Friday, August 26, 2016

Parshas Eikev: Living Inspired- Every Single Day

One of the great challenges we face every day is how to maintain and live an inspired life. Many of us will have individual moments of inspiration—Perhaps the day we got married, our first experience at the Western Wall, our first time at a Shabbos table, or when our child is born. Feeling inspired in these monumental moments can truly uplift and transform us. However, the reality is that these moments are but fleeting flashes in the grand marathon of time. Our challenge, therefore, is how to remain inspired on a daily basis, when those life changing moments are but a distant memory.
Fortunately, our holy Torah gives us the mitzvah of mezuzah. In this week’s Parsha, the Torah describes, “And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates.” In a tremendously beautiful passage, the Rambam elaborates on this inspiring mitzvah:
A person is obligated to be careful in his observance of the mitzvah of mezuzah because it is a mitzvah that is always incumbent upon him. Anytime he comes or goes from his home, he encounters the Oneness of the Name of the Holy One , blessed be He, and he will recall his love for G-d and be awakened from his slumber and his interest in the vanities of time. He will know that there is nothing that stands forever except for knowledge of the Rock of the universe, and immediately he will return to know Him, and to walk in paths that are upright.
Interestingly, the Rambam refers to the mitzvah of mezuzah in the same way that he refers to the mitzvah of shofar- that when one hears the shofar he is “awakened from his slumber.” However, it emerges that really, the mere act of walking into one’s Mezuzah-adorned home should be able to serve as an awakening from our slumber brought on by the mundane trivialities of everyday life.  The mezuzah reminds us every single day of the eternal nature of G-d, and that nothing is permanent other than G-d and His Torah.
                Rabbi Yissocher Frand very beautifully describes how the mezuza invokes this reminder: A mezuzah on the door of a shul has been hanging there for centuries, and has witnessed the bris of a new born baby, as well as his eulogy, one hundred and twenty years later. It has born witness to the rise and fall of antisemitism, to expulsions, and new technological innovations. It has been there in good times, and it has been there in the most terrible of times. Life moves on- nothing is forever. But the mezuzah, representing the Almighty and His holy Torah is permanent and remains unchanged.

Indeed—that realization is enormously inspiring.

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