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Shevat 24

Arouse yourself, arouse yourself, for your light has come; arise and shine. Awake, awake, utter a song, for the glory of God is revealed upon you (Siddur).

An inspiring call to arousal is repeated no less than five times in this liturgical verse. The reason is that merely arousing people to action once may not suffice to bring them out of lethargy. A person whose sleep is disturbed by his alarm clock may simply shut off the alarm and return to sleep.

Just as people often resist being awakened from physical sleep, they are much more resistant being awakened from spiritual sleep. Many people have had moments of spiritual awakening, only to ignore them and return to the comfort of their previous routine. Inertia is a powerful force, and repeated urgings are necessary to overcome it.

If we knew that something extremely important or very exciting was awaiting us in the morning, we probably would not silence the alarm clock and return to sleep. Under such circumstances, we usually jump out of bed, anticipating the special event. Children won't get up easily to go to school, but wild horses will not keep them in bed on the morning of a school trip.

If only we knew and understood that spiritual arousal elevates people and makes them worthy of God's Presence upon them, we would welcome the arousal call for spirituality with the anticipation of something great. By failing to appreciate spirituality, we cause ourselves to linger in lethargy.

Today I shall...

look for experiences that can initiate or enhance my spiritual growth.

With stories and insights, Rabbi Twerski's new book Twerski on Machzor makes Rosh Hashanah prayers more meaningful. Click here to order...

Published: May 21, 2009

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