the light in your wake

At my sister's wedding, I met a nice guy. Organic perma-culture gardener extraordinaire, Akiva, who recently came on aliyah. He was standing under the chuppa after the event had taken place, in his words he was soaking up all the energy and light, because no one else seemed to be interested in doing so. He stayed there for quite some time. It bothered me a little and took me a few minutes to understand where exactly the rub was.

Of course! As Jews, we don't go around looking for energy to soak up. As Jews, it is our mission to make everyone aware of the infinite light lurking in the depths of any thing, any place, any person. God totally and utterly permeates all of the creation. Wherever we go, we are meant to leave a wake of revellation, revealing that light, turning it on for all to see. When we aren't doing that, woe unto us, woe unto everyone else.

Today is the 10th of tevet, a fast that reminds us of just one of the many sufferings our people have gone through, mainly because of our lack of goodwill towards one another. The Baal Shem Tov says that everyone of our experiences is a personal show God is putting on just for us. I'd like to bring a different angle for a minute. Whenever we are experienceing this personal show as a revellation of God, whenever we are picking up our side of the conversation that God is patiently waiting to have with us, the light that shines outward from that interaction draws and warms others. The best way to help eveyrone around you is to personally engage HaShem.

The Noam Elimelech says of Noah, that we know the Torah says he was a tzaddik in his generation and that he travelled always with God; but what does that mean? He explains, that a tzaddik's actions and devotion to HaShem bring the revellation of God's blessing down on his whole generation, and that because Noah also travelled through the supernal realms, he brought life not only to his generation, but also to the worlds above. From this we can learn that through our actions, the light spills over to those around us wherever we may go.

When you witness suffering or trouble in your proximity, it's a chance to deepen you relationship with HaShem, to spill more light over and heal the suffering of those around you. Don't forget of course that the mitzvah (tzedakka) applies first and foremost to those in your proximity--so if others seem to need your time/energy/food/money, then giving that which others near you need can also be used a channel to deepen your relationship with God even further. (Remember also that the actions of mitzvot draw light from a place so high it is beyond all comprehension.)


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