Typically, it’s with a modicum of interest at best, that I follow news concerning trade deficits involving these United States. Last week, however my interest was piqued when the news carried an article concerning statements and misstatements regarding trade with Canada. Politics and my native country aside, I’m all for fair trade and I firmly believe that there are other ways of arriving at fair trade other than tariffs.
Economics and economies not withstanding, “trade deficits” ought to be our goal in life as Jews. I’m no accountant, but Tiferet has been running a “trade deficit” for some time now, by giving to the community far more than it receives in return. But who’s counting? This past Sunday serves as an excellent case in point. The time, effort and energy expended for our renowned Chili Cook-Off was well worth the crowd that amassed (as well as placing first for our Chili). Say what you want about the various chili recipes; Tiferet has perfected a recipe for a community event that defies comparison. Whether it was enjoying lunch, quenching one’s thirst with ice-cold soda pop, seeing one’s child revel in any of the many activities available, taking a chance on a raffle ticket, buying various merchandise and/or services, or simply just taking it all in, no different than the congregation itself, Tiferet’s Chili Cook-Off is in a league all its own. It matters not one’s branch or denomination of Judaism; it matters not one’s religion or absence from religion, Tiferet’s annual Chili Cook-Off has something for everyone. Let’s continue this trade deficit along with our communities. Whether it be the Chili Cook Off, Jewish Life Around the World Brunches or any other programs we offer where observance is not the criteria, let’s be mighty proud of these programs and the “trade deficits” that go along with them!
As one who believes that he takes HaShem and Judaism seriously, I cannot help but feel that there is an ongoing “trade deficit” between our Heavenly Father and us, wherein most cases HaShem grants us and bestows upon us much more than we give Him in return. Wouldn’t it be something, if we were able to turn that “trade deficit” around, where we do for HaShem much more than He does for us? I cannot help but feel that just as there is a Dow Jones here on earth indicating how the Stock Market has performed, there is a “Mitzvah Market” up in heaven that indicates how we have performed. An ideal trade deficit would be for HaShem to exclaim, “The Mitzvah Market is at an all-time high!”
With Passover a little more than a week away, there exists a “trade deficit” where more Jews participate in some kind of Seder than one could possibly imagine. As such, they deserve a big Yasher Koach! I dream of yet a different type of “trade deficit” that is part and parcel of the Pesach Seder. I dream of a “trade deficit” where participants leave that Seder with more than an abandoned pile of crumbs where they were sitting. I dream of a “trade deficit” where Seder participants take away lasting messages of matzah, maror as well as lessons gleaned from the hagaddah. I dream of a Seder experience where participants take far more away from the Seder than those who painstakingly prepared for the Seder put in.
More likely than not, there will always be trade deficits when it comes to imports and exports. I pray that our leaders respond and react in the best possible way. I hope and pray that there continue to be “trade deficits” so that Tiferet remain the exemplary congregation we know it to be. I hope and pray that a “trade deficit” is created where we finally do for HaShem than HaShem does for us. I hope and pray that a “trade deficit” appears at the Passover Seder so that the congregants walk away with lasting lessons they never anticipated learning.