Friday, July 17, 2009

Question of the Week by Rabbi Moss

I would love to come to shule one Shabbos, but I have a problem. Every time I come I feel so out of place, like I am the odd one out. I think people are staring at me because I don't really fit in. It seems like everyone else is a part of it, and I am an outsider. Is it just me or am I sticking out like a sore thumb?

You certainly are the odd one out. Everybody is.

Take any group of people - a family, a community, a classroom, sports team or an office staff - and there is one thing that every single member of the group has in common. They each think they are the odd one out. The one thing that makes us all the same is that we all think we are different.

One person thinks the shape of their nose makes them stick out. Another is sure that they are smarter than everyone, or everyone is smarter than them. One guy thinks he is the only one with problems in their life, another thinks that he is weird and everyone else is normal.

The truth is, all noses stick out. That's how they were made. We are all smarter in some ways and not in others, we all have life problems and we are all a bit weird. These things do not really make us different. So why do we feel so self-conscious? Why do we all feel like outsiders?

Because there really is something about you that truly makes you stand out from the rest.

You are different from everyone else, because every person has a unique soul. The miracle of creation is that we are all the same human, but we are all completely unique people. So indeed you are the odd one out, but so am I, and so is everyone else. You are the exception, but there is no rule.

The fact that you are the odd one out should not cause you to avoid the community. On the contrary, that's why the community needs you. What makes a group powerful is when each individual contributes his or her own distinctive flavour, when each single being gives their own something to the all. You are different to everyone else alive, and everyone else who ever lived. That doesn't just make you the exception. It makes you exceptional.

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