A door… Such a simple thing. We walk in… We walk out.
There are amazing possibilities in either action… and the potential for great change.
Do I stay or do I go?
It is a similar concept to the word Shalom. No wonder Shalom means so many things. It is a greeting or salutation and we say it when we meet or part, and of course, it also means peace. Possibility… Potential… Peace.
Perhaps the most famous quote about doors comes from Alexander Graham Bell, who said:
“When one door closes another door opens, but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”
“Look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else.”
“Be an opener of doors”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Let my love open the door.
Let my love open the door.
Let my love open the door.
To your heart.”
― Pete Townshend
” When opportunity knocks, will you answer the door? Or will you not hear it over the TV?”
– Me (Sorry… a little vanity… and levity…)
In reality, there is a remarkable opportunity at each and every door we pass. And it requires one simple yet vital thing. It’s a concept that I mentioned in my last post, but is so powerful and important and life-changing to me, that I felt it deserved to be discussed on its own.
Rabbi Denbo says many things that stick with me and Ben… and this is one of the best.
In discussing the concept of G-d is one (Echad), he says: “The first and foremost practical tool is the Mezuzah… All the mitzvahs are a means to an end… to know Hashem is one.”
“You are moving forward in life… but the only movement that matters is closeness to Hashem… Echad… So at least the Mezuzah. You walk by the Mezuzah, just stop and say Echad, Hashem’s one. And then as you’re walking on, you can go: One, not two. One, no parts. One, no changing. One, there is nothing else. And one, that’s all I want. At least by the Mezuzah.”
We live in a world that is always on the go… a 24/7 culture… but how powerful and necessary is it to simply stop, from time to time, and acknowledge Hashem… and I mean in ADDITION to the time in prayer and in Shul, which is, of course, essential.
There are ways into everything. We all just need to stop.
I think about the amount of time I spent picking out Mezuzahs… making sure they were on almost every door in my house… considering a Kosher or non-Kosher scroll… making sure they were placed just right on the doorpost… and then… way too often… I forget that they are even there. I think about how many times I walked in and out of doors, at Shul or even my own house, and did not stop and acknowledge and respect and kiss the Mezuzah.
While I am loath to admit this, I do so because this blog is about honesty and dealing with things head on, so I can learn and move forward.
The purple one I bought in Old Jaffa at the amazing store Adina Plastelina. It caught my eye as a piece of art, and because it was in my favorite color. When I bought it, it was an adornment… something to welcome and protect a house… but now, and perhaps most importantly, it is an essential step in bringing me closer to Hashem. I am so desperately trying to make stopping at each and every Mezuzah a habit… second nature.
According to the ArtScroll Siddur, the Talmudic Sage Rav Chisda said: “When a person enters the synagogue he should walk into it a distance
of two doors and only then should he pray.”
Maharal (Nesiv Ha’Avodah) explains there are two necessary steps:
“First, one must “exit the doorway” that connects him to his mundane activities, the activities and concerns that impeded his concentration on his prayers. Then he should “enter the doorway” that brings him closer to G-d.”
Hashem is in everything, both inside and outside of our homes. Hashem is in our family and our pets, in our things… and out in this great, beautiful, wonderful world.
As we open a door, no matter which way we are passing through it, there is infinite possibility. Every door is an opportunity, whether it’s to your house, your job, your Shul, your child’s bedroom for a goodnight story or simply an “I love you”… or, yes, even a “Clean up this mess.”
Each and every door is an opportunity.
Each and every door gives you a chance to connect, an opportunity to start afresh.
So why would you want to start any other way, other than to pause, to look at and place your hand on that Mezuzah and simply say “Echad.”
To breathe, to have a moment of awareness of Hashem, to think about what Hashem has given us, and what we want to say or do once we walk in.
Allow that energy, allow Hashem to help us open that door, literally and metaphorically.
Are we gonna bust through that door and grab life by the horns?(Purposely using a mixed metaphor)
Are we going to gently push it open?
Are we going to enter the house angry or happy, with a joyous “I’m home” and a smile and an “I love you”. Which is better?
We are given multiple opportunities every day, and multiple times a day, to be holy… appreciative… grateful… fulfilled…
And it is literally at our doorstep.