Trying to do the right thing.

20th October 2015 - Uncategorised
Trying to do the right thing.

The only problem, if you can call it a problem with ‘trying to do what is right’ is that we can’t ever do that. We can ‘do’ what is right but we can’t try. As Yoda famously said, ‘Do or Do Not – There is no Try’.

This Creator centered life that we lead can cause heart ache, it can cause stress. If you are coming from a different tradition to one wrapped around the Torah you will find some of the changes abrasive but not nearly as abrasive as they will be to your nearest and dearest. To tell the truth, even now, years on, I still find myself torn sometimes between what I ‘know’ is right and ‘trying to do the right thing’.

‘Trying’ to do the right thing usually involves trying to please everyone and that can mean 4 different corners. Your Creator, your want, your closest and your environment. Recently I’ve struggled with trying to make everyone happy. Trying to find the ‘right’ answer, the solution to a problem that I really couldn’t figure out. I must have gone 3 weeks and it was the first thing I thought about when I woke and the last thing I thought about when I slept. Finally.. finally.. I prayed about it. I don’t pray nearly enough. Probably because I don’t feel I need to change. Which in hindsight is so ridiculous given the stress I heap on myself and this was a case in point.

The other option is to do the right thing.. this doesn’t involve ‘pleasing’ anyone. God isn’t ‘pleased’ when you choose to do ‘good’ rather than something wicked. He is God. He gave the Torah for the people to live good lives. Torah is it’s own reward. Struggle usually only happens in situations when escape from a problem seems impossible. Doing the right thing often results in pleasing no one and hurting/offending/alienating someone, meaning that even though you score the goal it can feel like an own goal.

My point? I don’t have one, sorry. You are on your own. Life can be hard. We all have to make our own journey. BUT we do have a fantastic capacity to heal, to learn and to start over. We also have a Creator who is connect to all things.. IS all things. So you are never alone and when things seem bleak, when times are hard, when you don’t know which way to go.. He is right there.. Get involved. Communicate. Don’t wait. Let me in. You might just find yourself ‘doing’ rather than ‘trying’.

3 thoughts on “Trying to do the right thing.

Patricia Deneen

Jason, I am blessed and inspired by your Torah commentaries, but this one I must take issue with. I have been ill lately, and in spite of the best efforts of doctors and myself, I am not improving very fast. Just the other day when I commented to my local rabbi that I was “trying hard to get well,” he said, “Don’t try! Just get well!” Jason, have you ever watched a little child trying to tie his shoelaces? He doesn’t have the requisite motor skills yet, but by trying again and again he eventually trains his muscles to perform with enough precision to get those shoe laces tied. If he had given up trying, his mother would still be tying his laces before sending him off to college! It’s true that one can invoke “I’m trying” as an excuse to be lazy, to avoid making a decision, taking an action, etc. but that’s not always the case. Sometimes trying is the best one can do at the moment. And if your trust is in Hashem, and you keep on trying, the deed will get done. I disagree with Yoda (blasphemy!) that there is no trying. Sometimes there is; sometimes there isn’t. The trick is knowing when more trying may advance the action, and when it is time to take a leap of faith and just DO..
A caveat: Fear of “what will happen if…” or “what will people think if…” will keep us trying when we should be doing. Fear of consequences is a deadly hindrance to making decisions. All consequences are in G-d’s hands, not ours.
Jason, I do so appreciate your honesty about where you are in your personal journey. Perfect people scare me. God bless you for what you are doing to facilitate getting the message out to Jew and non-Jew alike. I will be davening for you while you are in Israel. Take care of yourself, Jason–we need you!


    thank you for this Patrica 🙂 I loved it. I hope you health improves speedily.


This is really well thought out and totally on the mark. I’ve stuggled and still struggle with this one back and forth. The biggest problem is the wanting everyone to be happy and it’s not realistic. If your child was a car thief and stole a really cool car and flanted it to you, you can’t be happy for him because you know how he got the car. Sadly many of our decisions are not so easy to implement. We struggle in an idea to love unconditionally but don’t understand that loving is work not just a fuzzy warm feeling we get.
This is why I really like seeing your post. It is a great reminder.


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