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Netzavim: 1. The Calling 2. Existence Unplugged

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The Calling

Is religion relevant to our modern times? Is the spiritual path accessible in our materialistic universe?

As we come to the finish line of this Hebrew Year (next week is Rosh Hashana), now is an opportune moment to look at some of the big issues and challenges facing us today.

The calling of our time is to imbue our children with a sense of purpose and mission in life. It seems like a daunting task. But we must remember what Moses says in this week’s Torah reading, “The mandate that I give to you today is not beyond you nor distant from you. It is not in heaven … It is not over the sea … It is something very close …”

We must tell our children – and before that, we must tell ourselves – that we are all in this together. When we see ourselves as mere material creatures, we have no other recourse than drawing “lines in the sand” that define our boundaries and differences. The cardinal law of matter, after all, is that each of its pieces occupies its own space, distinct from others. However, when we recognize our spiritual commonality, then we see ourselves more like common limbs of one organism. Then we see ourselves as fundamentally and inherently connected, each complementing and depending on the other.

Rosh Hashana – the birthday of humanity – celebrates the Divine Image we all share. And this clues us into God’s innermost thoughts. What do they look like? They look like you and me. We are God’s expression of His innermost thoughts. And what is God thinking about right now? About us.

Existence Unplugged

We live in a broken world. In one way or another, we feel broken. And as Rosh Hashana approaches, we feel our broken world being shaken. At such a time, we can attain a certain measure of solace by transcending the mechanics of existence and traveling toward its core. Because, by invoking the Source of it all, we have the power to renew our contract with the Cosmic Architect in order to “rewire” the dynamics of what is happening to us.

Our brokenness is the best thing about us. For there is nothing as whole as a broken heart.

The truth is that the world is a broken place – a broken place full of broken people – whose job is to mend what is broken. As we approach Rosh Hashana – when we celebrate the birthday of the first human being who was created to be God’s partner is mending this broken place – let us remember what it is all about.

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