The World… Through A Jewish Lens – By Marc

How do we perceive the world?

How do we see and process events, emotions, tragedies and celebrations?Being a human means a lot of “alone” moments, where it is just us and our brains… our thoughts.

Those times can be peaceful, quiet and calm. Or they can also be loud, dizzying and confusing. The internal debates and arguments, or “discussions” we have with ourselves can be rather noisy at times.

As I have written before, the quiet and solitude and peacefulness is a much desired space to exist in… it is what we all want, I think. So how do we get there? That is really the key. We need tools and information, and a guide to follow.

Being human also means many moments as part of a community, a group… a tribe. It is often easier to feel supported in a group… to go with the flow… to jump in or dive in. When we see or hear others, it makes us feel more comfortable and connected. Thus the power of a Minyan and a service.

Who we spend time with influences so much of who we are. We are taught religion and history, but it is also emotions that are shared and passed down. We see how our parents and family and friends react to certain scenarios, and it may very well be the way we react as well, at least initially. Human beings, hopefully, evolve.

As we learn more and “grow up” we begin to formulate our own opinions and traits. We see what we like in our parents, and what we don’t… and we strive to find out own way and our own path. We are products of our own environment.

There is however, one consistent thing… and that is Hashem. But how many people are fully aware of His presence and of their connection with Hashem… with G-d on a 24/7 basis? For me, there are times when I am just living… fighting to get by… and so enveloped with life that I am not sure the thoughts of G-d are conscious.

Then, there are those moments when I desperately need help and call out to G-d. When it seems that nothing I am doing is helping and I need a Higher Authority… a bigger power… Divine Intervention.

Of course there are other moments when I talk to G-d, during the formal prayers, when I am in a more calm and connected state and can have a quieter talk. Usually… Sometimes my brain distracts even in THOSE moments.

So how do we stay connected to Hashem ALL THE TIME?

Starting our day with Modeh Ani is the best way to start. It teaches us and allows us to be humble and grateful, and acknowledge that we are here and have returned from sleep/death because of Hashem’s faith in us.

The morning prayers… Shema… Amidah… continue this awareness and connection. But that is the “easy” part.

What about those moments… hours in between… where we are just living… working, eating, moving through the world? Judaism teaches us that we are holy where we are, where we stand. Judaism teaches us that things like food can be elevated to holiness if we stop and instill them with appreciation, gratitude and thanks. This, as far as I understand it, is why we pray before AND after we eat.

Every single thing we experience in every single moment comes from Hashem… our very breath… our lives… our thoughts… Fully recognizing this is a major step. It is what moves us from Faith to Emunah to Bitacon. It is a full life’s journey

Torah and Jewish learning shows us how to make the everyday holy, and the practical lessons of teachings like Pirkei Avos give us tools in order to live a righteous, connected and fulfilled life.

But essentially, it is the work we do alone… with our chattering brains, distracted thoughts and talkative minds… that really counts. Which leads me nicely into my next post… the true “Rest” of Shabbat.

In the meantime, be holy. We have the opportunity in every moment, every second to do just that. It’s not always easy… especially in these days and these times and all that we are exposed to… instantly… repetitively…

We just need to stop, take a breath… and truly see the world through our Jewish lens. It is who we are.

 

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