I am not going to overcomplicate this. I’m an animal. We all are. And I’m not simply referring to our taxonomic classification. I’m talking about being the kind sweating, salivating, heart-pounding beasts that you see on the National Geographic channel.
As Jews we tend to shy away from describing ourselves this way. We prefer to stress our godly characteristics; reason, free will, and control (after all, it was a snake that got us banned from the Garden of Eden). However, our inner animals don’t wither away and die when we deny them. They wait. Like a lion stalking its prey.
Then when our defenses are down the animal strikes. We enter a feeding frenzy, overeating, lashing out at our friends, and buying all the unnecessary things consumer culture insists we must. The carnage can be frightening, but more often than not we ignore it. Happy to return to our “civilized” lives, we quickly forget about the incident.
With our beasts sated we move on, leaving a wake of disaster behind us. We write off the damage, claiming the whole thing was an apparition and swear it will never happen again. Until the next time.
Which is why after 27 years, I’ve decided to break the cycle. I am going to be proactive and embrace my inner animal. Instead of denying its existence, I am going to harness it. When I get a craving to indulge in something sweet, this time of year it’s going to be Virginia peaches, grown locally and without any harmful chemicals. If I feel the need for speed, I am going to hop on my bike and find the nearest hill. When I feel frustrated and need to let off steam, invasive species beware – I’m coming for you. And when its time for something new, I’m going straight to the wood shop to build it with my own two hands.
What are you going to do when your beast comes calling?