In my Friday afternoon rush, I seem to have neglected the posting for this Shabbat, so a double portion to start the week!
A favorite Midrash: “The light of God shone throughout the entire first Shabbat. As Shabbat came to an end and darkness grew, Adam and Eve became fearful, for they had never known darkness. Huddled close together as the day drew to a close, God gave Adam and Eve a spark of Divine creative insight. They reached down, grabbed two stones, and banged them together to create fire. Staring at the flames created with their own hands, they exclaimed ‘Baruch Ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melech Ha’olam, Borei M’orei Ha’eish- Blessed are You, Adonai, Ruler of the Universe, who Creates the light of the fire (the blessing for the candle at Havdalah.)’” (based upon Pirke deRebbi Eliezer and B.Talmud Pesachim 54a) Jewish tradition teaches that we are partners with God in the creative process of the universe. We have the power within us to create incredible things. Are we aware of these powers? For what might we use them?
A young man speaks with his rabbi. Rabbi, I'm depressed because I have made so many mistakes and committed so many sins. I feel very far from God.
After hearing this, the rabbi shows the man two identical pieces of rope. The rabbi starts cutting the first rope. When we make a mistake, we do shorten the distance between ourselves and God. Like you, I've also made many mistakes.
The man says, But you're the rabbi! Surely you are close to God!
At this point, the rabbi takes the cut pieces of rope and ties them together. He places the two ropes next to each other and says, When we do t'shuvah, we repair the damage we did. Son, look at these two ropes. The one that was cut is now shorter. This is how t'shuvah works. When we successfully perform acts of t'shuvah, we shorten the distance between ourselves and God.