People often ask me, Rabbi Diamond, what do you like to do for fun. Usually I tell them innocuous things like playing guitar, going on long walks, reading, but that’s not really true. What I really like to do is go on YouTube and watch videos of the Slingshot Ride. If you don’t know what the slingshot ride is. Imagine a two roller coaster seats that are attached within a sphere made out of pipes. The sphere is attached to two cables, one on either side that are attached to two huge towers. Imagine a slingshot of the Jolly Green Giant. In order to ride, they strap you into the seats, and the pull the metal ball down with the two people inside, and they launch them fifty or sixty feet into space, but the cables are still attached, so the people shoot up and then to down and up and down. Often they spin head first in the air as the bounce up and down.
But the best part are the videos where the camera is attached to the sphere, pointing at their faces. The greatest part is seeing the shock or joy or delight as they are first catapulted up, but the more interesting moments are after they strap the riders in. The attendants slowly pull the sphere into what looks like a hole in the ground. Then there is a pause for one, two, three, four or five seconds, and that pause tells their entire story of how they relate to life. Some scream, some cry, a few say, “No, no, no, I changed my mind.” That pause is the same pause that often comes before a tornado hits or between aftershocks.
It is the pause that they children of Israel are experiencing this week as they are about the head into the Land of Israel. And from their pause, we can take some lessons about how we approach the challenges that we often face within our own lives.
What do we do when we come to the edge. The ski jumper at the top of the run. I would ask, Are my bindings tight? Are my skis waxed? Can I sneak away without anyone seeing me?
Sometimes our greatest challenge is our success.
We often need to be prompted into action 1:6
6“When we were at Mount Sinai, the Lord our God said to us, ‘You have stayed at this mountain long enough. 7It is time to break camp and move on.