A fascinating point in Jewish history is when Moses prays to God to appoint a new leader over the nation. God responds to his prayer and appoints Joshua. Given that there were numerous eligible candidates for this position, why did God choose Joshua as Moses’ successor?
If you have a pot of water on the stove and you are waiting for it to boil, but every few minutes you remove it, the water will never boil. It doesn’t even matter how big the flame is, since each time it is removed and returned, the boiling process starts over from scratch. It is only the continuous process of heating which causes it to boil. The flame could be very small and it may take longer to heat up, but as long as it’s consistent it will eventually begin bubbling.
The Torah describes Joshua as “A lad, who did not depart from within the tent.” He was consistent – never removing his pot from the flame. Whatever it took, he made sure that he was always there. He started out with a flame no bigger than anyone else, but it was his power of consistency that made him stand out as the next leader of the Jewish people.
This is true in every area of our lives. To succeed and find meaning, consistency of intention, action, and purpose is a necessity. It is no surprise that the same can be said for our Judaism. Being consistent with our Jewish connections is the surest way to find the rich meaning that can be found in the depths of our heritage.
During the summer, I always find that consistency is so much more difficult to keep up. It can be so hard to offer the same level of dedication while on summer holidays, making every Jewish action and decision so much more difficult.
But that is the lesson here that is so apropos. Even when things become more difficult, the rich meaning of our Judaism will elude us unless we are consistent under all circumstances. The Torah does not describe Joshua as someone with great management skills, or inspiring oratory skills. He doesn’t have the flashy qualities that we usually associate with a dynamic leader. But he was solid, consistent, and unbreakable in his commitment to his actions and to his values each and every day. Consistency made him a great person, and it can do the same for each and every one of us.