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Spirit + Ritual = Spiritual

Thursday, 28 October, 2021 - 10:28 pm

“Imagine the sun above you, picture it radiating from within itself, shining its light out through space, through the layers of our atmosphere, through the clouds, through a skylight, through a thin curtain stretched across the skylight, through the space between the curtain and you and all the way into your skin and deep into you. Think of the light as a single reality in all of the above mentioned phases at the same time…”

I got this in an email from a friend, describing the innovation to Judaism of the fifth Chabad Rebbe, the Rebbe Rashab, who passed away in 1920. He was reminding me that it was the Rebbe Rashab’s birthday, born in 1860. For some reason, I couldn’t get the email out of my head.

Judaism has two parts; the ritual, the mitzvos, the set of practices that empower you to reveal the infinite light within your soul and to reveal the soul in everything around us. At the same time, the Rebbe Rashab revealed, not only are we revealing a light, but we are also creating a new energy when we put these rituals into practice. When we do another mitzvah, we actually create a new spark, a new warmth and a new energy in the world around us.

Spirit + Ritual = Spiritual 

Many people view Judaism as a culture. Others view it as a set of rules and laws. In reality, it is the fusion of ritual and the creation of spirit that unites the physical and the intangible. This combination gives us the ability to literally transform the world and create things out of thin air, to create an energy that makes the world around us a place where G-d will feel at home and where we express our truest identity.

As I spend some time this weekend with fellow Chabad rabbis from around the world, it’s an opportunity for each of us, as rabbis, to ensure that the light of our souls has not dimmed and that our communities are continuing to benefit from this light. We are consistently reminded that the ultimate goal is to make the world the place where G-d feels comfortable, and His essence can be revealed in a tangible way. The only way to do this is by each and every one of us creating this light, by doing another mitzvah.

Have a good Shabbos,

There will not be services at Chabad this week.

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

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