We cannot be perfect in every area of life. In the words of Lucius Seneca, a 1st Century Roman Philosopher: “Everywhere is nowhere.” Rather, we ought to know ourselves, listen to the inner and unique calling of our souls, and actualize our G-d given talents and skills to fulfill the purpose for which we - and only we - were created.Rabbi Allouche
She would be a perfect match for him!”
“Do I have the perfect doctor for you!”
“He appears to have perfect pitch!“
We all strive for perfection in life. We want the perfect job, we seek out the perfect doctor, we desire to connect with the perfect friends, and we want to marry the perfect match.
But what does “perfection” mean? And is it really achievable?
The book of Genesis is filled with examples of seemingly-perfect human beings. Adam and Eve were created and molded perfectly in the image of G-d. Noah was coined a “righteous man.” Abraham and Sara were the perfect visionaries, Isaac and Rebecca were the perfect well-diggers, and Jacob, in this week’s portion, is described as a “wholesome person.”
But, at a deeper glance, each of these models chose to be perfect in a very focused area. They knew that being perfect in every area of life is not what is asked of us. So they channeled all of their skills and talents into very specific areas of perfection.
Adam and Eve were the perfect builders. They came into an empty world, and they built and planted gardens, built buildings, and they founded the human family.
Noah was the perfect student who followed the directions of G-d immaculately. His generation was corrupt, but he obeyed every rule and walked in the saintly ways of the One Above.
Abraham and Sara were the perfect embodiments of love. Every meal of theirs was shared, and every moment of theirs was imbued with a mission to better our world. Isaac and Rebecca dedicated their lives to digging wells and establishing a home for our nation in the holy land of Israel. Jacob was the perfect embodiment of resilience. Nothing fazed him. He was haunted by the hatred of his brother, Esau, and the animosity of his surroundings, yet he faced every challenge, with determination and conviction, and eventually triumphed.
The lesson from each of these prototypes is clear: We cannot be perfect in every area of life. In the words of Lucius Seneca, a 1st Century Roman Philosopher: “Everywhere is nowhere.” Rather, we ought to know ourselves, listen to the inner and unique calling of our souls, and actualize our G-d given talents and skills to fulfill the purpose for which we – and only we – were created.