Our Personal Journey
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| Published: July 13, 2021
This week’s music: https://youtu.be/54uV1b0SOtY
אהבת חינם יהודה כ״ץ Ahavat Chinam
Our Personal Journey
How can we help put an end to all of the craziness that is going on in both our collective and individual lives? Here we are, Parshat Matot- Masei once again and we need to find a way to presently identify with the 42 stops that B’nai Yisrael made in the desert on their way to arrive and enter into the holiness of Eretz Yisrael. ”And you shall inherit her and dwell in her because I gave this Land to you”(Bamidbar 33.53).
Have you ever given someone a gift only to arrive at their house one day with the following scenario? ”Hey where’s that beautiful vase that I gave you for your birthday? Oops!!! I guess I gave it away, you know exchanged it for credit at that store. I am sure I will use it some day. Oh you didn’t like it. I bought the wrong gift. I should’ve known.” We have this beautiful gift that Hashem granted upon us more than 3700 years ago. What could be holding us back from accepting and willingly inheriting this beautiful gift of The Holy Land which Hashem gave us with love? Basically we haven’t been able to get it together on a collective level. We can’t seem to agree on the basics that unite us in place of the differences which can divide us. We can’t seem to accept the utter importance of collectively accepting this gift right now as it stares us in the face begging us to embrace its sanctity and personal connection to us.
In short, we see ourselves as different . I am not charedi, I am not secular, I am not reform , I am not religious. Don’t give up on anyone ! There are 70 faces to the Holy Torah, or even according to the Slonimer Rebbe’s teaching of The Holy Zohar, 600,000,000 explanations to The Holy Torah, each one personally sending me the message of what it is that I need to fix in this world. As The Slonimer Rebbe continues, we simply have no idea of all that is really hidden in The Holy Torah. The Torah, like The Land of Israel, given to us with love and fraught with mystery, are two gifts like no other. They , as The Baal Shemtov describes, are integral stops on the way of each of our individual and collective life journeys.
The “Degel Machaneh Efraim,” was written by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Efraim, grandson of The Holy Baal Shemtov. He quotes his grandfather as giving over that in everyone’s journey in life there are 42 “spiritual encampments,” mirroring the 42 stops that “B’nai Yisrael” made in the desert as they prepared to enter “Eretz Yisrael.” These are the moments when I need to assess my life’s journey and see where have I come from, be fully aware of where am I now and be clearly focused on where am I going to.
So basically what I need to do every step on my personal journey, physical and spiritual, is to look at myself as honestly as I can and ask myself, who was I? Who am I now? Who would I like to be? How do I get closer to my soul’s goal in this world? Once I do that it becomes so clear that only with “shlemut,” completion, can those questions be answered and translated into and honest collective reality. The more I invest my time and focus into this self-introspection and desire for internal fixing and change, the less I am apt to need to be judging anyone else. I suspect that were it not for the heavy influence of various cultures around the world, we wouldn’t all seem so different to each other. There is no part of Am Yisrael that has found exemption from outside influences. No questions that these influences have served to bring some of us together while simultaneously dividing us from a much larger percentage of our people. The Talmud ( Yona 86.a) teaches us that the most complete way to “return to Hashem’s palace is through “Teshuvah me’ahavah,” returning from a place of love. It is that type of returning that reaffirms in us that any childish mistakes, iniquity, and even haughtiness are simply left behind when we are coming from a place of love.
What’s happening now is but one more stop on our collective journey, mirroring the 42 stops that “B’nai Yisrael” made in the desert as they prepared to enter “Eretz Yisrael.” Each stop along the way, camping there just long enough to pick up the “sparks” that needed to be collected and brought home. And so it continues. For the past 2,000 years “B’nai Yisrael,” the Jewish people, have been picking up the lost sparks’ travelling from country to country, finding “success” ; enjoying, feeling welcomed and comfortable in their new “habitat,” only time and time again to suddenly be told to leave, same as we were told in the desert. You are no longer welcome. Your job is done here. We have always moved on, unknowingly going to the next destination to gather together more “missing sparks” that will eventually be drawn to the beauty of our true home, “Eretz Yisrael.” It seems to be time for all of “Am Yisrael” to move on and claim their inheritance, their rightful place together in The Holy Land, together in every sense of the word. May we be blessed to cherish that idea and experience extremely soon. We all need to acknowledge it, own it , want it and then do it now, for the sake of “shlemut” for all of Am Yisrael which will open the roads for Peace in the world.
If we were able to look at these great gifts and realize how much Hashem loves us, 24/7 , we would not be afraid of each other simply because we may have radically different views. We would feel secure , humble and caring and ready to stop judging and begin accepting .”Nothing to fear ,but fear itself!”( Franklin Delanor Rossevelt, 1933).So please friends. Let’s stop allowing any forces to scare us and further divide us from each other. Quite the opposite is in order. It is the true test of our time to see if we can rally together in holiness and actualize the Oneness that has been waiting for us for thousands of years.
May we all be blessed to feel the great love at each of our 42 stops along the path and build on each one to take down more walls between us and strengthen the core organic connection that exists and is waiting for us to reawaken now!