web analytics
November 21, 2014 / 28 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Eternal Love Story


Front-Page-081712

Parents know each child is different. Similarly, each month is different; each has a different “personality” and a different function.

What is the nature of the month of Elul?

According to one system of counting, it is the last month of the year. If our fate during the coming year is decided between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, then Elul must be very important.

How do we try to ensure that the coming year will be good?

This is our job during Elul.

Elul has been described by the acronym Ani l’dodi v’dodi li – I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine” (Shir HaShirim 6:3).

Isn’t it strange to think of Elul in this way? We are coming before our Father and King for judgment. We crown Hashem “Melech” on Rosh Hashanah. How, then, can we describe our relationship with the Supreme Judge, who holds our fate in His hands, in such romantic terms? Does this make sense?

Imagine you are on trial for your life. You are trembling in the courtroom. Armed guards are watching you. The prosecutor is about to list your crimes. At that moment, would you tell the judge how much you love him? You would be crazy!

Or maybe not.

The way we put on tefillin offers a parable for life. First we put on the shel yad, which is tied around the upper arm opposite the heart. Then we place the shel rosh upon our head and, lastly, we wrap the retzuah (leather strap) around our hand. What does this teach us? That the heart is primary.

We begin the day by adjusting our emotional orientation. When we place the shel yad upon our arm, our heart is bombarded with holy “radiation” from the tefillin. If our heart is good, we will be good. So we send healing into the heart in order to bring it under the influence of Torah. Following the heart, we place the tefillin upon our head, and then we wrap the retzuah around the hand.

But the heart is primary. As the Gemara says, “Hashem wants the heart” (Sanhedrin 106b). If a person is “happy with his lot” and full of chesed, all else will follow. The heart must be good; then comes the brain. We take our good, generous emotions and the brain conceives of ways to implement them. The last step is action itself, symbolized by the retzuah.

We have to work on our heart. The cause of our Exile was sinas chinam, unwarranted hatred between Jew and Jew. The cure is ahavas chinam, “unwarranted” love. “Sinah” and “ahavah” are emotions, which emanate from the heart. The heart must be cured and trained.

The way we prepare for life by regulating our emotions, so we prepare for our encounter with God. Elul thus becomes the month in which “ani l’dodi v’dodi li.”

We also need an ayin tovah – a good eye.

The Mishnah (Avos 5:22) teaches: “Those who have a good eye, a humble spirit and a meek soul are among the disciples of our Father Avraham. Those who have an evil eye, an arrogant spirit and a greedy soul are among the disciples of the wicked Bilaam.” Rabbi Yissocher Frand asks, “What does ‘ayin tovah’ really mean? It means a generosity of spirit and a generosity of dealing with people.”

* * * * *

On Yom Kippur the kohen gadol enters the Kodesh HaKadoshim. What does he find? Atop the Aron HaKodesh are the kruvim, facing each other. These two figures, male and female, represent a loving couple. When Hashem created the world, he populated Gan Eden with Adam and Chava, who represent the culmination of creation. That they rebelled against Him represents their own weakness, but quite clearly they were created with the ability to live in perfect harmony in the presence of Hashem. If a man and woman live together the way Hashem commands, their relationship is the building block of His world.

But there is more.

The Gemara tells us that the kruvim represent the relationship between Am Yisrael and God. “Rabbi Katina said: When the Jewish people made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem on the festivals, the priests would roll up the partition of the Holy of Holies and show them the kruvim in amorous embrace. ‘Look,’ they would say to the people, ‘God’s love for you is like the love between a man and woman’ ” (Yoma 54b).

About the Author: Roy Neuberger's latest book, “2020 Vision” (Feldheim) is available in English, Hebrew, Spanish, French, Russian, and Georgian. An e-edition is available at www.feldheim.com. Roy is also the author of "From Central Park to Sinai: How I Found My Jewish Soul” (available in English, Hebrew and Russian, and Georgian) and “Worldstorm.” Roy and Leah Neuberger speak publicly on topics related to his books and articles. He can be contacted at roy@tosinai.com or through his websites www.tosinai.com and www.2020visionthebook.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Eternal Love Story”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Masked Arabs clash with Israeli security forces  in anti-Israel riot outside the Ofer prison between Jerusalem and  Ramallah.
Israel Law Center Wins Landmark Decision Against PA in NY Court
Latest Indepth Stories
Dalia Lemkos, HY"D Is this the image you think of when you hear the word "settler?"

The “Media” didn’t want us to know what a kind, giving, loving young woman Dalia was.

A “Palestine” could become another Lebanon, with many different factions battling for control.

Temple_Mount_aerial_from_south_tb_q010703bsr-300x225

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

voting

Having a strong community presence at the polls shows our elected officials we care about the issues

Israel’s Temple Mount policy prefers to blames the Jews-not the attackers-for the crisis.

When Islam conquered the Holy Land, it made its capital in Ramle of all places, not in Jerusalem.

I joined the large crowd but this time it was more personal; my cousin Aryeh was one of the victims.

Terrorists aren’t driven by social, economic, or other grievances, rather by a fanatical worldview.

The phrase that the “Arabs are resorting to violence” is disgraceful and blames the victim.

Tuesday, Yom Shlishi, a doubly good day in the Torah, Esav’s hands tried to silence Yaakov’s voice.

Because of the disparate nature of the perpetrators, who are also relatively young, and given the lack of more traditional targets and the reverence Palestinians have for their homes, one now hears talk of Israel returning to a policy of destroying the houses of terrorists’ families.

In any event, the Constitution gives Congress what is popularly described as the “power of the purse” – that is, the power to raise revenues through taxation and to decide how the money should be sent.

It is difficult to write about such a holy person, for I fear I will not accurately portray his greatness…

There was much to learn from Judge Kramer and the examples he set remains a source of inspiration and a resource from which to learn. He was and remains a great role model.

More Articles from Roy S. Neuberger

In the recent Gaza war and its aftermath, we saw a totally illogical reaction from the world.

Our rabbis told us it’s going to be very difficult before Mashiach comes. Should we fool ourselves?

The unwarranted hatred among us that caused the destruction of the Second Temple clearly still plagues us.

At the end of the harvest, winter begins. The earth becomes cold and hard, nights are long, and the sun seems far away in the southern sky. The sap ceases to flow in the trees. But in this season of temporary “death” Hashem sends down harbingers of coming life in the form of tal u’matar livrachah – dew and rain for a blessing – upon the earth.

“Logically” speaking, after the millennia of hatred and destruction directed against us, there should not be one Jew in the world today who still keeps the Torah.

They were lining up for gas masks in Israel.

Apparently, at the very time of year we are supposed to be full of simcha, Hashem wants us to be aware of the possibility of danger. Indeed, during the Yom Tov of Sukkos, we read cataclysmic haftaras dealing with the ultimate war, the Milchemes Gog Umagog. Where does that war take place? In the Holy Land, of course, where the eyes of the world are always focused.

At the mikveh they were discussing Egypt.

So many things seem to be unraveling. It’s not just Egypt but the entire Middle East. No, it’s not just the Middle East; it’s the entire world.

What is the relationship between Pesach and Shavuos?
Rabbi Naftali Jaeger, rosh yeshiva of Sh’or Yoshuv, relates in the name of the Ishbitzer Rebbe a striking metaphor:

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/eternal-love-story/2012/08/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: