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Thursday, 27 October, 2011 - 2:28 pm

Are you a refractor?

With all the negativity out there let's focus on the positive! How about light? Or better yet, Rainbows. They are so colorful and they seem to bring a smile every time we see them.

Where do Rainbows come from?

A rainbow is an optical and meteorological phenomenon that causes a spectrum of light to appear in the sky when the Sun shines onto droplets ofmoisture in the Earth's atmosphere. They take the form of a multicolored arc, with red on the outer part of the arch and violet on the inner section of the arch. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow

Now, that we have understood the technical side of it, let's look to the spiritual origin and meaning of the Rainbow.

The Torah in this weeks Portion "Noach" tells us that G-d introduced into nature and placed in the sky a Rainbow after the Flood as a sign of His promise never again to destroy all of Mankind notwithstanding our shortcomings.

But why a Rainbow?

As mentioned a Rainbow is the light of sun refracting from the moisture in the air. Imagine the moisture as a thick coarse piece of stone or wood. The light would not refract from such an object. Now think of the people and the Earth prior to the flood, they were a coarse lot. They wouldn't have refracted much light at all. But after the flood, after the Earth was purified the very nature was now able to refract light.

There is a powerful lesson for us particularly now after the High Holiday season: 
To bring light we must be refined, we ourselves must strive for purity. For a short while you can convince others of your purity, but If it is not backed up by your internal system and internal refine-ness it will eventually cease.

To use the words of the Talmud, "words that leave the heart, enter the heart".

On Rosh Hashanah we are given "renewal" for the year and on Yom Kippur we are cleansed for the year. We are now in a strong position to nurture that refine-ness, both by nurturing ourselves through Torah Study and Prayerand by refracting that light to others through Mitzvot and reaching out. 

May this year be a year of bright shining positive lights! Have a great shabbat and see you at services. 

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

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