Friday, June 12, 2009

This week’s Parsha is B’Ha-alotkha. This translates
to when you cause yourself to rise up. This is part
of the command that God tells Moses to give to
Aaron and his sons regarding the Menorah. It is interesting
to me that Torah uses the form of the word
that is causative: ‘when you cause yourself to rise up,’
rather than just saying, ‘when you go up’ or ‘get up!’
The Torah uses this particular form, causative. So,
what I understand from this is that when doing a
Mitzvah, we must be deliberate and aware of what we
are doing. We must cause ourselves to perform a
Mitzvah so that we are not doing a routine routinely;
rather we are at one with ourselves, God and the task
at hand. We are performing this Mitzvah at this time
in this manner.
Are we causing ourselves to do Mitzvot? Do we take responsibility
for the actions that we cause ourselves to
take? What makes us blame others for the things that we
cause? When are we present enough in our lives to be
aware of what we are doing, the ramifications, both short
and long term, on others and

This Parsha also has in it the verses we say each
time we take the Torah from the Ark. In Chapter 10,
verses 35 and 36, the text says, V’Yhi Binsoah
HaAron, ‘When the Ark was to journey, Moses
would say: Kumah Adonai, ‘Rise God and scatter your
enemies and make the ones that hate you flee from
before you.’ Moses said these words when the Israelites
were to move in the desert; we say them when we
are to move in our service and in our living. I want to
look at these words carefully with you.

The first phrase, “When the Ark was to journey/
set out” is said when we open up the Ark for the
Torah Service. What journey is the Torah taking? The
Torah is setting out amongst the people of the congregation.
The journey is to remind each person that
there is a Torah and the words in it are the path to
wholeness and decency. The journey is going from a
safe, protected place to a place of the unknown. This
is not only the journey of the Torah, it is our journey
as well. We have to join in following the Torah on its
journey. We have to set out on the path that Torah is
forging for us.
What is the path that you are taking in your life? Is it the
path that the Torah has taught and led you on? Is it the
path that you have decided on because you are ‘the captain
of your own ship’? How are you living safe rather than
authentic? What are you trying to protect living in your
protected, gated, armored self?

The next phrase, “Rise/get up God” is a trip to
me. God is always up! Who is the Torah talking to?
Surely God does not need us to be God’s alarm clock.
Is it tremendous chutzpah to think that we have to
awaken God? Of course we are being taught to
awaken the Divine Image inside of us. We are being
told that the journey we are on is for the sake of our
Divinity and for the sake of God. We are being told
that we must be aware of where we are and who we
are before we set out on any journey, any task.

Are we aware of where we are, what we are doing, whom
we are doing it for? When we leave our homes in the morning,
have we woken up our Divine Image? What is our
Spiritual Practice for doing this? How do we help others
awaken the Divine Image inside them?

Then Torah continues with “scatter your enemies.”
You notice that it doesn’t say ‘destroy your
enemies.’ Torah is teaching us not to get so full of
ourselves that we think that we can destroy our enemies
forever. Rather it is telling us that living from
our Divine Image scatters our enemies, those inner
forces that continually lie to us and try to ensnare us.
By scattering them, we are able to deal with them
with a winning plan rather than keep trying to kill the
What are our inner enemies? What lies do they tell us that
we still believe? How do we continue to use old weapons
that have proven ineffectual against them? Are we scattering
them by living from our Divine Image or are we making
them stronger by living from fear and our lower image of

The last phrase we are looking at is, “make the
ones that hate you flee from before you.” This
teaches us that there are outside enemies as well.
Don’t get caught up in taking too much on yourself.
While I can’t change others, I can protect myself
from those that hate me. I don’t have to make friends
with everyone. I have to recognize friend from enemy.
Then I have to shine my Divinity as the flashlight
that lights the way in front of me. In this way,
it is too bright for my enemies and they run away. I
know that they will come back and I can rejoice that I
have a reprieve from them based on my Spiritual condition.
Who are your outer enemies? How have you confused
them to be friends? What makes you continue to have relationships
with ‘evil friends, lovers, enemies’? When are
you going to shine your Divinity and let them flee from before

May this Shabbat bless us with the strength to rise
up and live our lives.
May this Shabbat bless us with the courage to
shine our Divinity before friend and foe.
May this Shabbat bless us with the Grace
to accept our true purpose and live
our unique life. Shabbat Shalom

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