GOOD MORNING! Many people make the mistake of saying they are "not religious" when what they mean is "I am not fully observant." (The truth is, no one is fully observant; we all try the best we can based on our knowledge, convictions and situations.) Even people who say they don't believe in God will in the same breath say that they pray. Ask people, "If you could talk with any being, who would you choose to talk with?" Probably everyone of us would choose "God" -- if we felt it was truly a possibility.
Traditionally, the Torah teaches us that if we want to connect to the Almighty we should 1) Learn Torah (after all, if you want to understand the Author, read His words...) 2) Live according to the 613 Commandments (yes, there are more than 10 ... ) 3) Pray (pour out your heart and talk to God) and say Psalms. I think for many, there is still an unfilled desire to connect emotionally with the Almighty, to feel a sense of awe from His presence, to be surrounded by a feeling of holiness and spirituality -- and even a wish to hear His heartfelt advice for our problem and situation.
What if there were answers from the Almighty? What would be His words of wisdom and directions for us?
One of my favorite books is My Father, My King: Connecting with the Creator by my good friend, prolific author (about 30 books), energetic speaker, personal counselor, Rabbi Zelig Pliskin. From time to time, nearly everyone talks to God, but what would be God's answer if it were in words, rather than just in actions? Reb Zelig beautifully writes awe-inspiring responses based on Torah sources. Reading this book enhances spirituality!
Based on his book, Reb Zelig has developed the following focal points to review daily to increase spirituality and enjoyment in life. Read this once a day ... it will help you develop your spirituality!
Emor, Leviticus 21:1 - 24:24
This week's portion sets forth the standards of purity and perfection for a Cohen; specifies the physical requirements of sacrifices and what is to be done with blemished offerings; proclaims as holidays the Shabbat, Pesach, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot.
It reminds the Jewish people to provide pure olive oil for the Menorah and designates the details of the Showbread (two stacks of 6 loaves each which were placed on the table in the portable sanctuary and later in the Temple once a week upon Shabbat).
The portion ends with the interesting story of a man who blasphemed God's name with a curse. What should be the penalty for this transgression? Curious? Leviticus. 24:14.
* * *
based on Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states:
"And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corner of your field; and the gleanings of your harvest you shall not gather; for the poor and the stranger you shall leave them (the corners and the gleaning), I am the Lord your God" (Leviticus 23:22).
Why is the owner commanded to leave the corners and gleanings rather than being commanded to gather the produce and give it to the poor?
By not presenting the produce to the poor man, the poor man escapes the humiliation of being handed charity. Instead, he maintains his dignity as he feels that he is just taking what is his due by Torah law. It is important to be sensitive to others.
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Chasing meaning is better for your health,
than trying to avoid discomfort
Rabbi Kalman Packouz
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