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Baltimore Riots

Thursday, 30 April, 2015 - 11:01 am

As we watch what is going on in the Baltimore riots, many have seen the story of Toya Graham who went to the scene, found her 16 year old son and brought him home. 

Toya takes her job of a mother seriously. As she told WMAR: "I'm a no-tolerant mother. Everybody who knows me, knows I don't play that, he knew. He knew he was in trouble."

Toya's story is our story. Our job is to go outside and find those people/things/events that we can have influence on and uplift them. If Toya would have stayed home, she would not have been able to get her son. She needed to go out of her "safety zone" to bring him home. 

Toya told CNN: "There are some days I'll shield him in the house just so he won't go outside." There are times that we need to bring the outside elements into our ‘safety zone’ to continue protecting them to ultimately uplift them to a higher level.

We see this message as well in this week's Torah portions; the high priest is told "that he should not come at all times into the Holy" - we cannot spend all of our time in the "holy", one’s personal spiritual service of G-d. 

When we go, at the right time, into our personal holy space, the Torah instructs us: With this shall the high priest, Aaron, enter the Holy; only when he has a pan full of burning coals and hands full of fine incense. Once he is there, he shall place the incense upon the fire, before the Lord, so that the cloud of the incense shall envelope the ark cover that is over the [tablets of] Testimony. Only once inside the Holy of Holies is he to place the incense on the coals.

The incense included galbanum, a bitter but potent fragrance, teaching us that even in our holiest place we must remember it’s our job to uplift those who feel bitter.

So get out there and uplift someone else and make the world a better place – this too is part and parcel of our spiritual service.

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman 

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