How much of the material you learned for your last midterm do you still remember? Studies say less than 10%. How come? You studied well. However, most of knowledge we acquire is superficial and does not connect to us on a personal, deep level.
The second part of this week’s double Parshah, Behar-Bechukotai opens up with an enigmatic phrase that attracts much attention and commentary. “If you walk in My statutes, guard My commands and do them, I will give the rain in its time…”
Statutes – Chukim in Hebrew – share the root with “Chakikah” – engraving. Words engraved on stone have a fixed, static permanence. But walking implies a dynamic, moving approach.
Which one is it? And into which mold does your Judaism fit? Is it something that’s stuck in one dimension, or does it move you to reach new levels?
One answer is that the words of Torah are truly one with our essence, engraved on our souls. Our Judaism can NEVER be dead. Unlike the ordinary written letters, which are ink on paper or parchment, engraved letters are a part and parcel of the stone material. This represents a rock solid foundation of Judaism inherent to our souls.
Yet, prophet Isaiah was told, “I have given you these walking ones among the standing ones…” What does that mean? It refers to dynamism of our souls, as opposed to the static nature of the angels. Once we have the solid foundation of our essence, we can begin to become creative and find applications of Judaism to our lives, in the ways that inspire, enhance and enrich our lives, so that Jewish identity is truly dynamic and most relevant part of our being.
It’s like playing with a set of Lego. You can build by instructions, or you can use the pieces to get very creative. However, if you use other materials to build, it’s no longer Lego.
So in the maze of life, let’s tap into our authentic hard-wired connectivity of our souls to the Divine. Let’s find dynamic ways to go forward. May we fulfill our collective and individual Jewish mandate of perfecting this world and bringing Moshiach!