Thursday, July 9, 2015

Strength Through Dark Times

In this week's parsha, Pinchas, we read about the regular sacrifices brought on the Temple altar. There were daily, Shabbat, new month and festival offerings.

Every day two yearling lambs were brought as "constant burnt offerings. The first you should do in the morning, and the second you should do in the afternoon".

What is the significance of bringing one in the "morning" and one in the "afternoon"? What lessons could we take from this constant burnt offering, for our relationship with Hashem, and for our personal relationships?

The Hebrew word for sacrifice is "korban" which comes from the word karov, close. The idea here it to bring yourself closer, strengthen your connection with Hashem.

This must be "constant". Hashem wants us to work on developing our relationship with Him every day.

How do you get closer to Hashem? By being a "burnt offering". Burnt offerings were unique, whereas other sacrifices, only parts were burnt on the altar, the burnt offering was entirely consumed. Hashem wants us to give our total self to him. To be open and vulnerable and to allow our entire self to be consumed, becoming one with Hashem.

"Morning" is symbolic of the good times, when the light of Hashem shines bright. At these times things are easy, there are no obstacles to overcome. "Afternoon" is the hard times, when the sun is going down, obstacles make Hashem seem distant. Even in these dark times of exile we need to come closer. The darker it is, the greater the effort we need to give to connect. The bond we forge in these dark times, is beyond anything we could have created in times of light.

Ultimately the light will return but because of the closeness we have developed, the light will be greater than anything we could have imagined.

Same is true for personal relationships. To get closer you must be "constant", you must work on your relationship every day. Give your entire self to your other, allowing yourself to be open and vulnerable. This is easy when things are fine. However, it is the persistence and effort in times of difficulty that will take your relationship to a whole new level. Deeper, stronger and more wonderful than anything you could have imagined.

Struggling with ALS has been a tremendous strain on my family, especially on my wife. Nevertheless, it has brought us closer as a family and as a couple. And for that I am thankful.

Dedicated to my wife Dina, whose strength, kindness and love has been the glue that holds our family together, a true aishes chayil.

1 comment:

  1. Shabbat shalom Rabbi. We continue to pray for you daily. Thanks for continuing to inspire us!