Skipping Rope…

There is a well known parable from one of the most famous Chasidic masters, R’ Yisrael of Ruzhin. He was asked what it will be like to live in the era before the arrival of meshiach, the Jewish messiah.  He replied that just before meshiach arrives, God will tie a rope around the earth.  Those who have some emunah (“faith” in God) will grab hold of the rope with both hands.  God will then start to shake the rope, sending larger and larger shock waves around the globe.  It will be difficult to remain holding on, but those who do so will merit to see the meshiach.

Given current events, it is difficult to deny the shaking of the rope right now.  Whether in international affairs such as Iran and Ukraine, or in private matters that we are all aware of, we are living in “interesting times,” to say the least. But our shaking universe may also be a positive event.  For example, there is something incredibly good and positive about the ability of some people to uproot their lives from a secure environment and dedicate themselves to a higher cause.  I am thinking of the Israeli soldiers who come from the diaspora and enlist in the IDF virtually without prior knowledge of Israel or of the military or of the Hebrew language.  That is one example of the rope-shaking, but in a positive manner.

However, I am a rabbi, and my job is to call attention to something else, that R’ Yisrael of Ruzhin knew far more about than I do.  And that is, beyond the shaking rope there is an island of refuge, a sea of calm and a soothing balm for those who can access it – and all can access it.  When everything else is moving and shaking, there is and always has been a transcendent force that lifts us up and out of the inferno.  It takes us beyond the raging waters of the events preceding the arrival of meshiach.  I’m talking about learning Torah and practicing meditative prayer.. These activities lift us above the fray, and bring us into contact with a higher authority.  They are the true purpose of a Jew, whose real task in this world is to bring the spiritual down into mundane life.  So, while we may not be able to avoid the crazy events just before the arrival of meshiach, we can also raise ourselves beyond them.  For more advice on how to do so, check out our website at www.jerusalemconnection.org/weekly  For a deeper dive into meditative prayer, go to www.jewishspiritualbooks.com.  And finally in order to be in touch with good stuff here in Jerusalem, go to www.chabadjerusalem.org  Have a great week and stay warm!

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