Part of Something Bigger

Yael Eckstein  |  June 30, 2021

Mountains Lamentations 3:38

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go up this mountain in the Abarim Range and see the land I have given the Israelites. After you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron was …’” — Numbers 27:12-13

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Pinchas, which means “Phinehas,” from Numbers 25:10–30:1.

I’m often asked how I cope with the long demanding hours of being president and CEO of one of the largest nonprofit organizations in Israel AND being a mother to four children and a wife. Aren’t I tired and stressed all the time?

My answer is rather simple — I’m able to manage because of the joy I get from knowing I am part of something bigger than myself. There’s a reward in seeing the face of a Holocaust survivor light up when we bring them much needed food and medicine. I’m revitalized every time I witness a family who has faced poverty and persecution in another land arrive in Israel, kneeling down to kiss the ground. Carrying on my father’s legacy and partnering with God to do good in this world is a holy privilege that gives me energy.

Part of Something Bigger

Moses knew all about being part of something bigger. Toward the end of this week’s reading, Moses was commanded to ascend a mountain in Moab so that he could see the Holy Land. However, God also told him that after seeing the Promised Land, he would die. Moses would never enter the land.

We know that Moses wanted nothing more than to enter the land of Israel. In the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses poured his heart out to God asking for permission to enter the land, but his request was denied. Despite this, Moses was content to see the land and then die peacefully. It was a comfort and a gift just to have been able to see the land.

But after all that struggle and leading the people through the desert, how can that be?

The answer is because Moses’ life was not about Moses. It was about something bigger than himself. It was about the nation of Israel, bringing God’s Word to the world, and setting in motion the wheels of history that would ultimately lead to the perfection of the world. Moses’ passion extended beyond his personal agenda and included God’s plan for the world.

We live in a society that has become overly concerned with fulfilling oneself, finding oneself, and satisfying oneself. However, the truth is that happiness is achieved not by finding myself, but by losing myself in something greater than myself.

Your Turn:

What brings you joy and satisfaction? Share your answer below.