It goes without saying, M’lo Kol Ha’Aretz Kvodo, that The Creator fills the entire universe with His Presence. However, our ability as humans to experience that phenomenon is not uniformly distributed. As Jews, our ability will run much better in Eretz Yisrael, The Holy Land, than anywhere else on earth. And within Eretz Yisrael there are variations, a veritable hierarchy, as described in one of the oldest Mishnayot (early formulation of the Infinite, Oral Torah) in the fifth Mishna of the fourth Perek chapter, of Berachoth. (Berachoth, Blessings, is the first topic of the entire Talmud.) It says that if you’re riding on your donkey at the moment one can first begin to recite the Sh’ma, (The moment the edge of of the sun peeks over the horizon, illuminating the entire world),one should get off the donkey, stand next to it, facing Jerusalem, our holy city, and recite. If, however, the trail is too steep and dangerous, or if there is no one who might be able to hold your donkey for you while you focus your heart and mind elsewhere, you should, at least, while continue riding, try to turn your head so you face Jerusalem. If the trail is too dangerous for that, you should at least “incline your heart”, focus you spiritual desire, on the Holy of Holies, that central chamber of the Beit HaMikdash, the Holy Temple, wherein resided the Ark of the Covenant, containing the God-Crafted tablets of the Ten Commandments, i.e, the most specific interface of God and Man. This same spiritual “ladder”, beginning in Eretz Yisrael, continuing to Yerushalayim, Holy Jerusalem, the Holy Temple, Bet HaMikdash, Bet Kodesh HaKadoshim, the very Holy of Holies, focusing on the space between the two Keruvim, Golden Angels molded to the Ark’s very cover.
The deepest part of this journey is not even available to the vast majority of humanity, let along of the Jewish People. Rather, on the Kohain Gadol, High Priest, is momentarily allowed inside there for the few moments it takes him to carry out the details of his sacrificial duties at the culmination of holiness during the Yom Kippur service, one time a year.
As I said, the largest portion of these holy insights and perceptions elude the vast majority of our people, of all people, even if we were fully observant, immensely learned, loving and spiritual at each moment, let alone for the rest of us…..
But one higher level of consciousness is, indeed, accessible to almost every Jew who at least sets foot in the Holy Land. I, at least, find it a recurring experience.
The Meor Eynayim, Rabbi Menachem Nachum Twerski, as talmid to the Ba’al Shem Tov, himself the founder/innovator of Chassidism, as well as the Maggid of Mezzeritch, another foundational innovator of Chassidic thought, founded the Chernobler Chassidic Dynasty and along with his emphasis on special melodies and meditations to achieve high levels of awareness and compassion, emphasized the teaching that while we all do what we do on the surface of our lives, what we’re really about is searching for those specific Holy Sparks, Netzutzot HaKodesh, exclusively relevant to our individual souls. As they were scattered about Creation, our job is to resurrect them to their highest, most appropriate place in the spiritual world. This mystical description is what traditionally we have called Tikkun Olam (in contrast to social action which might in many cases be appropriate, but doesn’t carry with it the stamp of ultimate holiness if often claims to). Rather, we assume that absolutely everything God Created in the universe is absolutely necessary for us to combine into the perfect world. Restoring those displaced sparks of pure, but too-often distorted energy, repairing them before we replace them, is a spiritualist/Kabbalistic description of how we partner with The Creator to complete His Creation into the perfect state first intended.
Anyhow, the Meor Eynaim writes that as we go about our everyday lives, wondering why we’re brought here and there, wfy we find ourselves engaged with certain people in also sorts of unexpected locales, it’s specifically because these Netzutzot specifically assigned to our souls (and thus those to which we each have the precise key) are there.
This is the phenomenon I so often experience almost every normal day in Jerusalem. When I find myself at, say a random bus stop with people I’ve never seen before, I often find myself in conversation with them, or observing their interactions with others, with the sense of great epiphany. Yes, it seems silly and pretentious to find a moment at a bus stop, at line at a cashier’s, or even in deep Torah study to have such an intense and otherwise inexplicable buzz, a sense of being in just the right place in just the exact moment…. I’ve had my own experience confirmed over the years by many friends as I talk about it with them…. It’s not so much an achievement of me and my training or accomplishments, as a product of place, the Holy Land.
Even walking four cubits in the Holy Land, we’re taught, brings us the merit of Eternal Life. Every moment is filled with opportunity.