With all of these different animals causing a ruckus in the woman's house, the village elder then suggests that the woman remove the animals from her home and take them back outside. It is only then that the woman realizes that her house may have been "weeny for five, but gigantic for one." Somehow, an episode that allowed this woman to gain a different perspective had a profound effect on how she approached the situation and the size of her home.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to recognize the blessings that are present in our lives. Sometimes, it can be difficult to stop, to take stock of everything that we have in our lives, and simply say "thank you." It's a rat race out there and it seems, in many circumstances, that we are always in pursuit of "more" - more material objects, the newest and latest gadgets, more "stuff." But it's rarely enough. We think that these "things" will make us happy, but like a child with a new toy, the satisfaction from getting something new lasts just long enough until we want something else.
Our Torah portion this week, Parashat Behar, teaches us a profound lesson - to be happy, to be satisfied, with what we have, to recognize the God-given blessings that are part and parcel of our lives. We read in the Torah, "Six years you may sow your field and six years you may prune your vineyard and gather in the yield. But in the seventh year the land shall have a Sabbath of complete rest, a Sabbath of the Lord: you shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard." During this seventh year, the people are only able to eat what the land itself produces; they are not permitted to do any work on the land during this time of rest.
This text challenged the ancient Israelites and it challenges us today. We wonder, like our ancestors, what will we eat in this year that the land lies fallow? And yet the text teaches, that God will provide blessings and sufficient resources, and that the people will still have enough sustenance.
Torah changes our perspective in a profound way. We are so accustomed to asking, "What am I going to get? How can I work hard and get even more?" Yet Torah invites us to ask, "How can I see that what I have is truly enough? How can I continue to experience and appreciate the blessings that God has given us, the blessings that continue to be part and parcel of my life?"
Ben Zoma of the Mishnah once asked, "Who is rich? Those who are content with their portion," those who are sameach b'chelko - happy with their lot. May the joy and peace, the rest and comfort that we experience on this Shabbat, give us an opportunity to recognize and appreciate the blessings that fill our lives. And in lives where we too often feel "squashed" and "squeezed," where we too often heed the voice that cries out for "more," let's spend some time listening instead to the voice that says, "this is enough, this is truly enough."