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daily contemplation: Feeding the Soul

B”H

February 24, 2020

Closer to the truth than yesterday. A little more knowledgeable than the day before. Yet, what is acquired may lose significance over time unless maintained. Life lessons should lead to character improvement. For the soul is not nurtured by information in and of itself; rather, we are shaped by our life experience, as well as our response to life.

In the evening of my life, it will not be about the acquisition of knowledge as facts, information, or trivia. Most of what is absorbed on the internet on a daily basis, whether in the political, entertainment, news realm, passes by like the pixels that are constantly rearranging on the screen. Yet, there is a source of everlasting knowledge:

“Teach me good discernment and knowledge; for I have believed in Thy commandments.” – Psalm 119:66

“The fear of the L-RD is the beginning of knowledge”

– Proverbs 1:7, JPS 1917 Tanach

A reappraisal of the above mentioned verse yields greater understanding, when considering the Hebrew word, yiras, translated above as “fear.” Perhaps, a more helpful rendering would include the words, awe, reverance, and respect.

It is yiras H’Shem (fear of the L-RD) that may bring the soul into alignment with G-d’s wisdom, and His ratzon (will) for each individual. For, our lives belong to Him. “In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:10).

Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to detach ourselves from the myriad of pixels that form our opinions, influence our speech (parroting), and (dis)color our world, if we seek a true expression of the soul, in all its potential, unbound by the influx of ideas that permeate the Internet and our minds.

daily contemplation: Equanimity

B”H

February 20, 2020

The depths of pain, the heights of joy; yet, there is an equanimity to be found somewhere within the presence of G-d. “Whither shall I go from Thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there; if I make my bed in the nether-world, behold, Thou art there” (Psalm 139:7–8, JPS 1917 Tanach). “Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even weaned as a child” (Psalm 131:2, JPS 1917 Tanach).

A child weaned denotes an equanimity, wherein a person is content in this world with whatever G-d brings his way. The soul grows accustomed to whatever sustenance that G-d provides for spiritual growth. Suffering will often compel a person to reach out towards G-d; and, joy will draw out words of praise to Him. How much more so, when G-d has lifted a struggling soul, high above its personal pains and sufferings, will there indeed be reason to rejoice?

note – this is reposted from my answer to the question:

“Why is suffering just as important as joy?”

(see my profile, Tzvi Fievel at quora.com)

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