Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, the teacher of the Zohar who we honor on Lag B'Omer, plants seeds of infinite growth in our minds so each of us can begin our time travel with Torah with a taste of her eternally expanding wisdom embedded in our souls
In this week's portion, the man, having been officially declared impure, is now ready for the end of his nightmare beginning his process of purification--on the sidelines.
When the Torah constantly asks that its words "Be new in our eyes, as if we are receiving the Torah today," it is not simply asking that we are open to a new reading of a verse, or application of a law. The Torah is asking us to live in a state of Paradigm Shift, a life in which our approach to prayer changes each day, as should our approach to all the commandments and texts.
We stand everyday as did Nadav and Avihu, searching to elevate our actions into meaning, desperate to 'make a difference," trying to get the heavens into our heads
Moses was stuck outside the Tabernacle with the people who built it. He understood at that moment the message of the Half Shekel, or, my fifty cents. He was not standing as the great Moses or the awesome Moses who could meet with God in Heaven. He stood outside as one of the people who all contributed a Half Shekel, fifty cents. It was at that moment that Moses became the most humble of men. I can almost hear the coins jingling in his pocket.
"The Lord settles lonely individuals into the House (Psalms 68:7)." His House that "dwells in the heart of each individual" is meant to provide a place for the lonely; those disconnected from themselves
I love and, am energized by, wrapping myself in my Tallit (Prayer Shawl), and tying on my Tefillin (Phylacteries) because of their message. I focused this morning on whether I had the ability to energize them, whether I could wear them as a celebration of my growth, and found myself vibrating with their energy.
I can see how much I have and celebrate my plenty by bringing a small slice of heaven to others who have even less.
Absolute truth is dangerous in the hands of people who do not realize how much they do not know. Just as I cringe when someone declares that he knows the reason for the Holocaust, I shudder when people authoritatively declare people they don't know to be heretics and sinners. Knowing that I don't know opens the door to listening and learning, an opportunity to discover more about God, people, and me.
I finished reading that the Israeli chief rabbinate invalidating numerous conversions, opened the weekly portion, and enjoyed a hearty chuckle when I remembered that the portion of Revelation and the Ten Statements is named for a convert, a failed one, Yitro. Things sure have changed.
Miriam and the women who followed her recognized that Israel would be unable to move forward until they forgave God for their suffering and their fear. So they sang of God desiring to share His power with them so that they too would be able to "hurl horse with rider into the sea," as Israel does to Amalek in the closing scene of the portion.
Where is our Exodus? If the question is about miraculous salvation and the punishment of our enemies, I have no answer. If the question is a quest for experiencing greatness, the answer is the Mitzvot
God hears, and responds. God hears our prayers, and in so doing, gives voice to a powerful message of love. Can you hear it?
Each prayer, Shabbat, Torah study and Mitzvah offer us, in our imperfections, to connect with the Eternal. Jacob insists that we first reject the shame we've carried since Adam and Eve, and understand that there is a place in Paradise even for the imperfect.
Could Judah REALLY expect the Viceroy to grasp his subtle threats and insults when translated? He didn't.
Could Judah really expect the Viceroy to grasp his subtle threats & insults when translated? He didn't.
On Parshat Vayeishev with a nod to Chanukah.
Jacob was sending a message to his family and to us: Esau was of sufficient stature to merit angels to greet him. Jacob's years in the house of the scoundrel Laban taught him how to view his brother from a different perspective. He began to appreciate Esau's greatness,
If I had Jacob's dream, I would not have been able to go back to sleep, and, I'd like to believe that I would have responded to the historic promises rather than make a conditional promise emphasizing bread and clothes. I would expect a "Thank You," from Jacob, instead of falling asleep and then playing "Let's Make A Deal,"
All Toledot - Relationships - begin with our relationship with ourselves.
"A father of philosophy, the father of the Hebrews and his slave get together,,," sounds like the start of an ancient joke but read on...
It sounds quite nice, but I wonder whether Abraham had it easier than do we. He had a warning and a reason as well from the only reliable spiritual authority. God appeared to Abraham and told him that a storm was coming to Sodom because of her evil. As far as I know, God did not appear to anyone to warn that the East Coast would be punished for her 'evil'
God doesn't need a slave to order and say: Build an ark! He could have made it in a second. God desires a partner. It is up to us to rise to that role. Noah's greatness was that he figured it out.
We glorify God, not in numbers, but in expansiveness. We too, are bringing our First Fruits when we're not busy battling each other over what is ours or who speaks the truth. Our Bikkurim begin with affording room for people to explore and grow.
Once I learned to treat every person I meet as more than chance and as an opportunity, I was able to expand my collection of superheroes.