Previously in these writings we have thought about a concept I call “both/and”. In context this expression has described situations in which our emotions, our conscience or analytical thoughts, or even our actions seem to not be congruent. The psychological term is “cognitive dissonance”.


For example, how can we delight in a holiday when we’ve just read of a terrible tragedy? How do we feel joy while grieving the loss of a loved one? Especially in these days of sometimes horrific headlines we can even feel guilty to have moments of personal happiness.


During this season when many are celebrating a holy week in preparation for observance of the death and resurrection of Yeshua, our thoughts can again wander into this challenge. How was Yeshua both a man and God? How do we immerse in His suffering alongside the immense joy in His resurrection?


As I think about the life of Yeshua, He always knew the end of His story as a mortal, and yet, He experienced great joy and fullness of life while with us in person. We can presume that raising people from the dead, healing, feeding thousands from a few loaves of bread and several fish, making wine from water may have given Him nachas (joy)!


He knew He was to die at a young age after painful suffering. At least the dying part of His story is not unlike ours for we know someday each of us will die, and yet, we usually try to live hopeful, meaningful lives. Yeshua, on the other hand, knew so much more.


He knew Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptist) would die torturously as he did. He knew He/Yeshua would be rejected. He knew His apostles would suffer and die painful deaths. He knew when He would do miracles and when He should not do them. He knew the future of mankind even to this day and beyond for His knowledge includes all the possible choices mankind has yet to make.


Clearly, if we mere mortals had such foreknowledge of just the little segment around our own lives, most likely we would be unable to live full lives, or at the least, make the best choices. If we knew we would be dying a terrible death at age 30, I doubt many of us would work hard at developing careers. Some may not even have children for seemingly selfish reasons or for selfless ones of knowing he or she would not be there to raise them. Perhaps knowledge of the timing of our deaths or our futures is one of the reasons we are taught not to seek such information from clairvoyants.


In a way we will never fully understand, Yeshua came to earth as an enfleshment of HaShem who even Himself was not faced with the earthly temptations and human challenges faced by Yeshua. Our Messiah literally was a Divine Embodiment who could be in this world in the both/and. Yeshua is the only one who could live life fully, with feelings of human sorrow and joy and continues even today to be with each one of us in spirit through all our days, inscribed in our hearts. Through Scripture study providing knowledge of His days with us as a man and as divine, as well as His being with us now spiritually, we are enabled to have hope in days of sorrow, to live the both/and to the best of our human abilities.


Perhaps knowing we would need Yeshua so deeply is one of the reasons God loved us so much that He gave His Son to us, to help us live lives of hope during days of despair. Through the story of Yeshua’s life, His death and resurrection, we have been given the model for living  the both/and, meaningful lives in Him no matter what life brings.


By His example, we have been shown the possibility to live with pain, with knowledge of dark days ahead, and yet remain optimistic for the future. Although we don’t know the details of the bigger picture, through Yeshua’s life and teachings we have been shown a glimpse of the World to Come, Olam HaBa. We can’t do it as well as did He, for we are not divine. Yet He came here in part to show us that doing so is possible. But how?


He showed us the need for prayer by even His turning to Abba during His times of trial. He showed us sacrificial love. He showed us forbearance, when to be boisterous in our faith, when to be silent sufferers. We cannot possibly do what He did. Perhaps that is the point. Yet we are to try knowing that we will fail in order to be more poignantly reminded of our need for Him.


As these days remind us of the both/and, His painful death and resurrection, may we also be reminded of our deep need for Him. Yeshua’s life literally was recorded in Scripture, a reminder to us to read and reread the Bible, study the Daily Dvar to fortify us during hard times and during good times, every single day. He showed us through His resurrection that no matter the struggle, there is no real end as someday we will be joined with Him even more fully than we are in this realm.


May these days grow us in our abilities to honor Him and steep ourselves in a deeper resolve to cleave to Him. Now that’s a both/and worth celebrating!


Shabbat shalom.



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