erev Shabbos reflection: Vayeira 5782

The slowing down of time, only possible when all of my chores are behind me. I am reminded of the scene in the Fidler on the Roof movie, where everyone is preparing for Shabbos: laundry to finish, milk and challah to be delivered, and changing into one’s finery to greet the Sabbath Queen. For myself, I have my blogposts, podcasts, and videos that need to be wrapped up, in addition to food preparation, and sabbath greetings via the Internet.

I rarely go out erev Shabbos Friday evening, because I prefer a quiet, more traditional, welcoming of the sacred seventh day, via the necessary kavanah (mental preparation), that will make the entirety of the twenty-five hour day more meaningful. So, I generally do not attend community Shabbat dinners at the synagogue, nor accept invitations to homes, where there will be more than a half dozen people at the table. Introvert that I am, this permits me to transition into the Day of Rest, in a manner that is potentially full of reverence and kedushah (holiness).

weekly reading: Sanctification

B”H

Shiur for parashas Emor

The Sanctification of H’Shem’s Name

“I will be sanctified among the children of Israel.”
– Leviticus 22:32

Selfless behavior could be defined as akin to mesiras nefesh – self-sacrifice. Mesiras nefesh may be viewed as an ongoing act in the sense of subduing the yetzer hara (the evil inclination), for the sake of sanctifying H’Shem’s name. The resultant reward is that we ourselves become sanctified, every time that we do not give in to our own character weaknesses. This is a challenge that appears in many circumstances on a daily basis; therefore, it is best to be on guard against temptation, by strengthening ourselves through constant vigilance.

To be selfless, in respect to mesiras nefesh on the level of morality, is to actively engage in diminishing our own will in favor of the ratzon (will) of H’Shem. When we negate ourselves, we renew ourselves for the sake of H’Shem who sanctifies us. This is a two way street of reciprocity; otherwise, like two sides of the same coin. Whereof, we are sanctified by H’Shem, through our own efforts to become holy. When we separate ourselves from unholiness, we are blessed with an equal measure of kedushah from H’Shem. By serving H’Shem, we bring glory (kavod) to H’Shem.

“You are my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”

-Isaiah 49:3

Wisdom Imparted from Above

B”H

Motzei Shabbos:

Acharei Mos – Kedoshim 5780

Like a spiritual blessing, that manifests in some unknown form, so is the quality, reward, and consequence of following the mitzvot (commandments). Kedushah (holiness) is the tonic of the soul, that may permeate our lives, when we remain committed to an observance of all that the Torah entails, for the sake of our benefit. Regarding the words of wisdom that are the essence of the mitzvos, they are the essential element of our lives. “Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thy heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh” (Proverbs 4:21-22, JPS 1917 Tanach).

Wisdom imparts truth, guiding us through the challenges of our lives. H’Shem is the Source of all life; therefore, He is like a flowing stream of crystal clear water that nourishes our souls. To turn anywhere else, in our misguided attempts to live life without the constraints that only serve to sanctify our lives, is to jeopardize receiving the kedushah available to us. Although intangible, kedushah may be felt, especially on Shabbos, and Yom Tov. To be aware of the state of kedushah upon ourselves, is to live above our lower nature, in a state of perpetual aliveness.