reflection by Genevieve Greinetz, rabbinic intern
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For me, mundane life is one of the biggest spiritual challenges. When I am not on retreat, when things are settled and “uninteresting” in my life, when I am on an airplane, or at the grocery store—these can be times that I am not curiously exploring the details of my surroundings. I trust that if I were to awaken and look deeply into those moments, profundity would be abundant.
There are sections of Torah that challenge me in those very ways. Parshiot likeB’hukotaiin which there are no stories or characters to analyze. Some of these parshiot are like mundane moments in life. All Torah is sacred, and perhaps all life is, too—so even the mundane is well worth awakening to.
The Hasidic masters were able to peer into any moment in the Torah and receive it as a call to awakening. In his commentary on this week’s parsha (in Israel), the Me’or Enayim discusses following commandments for which there is no apparent reason. His well-crafted response is that a person needs to have faith that there is a Creator and that the illogical mitzvot are mixed in with the divine will. He meanders before reaching this conclusion, and along the way he speaks of an idea that he often returns to. He says that the 248 positive and 365 negative commandments in the Torah mirror the 248 tissues and 365 sinews in a person’s body. The Torah and the human have the same “genetic” makeup in their “spiritual bodies.” If one engages in deep introspection, it is akin to Torah study. When a person is aligned with their spiritual body and acting in integrity with it, they will observe all mitzvot by default because, according to Me’or Enayim, that is the natural way.
His commentary suggests that everything, even the illogical and the mundane holds divinity. If we awaken ourselves to our internal landscape, we will begin to see the sacred in the mundane, and vice versa. Some junctures in life and in Torah are irresistible to awaken to because they are exciting, interesting, and obviously sacred. At other points, we are challenged to wake up when there is nothing to jostle us out of the comfort of slumber. We are challenged to have faith that there is something divine happening right now and we could catch a glimpse if we lookin to what is happening. The Me’or Enayim’s reading is a call to wake up to the unfathomable sacredness of this very moment—no matter what it may seem like.
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