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Why do you do it?

Thursday, 18 February, 2016 - 10:02 am


All Jews observe Torah and Mitzvot; some observe more and some less. We observe either 
1) out of awe or 
2) because we have an active loving relationship with G-d or 
3) because it is tradition.

When we serve because we are in awe of this awesome G-d, we follow what G-d wants and it is irrelevant which specific mitzvah we are following. We are doing what G-d wants us to do.

When one serves G-d with a loving relationship, each detail is important as each is an expression of love; the right type of flowers on the right day or taking out the trash, each is its own unique expression of love. 

One can say that the one who is in awe of G-d has their back facing to G-d, they cannot look directly at G-d while the one who is in love with G-d, has a face to face relationship. 

This is one of the explanations why the 12 stones on the High Priest’s (Kohen Gadol) breastplate were each unique stones with the name of one tribe engraved on each one, as well as it being worn in the front. The breastplate represents one who has a face to face, loving relationship with G-d so it is frontward facing and each detail is different.

The Kohen Gadol also wore an ephod (like a backwards apron) which had two stones on it. Each stone had 6 names of the tribes engraved on it. The ephod represents one who serves G-d from awe – where one does not face G-d and the mitzvot are the expression of this one feeling.

The stones in the ephod were the shoham stone, Joseph's name on the breastplate was engraved on a shoham stone as well. This is because serving G-d out of awe is a harder service, one that has less excitement and passion and more of a chance of slipping when the world around us challenges our relationship with G-d. Joseph epitomized this. As viceroy of Egypt, regularly challenged, he was still able to maintain a real relationship with G-d.

Only with the power of Joseph can we be successful in serving G-d from a place of awe.

Good Shabbos,

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman


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