Yesterday I was having a familiar conversation with my son. It went something like this:
“I need new shoes.”
“Really? Didn’t we just buy you new sneakers at the beginning of basketball season four months ago?”
“Yes, but I wore them all season and now the tread has worn down and I need new ones.”
“So, you would like new shoes.”
“Yes, and I need them.”
Our “needs” have gotten out of control. Somehow we have found ourselves in a condition where we never have enough. This is not a kid-centered phenomenon. As adults our needs might change, yet we will hear the refrain “there’s just not enough _____” (time, money, attention, staff…). At the dinner table I hear it – “don’t take too much pasta, there’s not going to be enough…” Truth is, even if there was less pasta then desired; it was still enough to fill everyone’s stomachs.
This week’s Torah portion discusses the limitation on food. It outlines animals and birds that can be eaten and those that cannot. No reasons are given for these laws. Many people look at these restrictions as having much to do with health concerns. However, it could just be a limitation for the sake of limiting. It could be teaching us the value of sufficiency.
Sufficiency is a way of being – I am sufficient / there is enough. It doesn’t really matter if you can eat everything you see. Or if you can only eat three of many things you see. You just need to have enough to fill your stomach. You might want more. You just don’t need more.
What’s the difference? (My kids’ favorite rejoinder) The difference shows up in your state of being. Are you satisfied? If I feel I need the shoes and I don’t get them, I find myself incomplete. If I want the shoes and don’t need them, if I get them WOW, if I don’t, I’m disappointed. My being has not been affected – I am still whole.
Sufficiency has a deep reliance on forces outside yourself. It’s a belief that you’re not in it by yourself – it’s trusting the universe or God as your partner. You could have thought “what if ALL there is around me is shellfish or anything else I can’t eat?” If you feel sufficient, you trust that there will be something for you to eat – the universe will provide something to sustain you and you don’t have to be worrying about what if’s.
Here’s a what if to consider today –
What if you believed you had everything you need to live a great life already?
How would that change your outlook and interactions throughout your day?
“Sufficiency is the exquisite state of being where you are enough, you have enough and you envision a world where this is true for all." - Kay Sandberg