By: Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui
Old habits have their own trajectory. They have been repeated so many times, the wheels of habit have already paved their own predictable direction and path.
Now, let’s say someone decides they would like to change course and go in a different direction. We all know it’s not easy to lift the heavy wheel of habit out of its comfortable routine, and, move the entire vehicle in a new direction. What’s a proven and successful method to use, and in how much time can we expect some positive results.
The Bible, is the blueprint for all of creation. Therefore, it must and will always, have the answers to all of our questions.
Jeremiah in one of his visions sees a wood stick, a branch that was already severed from its source. It was no more on the tree, and there were no leaves coming out of it. Upon further reflection he concludes that it was originally from an almond tree. Almonds are quick to produce its blossom before any other tree, and are the fastest to ripen, in 21 days.
There are almonds that start out sweet and then become sour, and there are almonds that begin by being bitter and then with time they become sweet. When the bible references almonds, we are talking about the latter type. The almonds that end up being sweet.
In Jeremiah’s vision, he was being informed of the accelerated 21 day process that G-d would punish and address the bitterness and bad behavior of the people of that time. Eventually however, this process of harshness and strictness would cleanse and transform the negative effects of their bad behavior, to sweetness and goodness.
These 21 days, allude to the “three weeks”, when the walls of Jerusalem where breached, and the impending destruction of the Holy Temple, which is followed by the “seven” weeks of consolation.
The message from G-d to Jeremiah was transmitted not only from the fact that it was an “almond” branch, but also from the fact that it was a dead stick. This was not a soft and bendable branch connected to its source with the liberty to be flexible. At this point the people where severing their ties with their source. They were behaving badly. It took a long time even for the prophet Jeremiah to figure out their source, who they really were.
“As I am quick to uproot them, so too I will be quick to rebuild…” The speed and swiftness applied to the negative trait is paralleled in the converse, for the positive end goal.
It was specifically through a stiff inflexible stick, G-d was conveying His message of change.
In a person, logical rational thinking takes time to finally, get it. With reason, there is always room to be influenced and change ones mind. When a person locks himself in a commitment, a firm resolution closed to reconsideration, that under no circumstances will things change, this is compared to a firm unbendable rigid stick.
We have here a clear message.
When a person feels he is severed and disengaged from his purpose and things have got to change. He feels like that dead stick, in Jeremiahs vision. It’s not all lost, and dead. If and when he applies the uncompromising commitment of a firm resolution for 21 days, that’s how much time it takes for the bitter almond to turn sweet. This has the potential to turn his life around from the bitterness of the present and the past, to the sweetness of the future.
To read more articles from Rabbi Ezagui visit him at http://koshercaffeine.blogspot.com