There is a kabbalist named the Ben Ish Chai who said that our purpose is not only to correct our negativity, but also to check our positive attributes and make sure we are using them for the common good. Let’s say, for example, that someone is a good salesperson; he’s good at making a profit for himself. The point for him would be perhaps to find a way to use his selling skills to explain a concept that can help others. Each and every one of us has specific strengths and talents. The question is: What are we doing with them?
This week’s Bible portion is called Acharei Mot, which in English means “after death.” Quite fittingly, therefore, the energy this week is ripe for us to question and reorganize our priorities: To go beyond our values of today and to see what we would do if suddenly we were put in a position where we have only six weeks, one month, or even just 24 hours to live. What would we do with our time? Would we continue to be as involved in the nonsense of our lives? Would we be able to sit in a place where we are surrounded every day by people we don’t believe in? We have the power to keep the friends that are real or pick up the phone and remember to say to our true friends, “You know, you’ve always been there for me. Thank you.”
Acharei Mot brings us to the realization that can shift our priorities. Oftentimes we say, “There is always tomorrow.” But is there? We can choose the way we interact with things that are important. We can stop wasting time and get rid of the garbage in our life.
Because you know what? We are at a place where we all will be brought to a higher consciousness in one of two ways. The first is by our own action: By proactively looking through the schmutz in our life and trying to find a way to change it. The other way is by inaction, in which case we will have no choice but to react to the pain and chaos that comes at us.
At the point of “acharei mot,” the point of “after dying,” however, there is no such thing as passivity. There is a cosmic link that is forcing us as individuals to change and rearrange ourselves. The rug is being pulled out from beneath us and swept clean. If we don’t get rid of our garbage proactively this year, the universe will do it for us.
It’s one way or the other.
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