April 2, 2011

Shabbat Bliss

This Shabbat was brilliant and bright. A day stuffed to overflowing with Torah learning, good conversation, tasty (pre-prepared) food, joyful dancing and singing...

I thought about the lepers of Parashat Tazria... having a skin affliction makes one "unclean" for obvious reasons. Yet there is a paradox in the Parashat: a leper who has turned all white is declared clean. I read a good article on this subject here.

In my random, non-linear mind, the all-white leper makes me think of klipot - the "shells" that surround our soul that we must learn to break through and step out of so we can grow closer to G-d. Call it "ego" if you like.

When a shell turns all white, it is ready for rebirth... and it's clean.

This is the process we are going through all our lives: birth, death, rebirth - a cycle of becoming.

I felt a shell crack and fall away from me in January. And it happened as I was saying Shabbat prayers - Lecha Dodi, Ein Kelokeinu, Shma & V'ahavta, etc. I was struggling with my own desires and fantasies, and in a desperate gesture I turned to G-d and said those prayers with my full attention, instead of focusing on my own will. At that moment, I felt a sensation of a knife cutting down the front of my ribcage, a great CRACK, and something heavy falling away. I felt completely free and new, like a soft, pink human being stepping out of a gnarly coat of dragon scales. And it was good.

We are transformed when we are willing to be... when we are willing to let the old self die.

There are more shells to be dealt with... plenty more. Last night I felt another one crack; this one went out with more of a whimper than a bang. Sometimes it's like that, I guess. I asked to be free, and heard a small voice say "because you asked"... then whoosh, another layer dissolved.

I'm looking for freedom from my own foolish desires - from my own will, which can run rampant and become my only law when aroused. "I need! I need!" "Give! and Give!" they cry...

So, I am beginning to truly see the value of Torah (I know, I know... DUH). The blueprint from on high to align my will with G-d's, to take me out of my foolish notions of how the world should work, and see the Reality. "Crush my fantasy" sings Matisyahu (sorry, if this is some kind of wisdom from the talmud or something, I've only heard Matisyahu say it.. I'm learnin'...)

I knew there was something good about this day. Something new to be born in me! I couldn't put my finger on it but I knew this day was special... then it hit me: 4.2.11 - It's 42!!! Of course! What a great number. The answer to life, the universe and everything....

All I can say is... Baruch Hashem!!

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