daily contemplation: Feeding the Soul

B”H

February 24, 2020

Closer to the truth than yesterday. A little more knowledgeable than the day before. Yet, what is acquired may lose significance over time unless maintained. Life lessons should lead to character improvement. For the soul is not nurtured by information in and of itself; rather, we are shaped by our life experience, as well as our response to life.

In the evening of my life, it will not be about the acquisition of knowledge as facts, information, or trivia. Most of what is absorbed on the internet on a daily basis, whether in the political, entertainment, news realm, passes by like the pixels that are constantly rearranging on the screen. Yet, there is a source of everlasting knowledge:

“Teach me good discernment and knowledge; for I have believed in Thy commandments.” – Psalm 119:66

“The fear of the L-RD is the beginning of knowledge”

– Proverbs 1:7, JPS 1917 Tanach

A reappraisal of the above mentioned verse yields greater understanding, when considering the Hebrew word, yiras, translated above as “fear.” Perhaps, a more helpful rendering would include the words, awe, reverance, and respect.

It is yiras H’Shem (fear of the L-RD) that may bring the soul into alignment with G-d’s wisdom, and His ratzon (will) for each individual. For, our lives belong to Him. “In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:10).

Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to detach ourselves from the myriad of pixels that form our opinions, influence our speech (parroting), and (dis)color our world, if we seek a true expression of the soul, in all its potential, unbound by the influx of ideas that permeate the Internet and our minds.

Meditation: Know Thyself

B”H

February 14, 2020

“And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the G-d of thy father, and serve Him with a whole heart and with a willing mind.” – 1 Chronicles 28:9, JPS 1917 Tanach

The Greek adage is to know thyself. Yet, King David told Solomon, his son, “Know thou the G-d of thy father.” Solomon was full of wisdom. He wrote the Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes. Yet, perhaps, King David was calling upon Solomon to stay focused on H’Shem.

Many people today would like to find themselves, and achieve their potential, otherwise stated as “self-actualization.” This is all well and good. Yet, to leave G-d out of the question will leave the aspirant short-sighted. There is so much more potential for us, when we acknowledge G-d in all our ways (Proverbs 3:6). He should be our goal: in finding Him, we find ourselves. By getting to know Him, we are better able to understand ourselves.