Parshat Bereishit: Vered Kaplan

Vered Kaplan, New York City, New York

Trust The Process

For those who don’t know sports, “Trust the Process” is from the Philadelphia 76ers slogan. Since I love sports, of course, I had to put something sports related in here. However, it’s a slogan with a deeper meaning. The 76ers are an NBA team full of young players that have a whole bunch of potential. My focus is about potential itself. It is such a powerful, yet confusing, ideology. The big question is: How can one reach potential? That is what I am going to dive into.

The definition of potential is “having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future.” We all have the power to reach for potential, but we often tend to struggle with it. This weeks parsha is Parshat Bereishit, the creation of the world. G-d spent six days creating a beautiful world. He created the world and people full of potential. So if we were created with potential, why do we find it difficult to reach? Why is so hard to get it? In 2:5, it says the following: וכל שיח השדה טרם יהיה בארץ וכל עשב השדה טרם יצמח כי לא ארל ואדם אין לעבד את האדמה. Now, all the trees of the field were not yet on the earth and all the herbs of the field had not yet sprouted, for G-d had not sent rain upon the earth and there was no man to work the soil. Rashi says that once G-d created Adam, he realized the importance of the vegetation and worked at it. “In order to benefit from this world, you need to put in the work”. What if I told you that the potential is already there? All we have to do is work for it. Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson quotes the Mishnah, which says, “all the six days of creation must be rectified and made (by man) to function.” Sounds easy enough. A good example to compare this with is vegetation. In 1:11, it says, ויאמר ה׳ תדשא הארץ דשא עשב מזריע זרע עץ פרי עשה פרי למינו אשר זרעו בו על הארץ ויהי כן. G-d said, “Let the earth sprout with vegetation: herbage yielding seed, fruit trees yielding fruit each after its kind, containing its own seed on the earth.” G-d already created the vegetation for us. Like the vegetation, the potential is already there for us. Our job is to work for it. For vegetation, you need to work (ex: digging, planting, sowing, watering, harvesting).

This year we are lucky enough to spend in Israel. This is a year we get to really work on ourselves. Usually, during seminary, people ask themselves, “How can I grow? And how can I get the most out of this year?” Like the vegetation, it’s already there. We can get the most out of the year and grow, we just have to put in the work to do so. I want to share a little story about a person who worked hard for his potential. His name is Andre Ingram. Ingram is a 32-year-old man who loves basketball. He went undrafted after college and played in the minor league for ten years. He never gave up on his dream to play in the big league. Ingram was determined to make it to the NBA. Despite his age, he put in countless of hours to practice and improve. Finally, his hard work paid off. The Los Angeles Lakers asked him to play for the end of the season. Once he stepped foot on court, he proved he had potential. His first shot he made was a three pointer. The crowd went wild and watched in awe watching his hard work pay off. He finished his debut with nineteen points and four three pointers. Ingram is a perfect example of someone who worked hard to find his potential and reached it. That is exactly what the 76ers players are doing, and they are already a great team. May we all work toward our potential. Shabbat Shalom!

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