Rabbi's Weekly Teaching
Friday, February 1, 2013
Within Judaism we cannot overstate why we must constantly strive to live a life of kindness and love. To succeed in this endeavor, we work on cultivating the skill to really see people who are in need. The development of this spiritual sight is proven by our ability to witness the invisible becoming visible.
Every morning, within our sacred liturgy, we thank God for giving us the "capacity to see". Right after this bracha we then thank God for teaching us to "clothe the naked", "release the oppressed", "raise up the lowly", "sustain the universe", "provide for daily needs", "live a life of courage", and "finding our strength."
It is not an accident that our "sight" comes before these next items of importance. If we were unable to see need, it would be impossible to succeed in "clothing the naked, releasing the oppressed", etc. Only with "open eyes" can we better perform our acts of love and kindness.
Love and kindness have the power to transform the world. Each of us is created in God's image. We all need to receive love, and we all need to provide love. This, however, is not always easy. Often we train ourselves to close our eyes. We train ourselves to walk the streets with our blinders on, only looking to where we wish to travel. We choose our car routes to avoid the streets that we don't want to see.
We can become frightened by witnessing first hand, illness, disability, or age, because we fear our own fragility. So, we avoid the unpleasant. We succeed in making the visible become invisible. We push to the side another in need, allowing the dark shadow of indifference to block out their presence.
God gave us our Torah to make sure we always "see" that at every opportunity we're to witness that the stranger in front of us actually isn't a stranger, but instead our brother or our sister.
As Jews we're taught at a young age that if we drop our prayer book we pick it up and kiss it. Most of us don't even hesitate in this simple ritual action. But, what of the human being who has been dropped; the fellow being created equally in God's image; are we as quick to pick him or her up and kiss them with our love? Shouldn't we be even quicker to pick up the human being with love than our prayer book?
It's not easy to open our eyes; to care about strangers. But, we have to ritually cultivate this very behavior each and every day. We need to train ourselves to bolster our impulses of love and kindness.
For our children and grandchildren we model for them the required behavior and demonstrate how we will go out of the way to help others.
God gave us the capacity to see; and the power of our love. We have the power to rescue turbulent souls; let's take every opportunity to do so, and then we succeed to "crown God's glory within our world".
Green Powered by Whole Megillah