Be Aware of Your Surroundings! from the desk of Rabbi Philip Hammond, Ph.D.

Living In The Moment

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

About Rabbi Philip (Yochanan) Hammond

Rabbi Philip Hammond, Ph.D., lives in Australia with his wife Debra. Rabbi Hammond is the President of JSI-Judaic Studies Institute and the Rosh of the UITAM-United In Torah And Moshiach. Rabbi Hammond's desire is to see reconciliation between Judah, the Ten Tribes and the Nations. This is a burning passion of his and he seeks to make connections with Judah to repair the breech.





Debra and I were sitting outside having a coffee when a small wren landed on the fence next to us. He was busy looking for his next meal and his main focus was on that task. The need to eat meant that he was prepared to take some risks. Normally he would not fly or land as close to us as he was this day. However there was something not far from our table that held his interest. He just had to check it out, and to do so he needed to overcome his fear of us. As we viewed the scene before us I could see this little wren thinking about the situation that confronted him. Was the reward worth the risk? Not only did he have us to contend with, but our cat was lurking in the grass ever ready to take advantage of the situation. For this wren it was a dangerous situation and he had a difficult decision to make.


This wren had to deal with problems that he had no control over. He most likely didn’t realise that if he waited, Debra and I would finish our coffee and move away. He may have known more about the habits of the cat, but that didn’t remove the situation that confronted him there and then. In his mind he had to act according to the scene set before him. He had to make a considered decision on the risk. Yet we know if he waited long enough both we, and the cat would move on, but the wren didn’t have this luxury. For the wren a moment for decision making was upon him. He made the decision to risk it, and flew down next to our table and ate his meal. He then flew back to the safety of the fence chirping about his success. Nothing happened to him. Debra and I admired his beauty and the cat took little or no notice of him.


Had other people or another cat been there, the outcome could have been vastly different. Another cat may have taken full advantage of the situation and killed him. Some people may have thrown a rock or taken a pot shot at him, he was not to know for sure. In fact I have witnessed wild animals becoming used to kind human contact thus losing their fear but paying the price as other humans took advantage of this.


Knowing the surroundings and our environment is vital to our lives. It is important that we survey the situations we have before us. Taking note and digesting information allows us to lessen our mistakes. Sometimes we have to take risks but it is far healthy to take risks that are considered over spur of the moment risks. Far too often we make decisions without weighing the consequences up carefully enough. Making decisions on emotions has caught many people out. This can range from simply purchasing an appliance that never gets used, or a car that one later regrets purchasing etc etc. There are many decisions made that can severely impact on our lives for better or worse. Some of these we have control over and some we do not. So our energies and focus should be on those areas we have some control over. We can control how we conduct our lives, and how we manage our personal journeys. We can control our decisions on faith and faithfulness. We can take responsibility for many decisions in our lives.


It is an unfortunate that to a large extent our societies have been “educated” to blame someone else for any ills that fall upon them.  The need to take responsibility for our actions has almost evaporated. Too many of our young people believe that they are owed a “living” and should be supported no matter what actions or decisions they take. In fact I take that statement back, because this has been eating away at our societies for so, many over the age of fifty have the same mentality. The victims of crime and violence are given less support than the perpetrators. Some areas in our communities have become so “dark and evil” that one feels like the little wren when entering those areas. To enter these areas risks must be taken. Admittedly there have always been such areas but they are increasing at an alarming rate. When you go out at night you must choose carefully the area. There are now areas in Australia that I no longer wear TziTzit and a kippa as the risk of violence is too great.  There are numerous communities and people that police are very reluctant to deal with. Lawlessness is rampant and predators are walking our streets unafraid. This lawless behaviour is blamed on the everyday citizen. The perpetrators are not to blame, but we law abiding citizens are to blame because we dare to question their character. This questioning of character is trumped up as racism or Islamophobia, homophobia, or anti-black, anti-red anti-whatever. In far too many cases thugs and bullies not only rule sections of our streets and communities, but they are influencing our politicians and community leaders.


The reason this can and does take place is because we have left the moral code of the bible. Truth is hidden by well organised programs of propaganda and lies. If you happen to have a biblical world view then you are dispensed as a “fringe lunatic”.


Our surroundings and environment are changing at a rapid rate. Perhaps the recent election results in the U.S.A. are a sign people are becoming fed up with the lies and propaganda, but until we embrace the Torah of HaShem we face dire times ahead.


Our space is becoming more invaded by our enemies. This has resulted in having to come to terms with different challenges from past years. Decisions will always need making, but the process and consequences are changing. There does appear to be a separating taking place. Some don’t want to experience this, or even face the fact it is happening. None the less this doesn’t change the fact. It is very possible that HaShem is bringing about these circumstances in order for us to decide whose team we want to be on.


As for me and my household we want to be on the same “team” that created the little blue wren; team HaShem!  Make no mistake He is in control, and His plans will continue to unfold with or without us.



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