it wasn't easy to become impure. But it was worth it in the long run. He helped himself, by doing Avodat HaShem, as well as helping Klal Yisrael.
To finish off, I'll share a personal story with you. As I've mentioned before, I don't wear any wigs, baruch HaShem. Even though I was sure, for many years, that I wouldn't wear a wig, AND I knew exactly WHY I'm NOT wearing a wig, and I strongly believe in it, I still struggled with it. Afterall, I was used to donning my hair for 20+ years. I was used to that look, that confidence, etc. Baruch HaShem, it got easier and easier with every day.
When I started working, I was unsure how my haircoverings would be received. To be completely honest, I didn't really care or think about Granted, I worked in a Jewish environment, but
a) not everyone there covered their hair
b) almost everyone there who DID cover their hair wore wigs. And these were not women who were wearing plain wigs. They were wearing fancy, lavish, long, & styled wigs.
within a week, I was SHOCKED. At least 5 women came up to me - JUST in the first week - to ask me either...
a) how I have the koach to cover my hair so properly and beautifully
b) where I buy my scarves
c) where THEY can buy the same scarves
d) how THEY can cover their hair like mine
I was truly taken by surprise. I'm only here for one week and this is the impression I've made?
So without ANY gaavah I'm telling you - YES! Whenever a Jew is doing the RIGHT thing and KEEPING the Torah, then (s)he influences those around him or her. No doubt about it.
Yes, more often than not, it's not easy doing the right thing. Torah is not easy.
But who said it's meant to be easy? Who said anything worthwhile in this life is easy?
Anyone remember my favorite quote??
"The purpose of life is not to be comfortable. The Almighty did not put us in this world so that we can cruise through with all the comforts of life, no pain, no challenges, and then to die peacefully under a beach umbrella with a pina colada in hand. The Almighty placed us in this world to face challenges, to perfect our character and to grow spiritually. That is why life is filled with challenges. It is our choice whether to view our challenges as obstacles or stepping stones."
-Rabbi Kalman Packouz
May HaShem help us all to be on the right path and stay strong and influence others
in the process!
Now I'm off to make a banana chocolate chip cake. Hopefully it will inspire the humans around it to eat it. :D
Shabbat Shalom u'Mevorach! :)