Weekly Sidra: Chukat (decree)
Torah Portion: Bamidbar/ Numbers 19:1-22:1
Maftir: Bamidbar / Numbers 28:9-15
Haftorah: Shofetim / Judges 11:1 – 11:33
Jephthah the Gileadite was an able warrior, who was the son of a prostitute. Jephthah’s father was Gilead; 2 but Gilead also had sons by his wife, and when the wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out. They said to him, "You shall have no share in our father’s property, for you are the son of an outsider." 3 So Jephthah fled from his brothers and settled in the Tob country. Men of low character gathered about Jephthah and went out raiding with him. (Shofetim 11:1-3)
There have been many times when I was a child that I have felt lonely and abandoned. These include feeling like an outsider in society. Whether those were my perceptions or the reality I was feeling I am not sure.
As I grew into adulthood my perception changed. I realized that I had a purpose and a focus to life. I can empathize with Jephthah. He was not born into the best of circumstances. Even though his father had sex with a prostitute Jephthah was taking all the heat. The “natural” progenies despised and rejected him. This caused him to flee and settle with a “bad crowd”. I often wonder where his father was all this time. Why didn’t he stand up for him?
The only thing it seemed Jephthah had going for him was that he was a great fighter. Later we see that “sometime later, the Ammonites went to war against Israel. 5 And when the Ammonites attacked Israel, the elders of Gilead went to bring Jephthah back from the Tob country. 6 They said to Jephthah, "Come be our chief, so that we can fight the Ammonites." (Vv 4-6)
His brother’s had to come back after eating much humble pie. They had to admit that they needed Jephthah. Now he would go from being an outcast to a position of authority over them.
Hashem has a plan for each and every one of us. He can use us no matter who we are and where we come from. No matter how smart, beautiful or great we may be or if we are in fact the opposite. Hashem has given us each certain knowledge, skills and abilities to use. It may seem now that we are square pegs in round holes and that we do not fit into society’s plans.
However, a day will come when our skills will be required and we need to be ready for that moment. Remember, we must not become arrogant and think that we are great. Everything we have comes from Hashem and we need to give all the credit to Him.
Hashem does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called.
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