Opportunity or Choice? by Rabbi Yochanan Hammond
LIFE IS WHAT IT IS - ??
OPPORTUNITY or CHOICE?
As we know and come to experience life brings many a situation into our lives that requires action. These can be good, positive, bad, negative and all in between. There are times when faced with these situations that we can have trouble in deciding whether they are “opportunity” or “choice”. What do I mean by asking whether they are opportunity or choice? To me this is an important question to ask, as it affects the decision making process.
The Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary points out, that opportunity offers favourable occasions, a good chance, something to seize. Choice is more focused on making a decision either way, where the outcomes may or may not offer any opportunities for good outcomes. Take for instance the typical movie scene where the “bad guys” give the choice to someone of either being shot or thrown off a high building. Not allot of opportunity for a good outcome. However if you were offered the position to drive the getaway car instead of being killed, you would likely see that as an opportunity. As previously said life offers us many choices and opportunities. Trying to decide which is which can be confusing at times.
What can make this a difficult decision is when we read into something that is not there. We are given an “opportunity” to become involved in some quick get rich scheme. Some are so desperate for money that they refuse to look at any negatives and only focus on the promises of riches that in their mind offer great opportunity. How many of us “older folk” have experienced the car salesperson that offers a “great opportunity” to purchase a vehicle for a certain price only available today. The market place has a long history of offering once in a life time opportunities in order to take advantage of our greed and pride. There are of course genuine opportunities presented to us and many times we have let them pass to our detriment. I only need to look at my own life. To my detriment I have let real opportunity pass on occasions. I have also been guilty of talking myself into engaging in useless endeavours that were never a genuine opportunity but my greed and pride drove the decision.
It is no different went it comes to Religious matters of faith. I have witnessed so many people becoming leaders in a congregational setting that mistook their own ambitions for opportunity given by HaShem. This can and does result in what can only be described as strong handed bullying. The “leaders” are seen in an unrealistic and an unhealthy light. These leaders take the place of HaShem in many instances and rule with intimidation and fear. Hard hearts are the norm instead of soft pliable hearts. These leaders use the Word of HaShem out of context and do a severe injustice to the Holy One of Israel. Then we have others who dismiss the Word of HaShem and welcome any position that is against the teaching and guiding Hand of HaShem.
This causes confusion and is a huge stumbling block for those who are searching for truth and stability that is provided by the pure and undiluted Word of HaShem. I feel saddened by the number of young people who are lost and are looking for guidance in all the wrong places. A reason [not the only reason] for this is because the very “places” they should find stability and guidance no longer provides those opportunities. Therefore instead of being presented as opportunities resulting in good outcomes, choices are given instead. Having a father and mother [male and female] as parents who are married according to the commandment of HaShem is no longer an opportunity for so many. Many have to make the choice of living with one of their parents. Instead of being given the opportunity to read the Bible at meal times and family gatherings, children are instead given the choice of which computer game to play, what TV channel to watch, or what mobile device to text on etc.
I make no apology for saying that it is only the Torah that provides the greatest and best opportunity for people, families, communities and countries to live a healthy, fulfilled, and successful life. So many have been given the opportunity to become a citizen of biblical Israel, but have rejected that opportunity.
Opportunity may be a little different to choice, but you still have to make a choice to take advantage of an opportunity. I cannot make anyone nor have I interest in making anyone take the opportunities given to us by HaShem. However I can and do encourage all too seriously consider exploring the wonderful opportunities that can be found and taken in the Torah of HaShem. You will NEVER find greater opportunities anywhere else for you to improve all aspects of your life. So I truly encourage you to take the opportunity to embrace the Torah and if you have already, congratulations, but continue the journey of learning and embracing the Bread of Life.
May HaShem continue to show His grace and mercy in blessing His nation Israel and may you be or become a citizen of biblical Israel.