One of the best things about being a rabbi is that I am blessed with the high honor of officiating weddings. There is nothing quite like looking at the eyes of a man and a woman who are looking into each other’s eyes as they enter into a covenant together.
However, recently I had a somewhat traumatic event take place the morning of a wedding I was to perform.
Those who know me know that I am a little “CDO.” CDO is kind of like OCD, only in alphabetical order. I was raised by a father who believed everything had a place and that place was where it belonged. My father’s belief was further ingrained into my mind as I served in the military. So in my world, everything has a place, and everything must be where it belongs.
When I get home at night, my wallet and keys go in the exact same place. At night before I go to bed, my glasses go on my nightstand in the exact same place. In the morning when I wake up, I get dressed in the same order and put my shoes on the same way. My coffee cup on my desk is always in the same place. You get the picture.
On a side note: This does drive my wife a little crazy and has caused “discussions” at times.
Back to my traumatic event. I woke up on the morning of the wedding, and I began my morning routine. Everything was going well, until I went to my closet, and my suit wasn’t where it belonged. Not only wasn’t it where it belonged on the rack, it wasn’t even in the closet. My heart skipped a few beats, and I asked my wife to come to the closet.
To be honest, I yelled across the house for my wife to hurry to the closet. When she arrived, I asked her, “Where is my suit?” She responded, “I suppose it is where you put it.” This was clearly not the answer for which I hoped.
We searched every closet in the house, looked in the car and drove to my synagogue to look in my office; the suit was nowhere to be found. Please understand, at that moment, I was more upset that the suit wasn’t where it was supposed to be than I was that the suit wasn’t findable because I always put things where they belong.
I went from minor trauma to panic as I realized it was 8 o’clock in the morning on a Sunday, and I didn’t have a suit to wear to the wedding—and I had to be at the rehearsal at 10:30. There were no stores open—and for those who don’t know me, I have one suit, and the rest of my clothes are khaki pants or blue jeans that I wear with shirts.
I was not angry that I couldn’t find the suit; I was angry that the suit wasn’t where it was supposed to be. Thankfully, after searching through the house, I was able to find a pair of pants and a sportscoat that I could put together that, according to my wife, “looked fine.”
After all, she said, “no one really cares what you are wearing; they will all be looking at the bride.” Of course, she was right. But that still didn’t remove the knot from inside my gut. Why wasn’t my suit where it belonged?
The wedding was beautiful, and the bride was even more beautiful. After everything was over and I got back to my house, I sat down, still upset that my suit wasn’t in my closet in its assigned place. My world was out of order.
It was then that my heart heard the loving voice of G-D speaking: “You’re feeling today what I feel every time you sin, because whenever one of My children sins, it causes disorder.” The Garden of Eden was in perfect order until sin. G-D designed marriage and family as part of His perfect order. He built those families into communities of worship to be in order.
He gave us the Bible to provide instructions for His perfectly designed order. Every time we choose to live contrary to His design, there is disorder. The feeling I felt when my suit was not in its place of order is what our heavenly Father feels when we are not where we should be—only multiplied exponentially.
The truth is that our being out of G-D’s perfect order was the reason we needed Yeshua (Jesus) to come and atone for us. His redemptive work provided a means for every one of us to be placed back into G-D’s perfect order.
As an ending note, G-D drove this message home to me that evening. I went to the shelf in my living room (where I place things from my pockets so that I know exactly where they are) to get the check that I was given for helping with the wedding, and the check was not there.
Twice in one day, something I put into place was not where it was supposed to be. Only this time, instead of getting angry, I simply said a prayer and went to sleep. The next morning, I woke up and began my day as usual, only when I went to get my clothes, the check that I was looking for the night before was neatly sitting folded on top of my shirts.
It was then that I remembered that no matter how much I try to keep everything in my life in the proper place and in the proper order, and no matter how orderly I am (or may outwardly appear), I desperately needed (and still need) G-D to bring order to my world, and without Yeshua, that would never really have happened.
On that morning, I thought to myself that maybe G-D has a little OCD also.
Eric Tokajer is the author of Overcoming Fearlessness, What If Everything You Were Taught About the Ten Commandments Was Wrong?, With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, #ManWisdom: With Eric Tokajer, Jesus Is to Christianity as Pasta Is to Italians and Galatians in Context.
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