Off the Pulpit: Heart Shells
By RABBI DAVID WOLPE
When my brother and I were kids, we would go into the front yard and play egg toss. The idea of the game was to move farther and farther from one another and toss the egg so that the other could catch it without allowing the shell to break. My mother did not approve of this game.
The key to success was to move your hands with the egg as it arrived. If you caught it with your hands fixed the egg would almost certainly break. If you could move with it, however, you had a chance of keeping it intact.
That simple action is true with relationships as well. Inflexibility breaks, movement preserves. As the Talmud instructs, “one should be flexible as a reed and not unyielding as a cedar” (Ta’anit 20b). Hearts can be broken against a wall; but softness and kindness can cradle them, as the egg in one’s hand, and keep them whole.
(Rabbi David Wolpe is the senior rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles.)