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Relationships - From Good To Profound:

Friday, 18 June, 2010 - 12:33 pm

Relationships are typically based on the "what's in it for me" factor. That is true even if the "what's in it for me" is lofty, like intellectual accomplishment. Let's talk about male-female relatlionships; what's in it for me? Physical attraction, security, "you make me laugh", "you make me whole". Get my drift?
Now, that's not to say that there is anything wrong with this. In fact, on one level we are bound to the human tools available to connect with others. These tools are our consciousness and how we see the other one assisting us in being all we can be.
The difference between a good relationship and a profound one is when the emotion and intellect don't like what they are experiencing. Things don't make sense and they don't feel comfortable. What happens then? Do you give up, lose your cool, walk out? Or do you do the right thing anyway?
It is at that moment that the relationship ceases being a good one (sometimes if even that) and becomes a profound one. That is because it has moved away from the human tools of connection to a transcendent one.
This is what we are introduced to in the opening of this week's Torah portion. The Torah talks of the commandment of purifying one who has come in contact with the dead. A unique ritual of spraying a concoction consisting of the ashes of a rare red heifer with spring water and hyssop grass purifies the person from his impurity. 
It is a commandment that does not make sense, it is not logical, it doesn't sit comfortably emotionally, but it is an example of the transcendent aspect of our relationship. It is so much so, that the Torah calls it the Chukas HaTorah - The decree of the Torah. Decrees by definition are instructions that must be obeyed at all times even and perhaps particularly when they don't make sense.
In our relationship with G-d, as with human beings, it is this moment that we move from  a good relationship to a profund one. It is at that moment when we do the Mitzvah, not because it feels good, not because it makes sense, but simply out of obedience, that we graduate to a new level in our relationship.
Try it on the human level and try it on the G-dly level and watch new vistas open before you!  
Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman

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