Thursday, November 02, 2006

Holding up the World (Avot 1:2)

יום שלישי י''ב בחשון תשס''ז
the yahrzeit of Rachel Imeinu, and Yitzhak Rabin, also the Cherynobyl rebbe.

שמעון הצדיק היה משירי כנסת הגדולה. הוא היה אומר על שלשה דברים העולם עומד. על התורה ועל העבודה ועל גמילות חסדים:
Shimon HaTzadk was one of the last of the Great Kenesset. He used to say, the world stands on three things: on the Torah, on the worship and on acts of loving kindness.

Of Shimon HaTzadik's three pillars, the first and the last – Torah and acts of loving kindness (g-milut hasidim) – are ones that we can carry out to this day. But, the middle one – the avodah (the sacrificial worship service that was carried out in the ancient Temple in Jerusalem – we can not.

And, yet, the world has not collapsed without that great supporting pillar. We Jews have learned to replace the Temple with our acts of prayer and other forms of service to God.

Next time you say a prayer – whether it is something that just comes into your heart during your regular day in or if it is part of a service in your synagogue – close your eyes and try to imagine that you are helping to hold up the world. Try to feel the power in that. See where that takes you.

I hope you will have opportunity to take part in holding up each of Shimon HaTzadik’s three pillars in the days ahead.

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