Finally, Joseph had just landed his dream job at the prestigious law firm of Stevens and Goldberg. For a very long time now, the law firm had been looking to fill this empty position with someone of his stature, who had superior qualifications, would bring untold success to their firm, and who would propel the company to its next level. Joseph was so happy that he now had a respectable salary, benefits, great managers and coworkers, along with a position that perfectly fit his skill set. In the months ahead, Joseph was greeted warmly by all of the staff.
Words of praise were like a repetitive song that was constantly playing in the background. Case after case, Joseph kept ‘hitting them out of the park.’ Rival firms were gossiping to find out who the firm’s new secret weapon was, and what it would take to bring that person over to their company.
Joseph respected his co-workers very much and was completely devoted to the work ethic of the company. He was proud to work for a company that encouraged donating many hours to pro bono projects for people who were less fortunate. The leadership was always challenging their employees to step up their game and make great strides for their clients. There was also zero tolerance for any staff members that treated other staff members with disrespect.
As time went by, Joseph’s wife and family fit into this upper-middle-class suburban community like a glove. Then, after a major victory that Joseph and his team had achieved, rumors of Joseph being made a partner were being bandied about. One would have to have been totally oblivious not to hear the gossip about who would fill his position.
A few weeks later, Joseph woke up to a flashing message on his phone. The message read, “Your presence is requested at noon today for a board meeting on the 50th floor. Please cancel any other conflicting meetings.”
Joseph couldn’t move; he was completely immobilized. In fact, this was the infamous message that hundreds of staff had shed buckets of sweat and spent sleepless nights waiting for.
However, his wife Sue looked over at him with worry and concern. She asked, “What is it? What’s the matter? Are you ill? Should I call the doctor?” Joseph barely had enough control over his right hand to show the message to his wife.
But then, Sue read the message and understood the gravity and possibilities this meeting could mean for them as a family.
Quickly seizing on her keen fashion sense, his wife picked out an elegant suit, tie and shoes for him to wear for this serious occasion.
While Joseph tried his best to focus on his workload until noon, Sue was in dreamland about the possibilities this possible promotion would mean for them and their family. She constantly checked the time, finally sending Joseph an encouraging message a few minutes before noon.
Two hours later, Joseph pulled up to their home in the brand new minivan which Sue had been begging to get for over two years!
Sue started jumping for joy, singing and dancing. Their young children came running into the room and started to sing and dance as well, not knowing what exactly was going on but sensing that something big and exciting was happening!
Tuesday, January 1st finally arrived. The partnership ceremony was called for 12 noon. As it turns out, at 11:30 AM., a driver in a black stretch limousine was waiting outside to pick up Joseph and his family. The driver pulled up in front of the fifty-story executive building and quickly rushed to open the door for them. Then, they waded through hundreds of coworkers and friends who were cheering and applauding Joseph’s journey through the building and up to the top floor to accept his new position.
After Joseph’s heartfelt, warm acceptance speech had brought the room to a standing ovation, it was now time for the Chairman and founder to speak. At that moment, Mr. Stevens congratulated Joseph on his past accomplishments and the love, admiration and trust he had shown for him and for the company. He warmly welcomed him to his small but elite team.
Mr. Stevens spoke about the level of trust being given over to Joseph and how much he and the others believe in him. “However, before you agree to become a partner, you must know that at this level, any breach in our working relationship is fatal. Wherever you go from this point on, you are representing our firm. The bond we are making here tonight is forever irrevocable. Breaching this relationship would have fatal consequences, not just for yourself, but for the other partners, the associates and all our clients. If there ever comes a day that, for whatever reason, you just don’t feel like giving 100%, I ask you to stop for a moment and remember these fatal consequences and hope these thoughts will force you past your apathy and indifferent mood.”
Now, in a few days will be the holiday of Shavuot when the Jewish nation celebrates receiving the Torah. According to the Midrash (ancient commentary on parts of the Hebrew scriptures attached to the biblical text), the holiday of Shavuot symbolizes the wedding day between Hashem and his chosen nation. Each year, the Jewish people renew their vows on this day and study the Torah all night long to show how important this relationship is. It was the loving side that the nation responded to when asked if they would accept the Torah with the words, “We will do and we will listen.” Those words were said when the nation was in a good place. A place of love and gratitude to the Infinite One.
However, there will be times when a part of you just prefers to sleep in that day or cheat a little in that relationship. At these moments, you should look around to consider other options. For those moments, as it says in the Gemara of Shabbat, (Shabbat is the first tractate of Seder Moed of the Mishnah and the Talmud), Hashem lifted up a mountain and held it above the Jewish nation and said, “Use this embedded memory as a tool to get past your dry spells. Remember that you are now a partner in the creation and maintenance of the world. Never forget, that as a partner, you are constantly representing Hashem. G-d needs you to see your work as crucial, not just for perfecting yourself but for positively impacting the entire cosmos.”
So, on the holiday of Shavuot, we should rejoice with good wine and great cheesecake, embracing the physical benefits of being the chosen nation. But, at the same time, we should be staying up all night learning the Torah to better prepare ourselves to fulfill our obligation to partner with the Divine One above.
Have a wonderful Holiday,