A dear friend of mine out in the blogosphere lost her battle with cancer
recently. She was in a lot of pain, but she wanted to defeat it and go on living. Now that she has passed away,
she's gone to a place where she will never suffer or know sorrow again. She will
always know G-d and be close to Him. She will never want for anything.
Here on Earth, things are not so peachy. We suffer, we worry, we want. We
have to live without people we love or things that we want. Often, there isn't
anything we can do about it. Sometimes it seems like the easiest, even ideal
thing to do is wait to die. Why not just give up and wait for G-d to take us
into His arms? Let Him deal with everything so we don't have to worry.
The answer is simply in the fact that we are still here. If dying were all
we were meant to do, G-d would just take us. What would He put us down here if
all He wanted us to do was wait? He gave us a job to do. It's our purpose to be
here, working to bring Heaven down to Earth. G-d gave us the Mitzvos so we could
do that. Every Mitzvah we do adds one more brick to the BeisHaMikdash and brings
us one step closer to establishing G-d's kingdom on Earth and bringing Moshiach.
Chassidus teaches us that a spark of G-dliness exists within everything. That
spark is the potential to elevate any object or action to something Holy. That
means that every moment we are here on Earth, every single breath we take is a
chance to do the one thing HaShem has put us here to accomplish. It is very
easy to see the Holiness in the Big Things, the sorts of actions that we go
out of our way to do. Things like going to Synagogue or a Simcha (joyous
occasion, ie wedding, bris, bar mitzvah, etc), taking time out of our day to
Daven (pray), recite Tehillim (Psalms) or learn Torah. These actions remove us
from the mundane protocols of life and take us to a Higher Plane.
However, even the mundane protocols of life can be taken to that Higher
Plane. Drinking a glass of water, eating a meal, even getting caught in the
rain, each present a unique opportunity to elevate our G-dly sparks and bring
the light of G-d down to Earth. Stop before you take that first sip of water,
no matter how thirsty you are. In five seconds (I timed it!) you can elevate
that beverage. By making the proper Bracha (blessing) youve taken the simple
action of quenching your thirst and made it into a mitzvah. The opportunity is
even greater at lunch. Have a slice of bread with your salad. Now, you have to
wash your hands and make a bracha (thats one), make a bracha over the bread
(thats two), and then bless the meal afterward this is a collection of
blessings that takes five minutes to recite but gives you a chance to bring
G-ds presence down to your table and, G-dwilling, to rest here on Earth. If
you eat with a friend and talk a little Torah Bam! More sparks! And
company. Good deal, right?
Believe it or not, even getting caught in a thunderstorm gives you a chance
to make a blessing. The sound of thunder evokes a primal memory of creation and
thats why we say the Bracha, OsehMaasehBereishis, Blessed is HaShem, who
again performs the actions of creation. This blessing also gives you a chance
to change your perspective and see the inconvenience of rain as a pure
and the opportunity to share your umbrella with someone less prepared
for such blessings.
Rain also brings us opportunity for another mitzvah, one that combines the
going out of your way, sort with the everyday type. The Mitzvah of using
the Mikvah requires a woman to go out of her way. She must take extra time to
ensure she is completely physically clean before she goes out of her way to a
Mikvah to immerse herself. A valid immersion requires her to be free of all
intervening substances. Everything from contact lenses to jewelry, makeup and
dirt under the finger and toenails must be removed. This takes time to
complete. Once finished, the woman immerses in a Mikvah aspecial pool of
living water water connected to a natural source, which in most cases, is rain
The mitzvah here is not simply, Cleanliness is close to G-dliness.
Immersion in the Mikvah envelops a woman in Holiness, which she brings home to
her Husband. She goes from being physically clean to being spiritual purified.
Physical intimacy is an intrinsic part of every marriage. Allowing the laws of
Mikvah and Taharat Hamishpacha (Family Purity) to govern the physical
willelevate the spark contained within that marriage. Observance of this mitzvah
brings the sanctity of G-d into the home, the family and the very fiber of the
Jews are given the opportunity every day to bring Heaven to Earth in simple
ways. The nature of our relationship with G-d is so organic that He exists in
every moment of our lives. We dont need to go out of the way to reach Him,
only look deeper inside ourselves. In only seconds, we can connect with G-d.
He also gives us chances to reach out and to put ourselves out in order to reach
Him. With rituals like the Mikvah we can bring the inside out and physically
express the Holiness with which G-d trusts us. The sparks of G-ds light are
everywhere, in everything and it is up to each of us to elevate them.