Mountain or opportunity?

May 8, 2015 by Rabbi Michoel Gourarie
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Rabbi Michoel Gourarie discussed relationship issues…

Recently I have had to deal with some real relationship issues. Just as I think things are going smoothly, something always seems to pop up and get in the way. Why does this happen?


Rabbi Michoel Gourarie

Rabbi Michoel Gourarie

One of the most famous bible stories is the Akeida – the binding of Isaac. G-d tests Abraham and asks him to sacrifice his only son on Mt. Moriah. With devotion and commitment Abraham sets out on a journey to fulfill G-d’s wishes.

A Midrashic account of the story gives us an important insight and lesson. The Torah relates that on the third day he saw “the place” from afar. When Abraham realized he was close to his destination he turned to his attendants that were accompanying him and asked: “What do you see?” “A mountain” they replied. He then repeated the question to Isaac to which he answered, “I see a mountain with a cloud of holiness and Divinity attached to it.”

In this little account lies a deep and critical lesson. Life brings all sorts of challenges and tests. Although these experiences are given to us not by our choice, we can choose how we view them. One person just sees a mountain – a huge strong rock which has suddenly appeared, creating a barrier and an obstacle to positive progress. Another will see a G-d given opportunity – a challenge to overcome and work through, making us stronger human beings.

In our relationships, challenges like conflict, tension and misunderstanding are sometimes unavoidable. But it is up to us what we do with them. We can let it get in the way like a mountain, destroying the relationship, or we can use it as an opportunity to find new, deeper and more creative ways to resolve the issues and generate an even stronger bond.

The choice is ours – are we going to see a mountain, or the opportunity attached to it?

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