In this week’s parsha, the Jewish people receive their first mitzvah as a nation: the sanctification of the new month, essentially providing the framework for the Jewish calendar system. What are the mitzvot really about? Ori Melamed is a Israeli comedian who transitioned into a life of mitzvah observance. Upon being questioned for his decision, he penned what Judaism means to him. I’d like to share this with you all as a means to re-inspire us to reach higher in our Judaism and reconnect with that inner flame that pushes us to do more mitzvot and come closer to God. . He writes about what the terms prayer, language and holiness mean to him:
To pray – but not in the borrowed sense like when I used to say, “I pray that the opposing team will lose the game,” which really meant that I hoped that something good will happen. Now when I say to pray, I mean to stand and concentrate on meeting the Master of the World and to let the words of the prayers flow over me. To feel that I am not here. To breathe. To be one with the words. To go back three steps at the start of the Amida and to find myself out of this world, out of the universe, out of the rat race. I find myself saying ancient words, my spirit and soul suddenly in the center, my body resting on the sidelines.
Language – words and expressions such as holiness, modesty, blessings, God’s Name, the Hallel prayer, soul, and Hasidism were once irrelevant and orphaned to me. Now they are part of my lexicon and life.
Holiness – we need to have both a holy realm and a profane one. Not everything can be profane. Just like we cannot have the Shabbat lights burning for seven days, so we cannot have the stores open for seven days. Because there is a holy time, a holy place, holy words, holy actions. There are words we say on Shabbat and words for weekdays. There are actions we do when we perform a mitzvah and we have religious articles we use when per forma mitzvah. We have high and low, this world and the World to Come, pure and impure, Paradise or the unmentionable alternative, Shabbat and Motzaei Shabbat.
May we have a restful and inspiring Shabbat,