Counting Omer 5780, Day 27
Foundation, Establishment, Setting The Foundation, Fundamental; Foundation upon which the Divine One Created the Universe within Eternity, Forever, Splendor, Perpetuity, Endurance, Long-Lasting, and Spiritual Victory.
Quality: Rooted in Oneness
The Talmud (Shabbat 31a) tells us about a man who wanted to convert to Judaism if he could find a teacher who could teach him the entire Torah while he stood on one foot. He first approached Rabbi Shammai. Shammai was incensed. Insulted by the request, he threw the man out of his Beit Midrash (House of Study).
Undeterred, the man next approached Rabbi Hillel. Thought about it, studied, and returned to man. Hillel said to him:
"What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation of this. Go and study it!"
There are many stories of the different approaches to text and to people of Rabbis Hillel and Shammai. Hillel is described as more lenient and Shammai as more strict. Yet, for me, it seems that Hillel was more interested in people and their relationship to the Divine. A brilliant scholar, Hillel never forgot for Whom his knowledge was to serve. Hillel knew himself to be rooted in Oneness with the Divine. He wanted to bring people closer to God through Judaism.
Transitions, according to Judaism, are perilous moments. There are many stories about the unforeseen things that can – and often do – happen to us as we physically and spiritually move through the world. Do we curse the interruption to our routine or travel? Or, do we see the interruption as an opportunity to continue the human journey to awakening and deepening awareness and mindfulness?
I see Hillel as a human mezuzah, guarding the doorway of transition. Where was that doorway? The doorway was, and is, everywhere. The guarded and protected doorway that offers blessings on the way to being a transformed person, a transformed Jew was with Hillel.
How do you regard mezuzot (mezuzahs)? Is your touching them a routine or ritualistic? The same is true of daily or weekly prayers: what is your connection to them? What adventure do you allow a word or concept to take you on when you recite or ponder them? The journey from passive to active, from doing to being, from fear to present is within you.
Your heart is your mezuzah. It is wherever you are until you are no longer on this plain. The Eternal placed the instructions to being rooted in Oneness “very close” to us. “It is in (our) mouth and in (our) heart for us to do.” D’varim 30.14
Go! There is much to study and explore. All roads lead to rooted Oneness.
© Sabrina Sojourner 2020