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Your first class ticket is waiting - really

Friday, 31 May, 2013 - 12:19 pm

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After saving for many months, Moshe, a simple, poor and hardworking man from a small village, travelled to the big city to purchase a train ticket. Having saved enough money, he bought a ticket and boarded the train. It was his first time on a train and he was very nervous.

The conductor was making his way through the next car and Moshe noticed a few people who had no tickets get up and begin to hide to avoid the conductor. As he sat there he noticed that the other passengers had different color tickets than he.

“What is the meaning of that?” He wondered. “Could it be that my ticket is not valid?”

Suddenly in a panic, he decided he too must hide.

“Your ticket, sir,” the conductor stretched out his hand waiting to see his ticket. He was caught! Nervously he fumbled through his pockets looking for his ticket. The conductor was getting impatient, “If you don’t have a valid ticket, you can be fined and arrested at the next station!” he thundered, fed up with all the vagabonds trying to steal their way on the train.

“H..here, here’s my ticket,” Moshe nervously handed his ticket to the conductor. The conductor took the ticket in his hands, looked at it and arched his brow. Moshe was sweating. “This is a first class ticket, sir. You are in the wrong place.” Not understanding, Moshe began to apologize and plead for mercy. The conductor explained to him that his ticket actually made him eligible for a much better seat in a more luxurious car. “Here, come with me, I’ll take you to your seat.” And with that, the suddenly pleasant and respectful conductor led Moshe to the first class carriage.

This is unfortunately the story of many American Jews. We are first class ticket holders yet we act as though we don’t belong; we try to blend in and be accepted by society instead of being proud of who we are.

This week’s Torah portion tells us about the spies that Moshe sent to gather intelligence prior to conquering Canaan. They reported to Moshe negatively, leading to the Heavenly decree to spend 40 years in the dessert.

Let us take note of an interesting part of the dialogue. The spies reported, “In our eyes, we seemed like grasshoppers, and so we were in their eyes.” (Numbers 13:33) The Rebbe often quoted this verse and emphasized that the fact that they felt “like grasshoppers,” caused “so we were in their eyes.” The attitude towards them reflected the perception they had of themselves.

Don’t feel like a grasshopper! Please remember; you have a first class ticket. Be proud of it.

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