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Creating Unity

Wednesday, 27 January, 2016 - 7:30 pm

Dollarphotoclub_58963152.jpgThere are many things that do not mix, either naturally or in our minds. Water and oil do not mix naturally and in our minds; peanut butter and jelly do mix well.

Water flows, it does not stand tall like a wall — except for when it did, at the splitting of the red sea. Amalek the nation that symbolically is the perpetual enemy of the Jewish people — and when needed the Jews engage Amalek in battle and are victorious.

In this week's Torah portion, Yisro, we read about the Jewish people receiving the Torah. The Torah tells us: "Now Moses' father in law, Yisro, the chieftain of Midian, heard all that G-d had done for Moses and for Israel, His people; that the Lord had taken Israel out of Egypt." One would typically assume that "all that G-d had done" includes everything, from the ten plagues to the splitting of the sea, from the Manna from heaven to the war with Amalek. 

Rashi, however, comments that it refers specifically to the splitting of the sea and the war with Amalek. Rashi is teaching us something integral; Yisro heard that the Jewish people were setting out to infuse the physical with a G-dly purpose. In things that are "indifferent" to spirituality and to the Jewish mission in the world, as well as engaging the "enemies of the Jews" so that the Torah can permeate all existence.

The water at the red sea isn't pro or anti the Jewish mission - but when needed it helped. Amalek is against the Jewish mission and when needed the Jews engaged with Amalek in war.  

The message for us is clear. When we bless G-d daily for giving us the Torah, we say "Blessed are you the one who gives the Torah" [in Hebrew grammar it is in present tense, the one who is currently giving the Torah]. Daily, we should try to make sure that we take something that "does not mix" with G-d and infuse it with G-dliness.

One may think that food is not, nor can it be, holy. Yet, when you eat kosher food and make a blessing, even if it's but once a day, you have unified the physical with the spiritual.

Can the weekend be holy? Yes! When you celebrate Shabbat — even if just the beginning with candles, Kiddush and Hamotzi or ending with Havdalah after sundown - you have unified the physical with the spiritual.

Go for it — create unity!

Have a good Shabbos

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman 

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