You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best that you have to give.
I recently had the wonderful opportunity to see a touring company perform Fiddler on the Roof. I have seen the show many times and as I grow in my own life the hidden meanings in Fiddler grow within me as well.
The universal appeal of Fiddler that has made it into a classic is that regardless of race or ethnicity, we all can see our own life experiences woven into Tevye’s trials as a parent and a man of faith and tradition.
As his daughters grow and become women, they each take paths that require Tevye to balance his love for his children, his faith and the traditions he has known his entire life. One by one they force him to choose. We watch with our feelings of angst as he struggles with each of the decisions he has to grapple with.
His first daughter has her marriage arranged for her and chooses not to follow tradition and marry a man of her own choosing. We observe Tevye enter the first cycle of acceptance and change in his thinking as he is not happy, but Motel the Tailor is of like race and ethnicity, a man of faith and loves his daughter, so all is not lost.
His second daughter poses new challenges as she chooses to marry a non-religious man of the same faith, but with new ideas about tradition and what is acceptable. Tevye once again says no at first, but then finds a way to accept and say yes.
With the third daughter, we see Tevye put his foot down and say No, No, No. Enough is enough and he just cannot accept her decision to marry a man of another faith. These are real struggles as he truly loves his children more than life itself. How many of us can see our own internal struggles in Tevye’s anguish over what to do. In the end he accepts with the love he feels for his daughter and sends her on her way with his and God’s blessings.
What is the message that I felt in the pit of my stomach as I watched Tevye journey to his own acceptance of what was once unacceptable? The message I took was that Tevye ultimately grasped the notion that in God’s world everything is acceptable and that Tevye’s faith was dependent on his ability to allow his daughters to journey as they chose and he could still believe what he did. By allowing them to be there where they were allowed him to be where he was.
As a Rabbi in South Florida and as a Sober Coach, I am frequently asked by congregants, clients and friends varied questions about acceptance. People share with me the resentments they feel and want me to tell them it’s okay to feel and think what they do. In either role I cannot approve or disapprove. What I can do is help them explore what it is that bothers them and find a place where they can choose to accept or not accept whatever it is they are challenged by.
As a Spiritual Counselor, I labor to help clients grasp that things happen for reasons we cannot explain and sometimes there is no answer that we find satisfactory.
My prayer for you today is that you permit your acceptance of yourself to allow you to accept others as they are and in turn be accepted by others as you are.
Modern and independent South Florida Sober Rabbi with an MSW Degree and 23+ years of sobriety providing Sober Coaching and Addiction/Spiritual Counseling focusing on energizing, affirming, motivating, healing, spiritual guidance and personalized life cycle events.
If you, a family member or friend are suffering, call me at 954-755-3764 to get the help you deserve.
Hugs and blessings for a joyous day!