Parsha: Toldot (2023)

“Better to be the tail of the lion than the head of a fox.”

So says the sagacious words of Pirkei Avot (ethics of our Fathers).

Although there is lots of depth and meaning in that statement, however the simple meaning is an important life message and indeed a life skill as well.

Here the lion refers to true leadership, honesty, morality, and Torah values.

The fox represents deviation from these ideals.

There are moments when we are confronted with a choice to live an easier and more comfortable lifestyle. We are being offered to be the head of the fox.

We will fit in better, be more accepted by others.

Perhaps this path will bring recognition, fame, better income, or wealth.

But ultimately we know it’s part of the Fox team.

We will be ahead, but we won’t be living with truth and with the values we hold dear.

There is a voice inside us that inspires us to wisely realise, that it is always far better to be connected to truth regardless if I end up on the tail, as long as I am part of the lion. And if that means I am now the tail, so be it.

The parsha this week has a similar expression about our forefather Yitzchak (Issac).

Yitzchok became such a strong source of morality and G-dly inspiration that people wanted to connect to him.
The commentaries expressed it this way:

“Better to have the dirt and mud of Yitzchak, than the gold and silver of King Avimelech.”

It is this altruistic view that gives us a life of meaning and purpose.

When I hand over hard earned funds to charity, or join a minyan at an inconvenient time, I make the choice to be less comfortable but to be connected to the truth.

While there are many paths in life, that can bring more luxury and enjoyment. But ultimately a meaningful life will be enjoyed when being part of the “lion.”

Shabbat shalom!