Short Thoughts at 60

As a rabbi, I often find that the best way I can help someone in their spiritual explorations is to try very hard to not place any obstacles in their way.  The most common mistake, I find, is pushing someone to be more observant.  More often than not, I’ve merely created resistance.

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Teaching by example can be very powerful.  It’s important to make sure, however, that the right message gets across.  Much of what I do, especially in the realm of religious observance, I do because it’s the right thing for me to do.  However, all too often, it results in isolation and becomes an uphill struggle.  I fear that while the lesson I’m trying to teach is that some things are so important, you do them even if they don’t bring immediate and apparent happiness, too often only the message some people see is that these efforts bring unhappiness.  Times like these, only direct words can indicate the emphasis.

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In the desert, we too often merely heard the words of God, but we too rarely took the time to see Him beneath the mundane, daily reality of our lives.  With infinitely more distraction these days, it’s harder, but at least as vital for us to make those efforts.

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 The goal of Mitzva fulfillment and Halachic observance should be the intense, almost overwhelming experience of God each and every moment.  Of course, we might not reach or long maintain this spiritual/emotional/intellectual/physical peak, but that, rather than conformity or obsessiveness or arrogance, should be our beacon.

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 Embracing our own imperfections is unavoidable if we hope to engage the Infinite God.

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