Sunday, March 18, 2007

This Month is Yours

OK, a bit late. But it was cooking last week...

The blue is background; If you lack patience, skip it.

This Shabbos, Parshas Hachodesh was read in shul. Parshas Hachodesh is the portion in the Torah in which G-d tells Moshe Rabbeinu that the month of the Exodus is to be counted as the first month of the Jewish year. From the wording of the verse, Rashi derives that G-d showed Moshe Rabbeinu an image of the moon as it appears when the new month is to be sanctified.

Notice that the calendar months are defined by when the Jewish court of law proclaims them. (Note: today we follow a set calendar because the court of Hillel sanctified all future months until the year 6000 or so) Accordingly, during kiddush on holydays, we say, "Mekadesh Yisrael Vehazmanim-- G-d sanctified Israel and the times" --
The holiness of the Jewish people is above time.

Thus far, I have been speaking in stricly technical terms about the Jewish law.
Now I'm looking outward, onward, inward:

Essentially, what this means is that we are in control of our time. Time doesn't dictate what I have to do. As King David said in Psalms, "A-eerah shochar-- I shall wake the dawn." Not "in the dawn" or "at dawn." A David Hamelech doesn't say, "Oh, it's morning, that means I have to get up." A David Hamelech decides it's time to start his day of serving HaShem, and starts it. A David Hamelech is an initiator, not a reactor.

When you start with a goal, you are in control. You're not letting the "times," or circumstances, decide what you'll do. A Jew cannot afford to let time control him -- he has his own agenda, namely avodas HaShem.

So, bli neder, tomorrow I will have a plan. Nothing will be able to distract me because I know exactly where I am heading. Of course, I will also have to plan for obstacles, but since I have anticipated them first, I am already ahead of the game.

Tomorrow I take the first step. A'eerah shochar -- Awake, dawn! I am ready!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Amidah Prayer

Steps away
from stress
from time
from earth.

Steps closer
to G-d
to peace
to reality.

This time is mine. It is dedicated to my soul, to express its longing for truth, for G-d. I am able to stop short in the middle of a hectic day, and know that I am intimately connected to a higher source. My eyes can refocus, giving perspective and direction to each action of the day. The prayer infuses me with purpose and with power.

All day I can be involved in mundane matters, but if I dedicate this time strategically, they can all become meaningful. On the other hand, if I fail to tap into the power source, I become sucked into an endless spiral of aspiritual pursuits.

How cunning is the yetzer, which manages time and again to rob me of the full prayer experience; worse yet, to convince me to willingly cast it away.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Great Revolution

Don't know about the rest of you, but I experienced a very encouraging trend this Purim:
The decline of themed mishloach manot.

I witnessed a back-to-basics revolution as people handed me paper bags with some random candies and maybe a hamantash. My family received an all time low of three thematic packages today.

Does this mean that people are beginning to realize that they are not to be judged by the originality of their theme?

Perhaps it is a result of mothers reorganizing their priorities.

Or maybe I'm just mixing in the nebby circles.

In any case, the themes were not terribly missed and their absence did not at all detract from my Purim joy.