Monday, April 16, 2012

Reflection on a Former Hustling Rabbi

Beit T’Shuvah, a half-way house for Jews who want to go from taking people for  a ride to Tikkun  Olam, was founded by Rabbi Mark Borowitz, a recovering alcoholic who sold stolen goods, got caught up in the criminal life, but came back to his family faith in prison.

He runs his half-way house according the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Tradition of Alcoholics Anonymous. Acknowledging this his program meshes more with Christianity than Judaism, he still likes the thrill of helping someone recovery and break free.
 “I think society in general – everybody wants to be perfect.

For the believer in Christ, we are made perfect in Him, regardless of our fallen flesh and minds.
Still, I like the point that he had made about his worth:

"For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." (Hebrews 10: 14)

Another quote from the Recovery Rabbi was very meaningful:

"My net worth and my self-worth were so tied up, when I made money, when I made a score, I was something. When I was broke, I was nothing.”

I can relate to this dilemma of works-righteousness. As a teacher, I felt like somebody. I was doing something, teaching  the students, getting stuff done, and I felt like somebody. When I went home, I was so empty – there was nothing to  do – nothing to live for. This yo-yo life was really painful for me. It drove me into deep despair,  especially when even the job stopped cheering me up. I wish that I had done more in my life, I wish that I had learned what was going on inside of me, that I could find my worth tied to something greater than myself.

Who we are must be based on something greater than what we do on a daily basis. It must be more than a title, than our work, or even our family. Stability, ability, reality, worth, excellence, all depend on our connection to God, not to our feelings or our thoughts.

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