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This article on the portion of the week was previously published in 2017.
There are many components to spirituality. Of course, there is study through which we can gleam insight into the many profundities of the Creator’s magnificence. There is also prayer, a channel whereby words and thoughts can connect us with God’s ever-present Light. Both these pieces are important, and yet there is another component, one I feel is the most powerful towards attaining a spiritual lifestyle and all the blessings and fulfillment that come with it.
This is what I like to call spirituality in action. For there is nothing that generates more positivity in the world than extending our hearts to one another, or lending a helping hand to someone in need.
"To pray to God is beautiful and to study God is the path to enlightenment, but to become like God is truly Divine."
In the Zohar portion that we read this week, there is a story of a little six-year old boy, called the Yenuka who had a gift of spiritual vision. When two visitors entered his house (who were righteous souls, by the way), he was able to "see" that they had not done the set prayers. He could "see" that they had not established certain spiritual channels in place for that day. Not only is this a testament to the fact that little children generally have more access to the unseen realm than do adults, but as the story progresses, we find a great lesson.
After the little boy calls out these two righteous individuals, they are astounded. They confirm that yes, he is correct--they had skipped their connections. But then they explain the reason: They were busy helping a couple in need for their wedding, but had no family or friends to support them. They missed their own "time" with the Creator, because they had been "walking" the "talk." They knew that this action of true sharing, for which there would be no payback or return, was most important for that morning.
What an excellent reminder! It's so easy to fall into a groove with our own spiritual work and forget the reason we traverse this spiritual path in the first place. Through the Torah, we are blessed with definite guidelines, but we must never forget the ideas of empathy, kindness, and human dignity; for inevitably they are what change the world.
This concept reminds me of the idea that when the Creator created this Earth, He did so with Laws of Nature. But he also created specific points in time and space, where there would be an exception to those Laws, as when the sun stood still in the sky for Joshua. So too is it on our path. We will all have times when we will be called upon to help someone else, sacrificing something of our own. The point to remember is that when it comes to sharing, we are the ones who truly benefit from the exchange.
In the Torah for this week (Devarim), Moses rebukes the Israelites, not out of disdain or anger, but out of love. He was helping them see the places where they needed to transform. He knew they had to be able to stand on their own two feet. He knew they had to learn to make decisions-- not for the sake of looking good or fitting in, but to grow their spiritual nature, just as the two righteous souls did in this story. This is the gift we all receive as well.
This is a week to demonstrate spirituality in action. The immortal aspect of ourselves is constantly looking to share, to care, to pray for others, to give and receive love freely. Let's remain ever open to the opportunities that arise.