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Rabbi Mendy Herson's Blog

Thoughts from, and conversations with, Rabbi Herson

Catapult or Slingshot

Mendy Head Shot2.jpgMobility is good. It sounds positive, upbeat.

But not all flux is healthy. Agitation and displacement are active words, but they smack of the negative.

As human beings, we find basic peace when we’re at rest. That’s how we fall asleep and that’s how you catch your breath. At the same time, you don’t accomplish much by standing still. Instinctively, we want to touch something higher; we yearn to rise above the mundanity of life.

In spiritual terms: Our souls have a core desire to touch the Divine.

Scripture quotes G-d as saying (Hosea 14:9): “I am like a supple Cedar…”

The Cedar is a tall tree; the ‘supple Cedar’ imagery is that of a tree we can bend all the way down to our level, so that we can hang on – being catapulted higher - as it returns to its natural position.

This is how G-d describes Himself. G-d reaches down to us - giving tangible, physical Mitzvos and making Holiness available through proper living - and thus gives us the opportunity to be lifted aloft. Through focused living, and the intimate connection that comes with prayer, we are propelled to a higher state; we’re closer to the Divine, closer to ourselves.

Scripture also describes a second – an undesirable - type of ‘mobility’. Whereas Abigail prays that King David’s soul be bound in the bond of eternal life, this spiritual woman also prays that his enemy’s soul be “hurled like a stone from a slingshot” (Samuel II, 25:29). The motility represents unrest, not transcendence.

Soul security and stability is heaven on earth; internal turbulence and tumult is hell.

When we place our sense of security in material things, they inevitably become moving targets. With minds bombarded by a hodgepodge of desires and fears, we become like rocks hurtling from a slingshot – over and over - from one end of life’s field to the other. There is no peace.

But when our mobility is pointed upward, when our daily lives are focused on strengthening our bond with Purpose, Meaning and G-dliness, there is internal balance. With each passing day, Our souls are soaring higher; the Bond is growing deeper, our embrace is intensifying.

This Yom Kippur, disengage from the frenzy. Commit yourself to a deep relationship with G-d.

He’s waiting with open arms.

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