by Rabbis Rick Fox & Yaakov Lyons
“Meh. We said meh…M-E-H. Meh.” – Bart Simpson.
Is that all we have to say? Are we so unable to be moved… so unemotional?
Interestingly, we think that if we witness an impressive event, experience a life threatening situation, or make a bold move, it will change us as people.
But that isn’t true.
These experiences aren’t guaranteed to change us.
In the first of the ten plagues, the Nile River, which was deified by the Egyptians, was miraculously turned to blood. This was no random natural disaster, as Moses said the Nile would turn to blood because of how the Egyptians were treating the Jews, and it occurred just as he said it would.
The Torah says that, after seeing the huge, disgusting mess, “Pharaoh turned, and went into his house, and did not pay attention to the matter.” Pharaoh gave the bloody Nile one small…unemphatic… “meh…”
We would think that just seeing this would be enough to change the attitude of the Egyptians. It wasn’t—but why not?
…Because external events don’t automatically change us on the inside. We have change ourselves from the inside out. External events often inspire us in the moment, but without internal recognition, experiencing an event is unfortunately not enough to create lasting change.
Seeing the bloody Nile had shock value to Pharaoh, but when he went back to his palace and turned on TMZ, he easily forgot about it. Meh. The blood wasn’t enough to change him.
We all experience big moments. Sometimes we reach a milestone, are involved in an unfortunate circumstance, or become part of something bigger than ourselves. At moments of inspiration, we think, “Life will never be the same.” But, the truth is…meh. To get the most out of these moments, we have to stop, consider them, internalize them, and be follow through on their unique messages to us.