Thursday, February 26, 2015

Broken And Whole At The Same Time

In this weeks parsha, Titzaveh, Hashem tells Moshe "And you shall command the children of Israel, and they should take to you pure olive oil, crushed for illumination, to kindle (literally: to lift up) the lamp, regularly."

To get the purest olive oil, the olive was crushed in a mortar and the first drop expressed was used for producing the oil. Only the oil extracted in this way could be used to light the menorah. The remainder of the olive was ground to extract more oil but this oil was not for the menorah.

What can we learn from this?

The kindling of the menorah symbolized lighting up the souls of the Jewish people. For this only the purest olive oil extracted through crushing may be used.

The purest comes out through being crushed. It is the crushed that ignite Jewish souls.

We all are "crushed," tested with suffering in one form or another. What we do with it is our choice. You can choose to "grind", to wallow in self pity or you can use your "crushing" experience to lift up those around you.

Choosing to use your experience for the positive will not only uplift those around you but it will give meaning and purpose to your situation.

Before, I was talented. I could teach, lecture, sing, dance, play guitar and I was strong and handy. Within two years I watched that all slip away. Now I'm left with my heart, my brain and my smile. Being crushed has brought stronger connections, new abilities, higher purpose and deeper meaning. Before I used my talents to make people happy and to educate them. Now I get to do that and much more.

With this attitude I have gained an added extra. I feel happy and fulfilled and the people around me seem happy and uplifted.
Yet, It is time for the crushing to end and enjoying  the light to begin.

This is dedicated to Devorah Shochet. The two of us were diagnosed with ALS a day apart, and if there is anyone who understands what I go through, it's her. 


  1. Thanks for continuing to enlighten us. Look forward to it each week

  2. Beautiful birthday gift for Devorah Rochel bat Miriam Chava, YUD Adar. Simcha Poretz Geder! May the one blessing be doubly blessed.

  3. Very inspiring! May Hashem bless both you & Devorah with a complete & speedy recovery!

  4. Thank you for this inspiration. Thank you for thinking of us.