Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Speaking of Apples...

"Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them; about the only thing you can't do is ignore them, because they change things. They push the human race forward. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do." -Steve Jobs

The other night, when my date proposed a movie, I couldn't resist suggesting This Is Us in 3D. I'm still laughing over the fact that he fell for it, can't help it. Reading over our actual options at the theater, I casually said, "Jobs...oh, that Steve Jobs movie..." only to see his face light up like a menorah on the eighth night of Hanukkah. I guess the joke was on me: Jobs it was.

In all seriousness, I am happy I saw it. Although I'm not an Apple enthusiast (I have an iPhone but verbally abuse it just as much as my non-Apple devices), Jobs' story is undoubtedly compelling. Against all odds, he built a successful company on the convictions expressed above. Standing on one foot, the mold was made to be broken.

At first blush, all this talk of breaking rules may seem to go against the very nature of Judaism, a religion of 613 laws. But I believe it's just the opposite. We Jews are the original crazy ones, misfits, rebels, and troublemakers. Abraham, the very first Jew, stood in opposition to an entire world of polytheists and declared the existence of the one true G-d. The Israelites were crazy enough to accept the Torah at Mount Sinai, confident that they could change the world through it. Boy, did they ever.

Over 3,000 years later, Judaism is still resisting the status quo. Like Steve Jobs with each new device, we continuously push to do better. We're not afraid to think differently, and sometimes we've been persecuted for that. But we always bounce back. Whatever an individual or an entire society thinks about the Jews, they certainly can't ignore us. Because it is our destiny to lead, to push the human race forward.

This fate is fulfilled Jew by Jew. Just as every letter is needed in the Torah, each Jew, man or woman, born or convert, has a purpose to serve for the entire Jewish people. So don't be afraid to be different from the other nations. Dare to have a bigger vision, to make 5774 an even better version than all the ones that came before it. We are the people who are crazy enough to think we can change the world, and against all odds, we do.

L'Shana Tova!