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Keeping it Fresh

Friday, 24 June, 2016 - 2:41 pm

This week’s Torah portion addresses the lighting of the Menorah by Aaron the High Priest. After giving a full description of how it should be done, the Torah concludes that Aaron did exactly as he was instructed. Rashi comments, “This teaches us (in praise of Aaron) that he did not alter or change the process in any way.” The obvious question is why praise someone of Aaron’s caliber for following the instructions properly? This is what he “supposed to be” doing.

The Chassidic insight into this gives us an important lesson for life in serving Hashem. The Hebrew word for change (verb) is Shinah. The same root letters also have the connotation of repeat, something repetitive or routine. So the praise of Aaron is that although he performed the service of lighting the Menorah daily for nearly 40 years, it was never routine or repetitive. He always approached the task with the same reverence and enthusiasm as though it was his first time.

Our takeaway is that we need to ensure that our service of Hashem is likewise kept fresh and that we don’t fall into the trap of repetitiveness or seeing it as routine. Isiah references the statement from G-d decrying the performance of Mitzvot by rote, without passion. But how indeed to we keep things fresh? The fact is that we do these acts over and over each day and the risk of becoming routine is very real and even reasonably expected.

One of the solutions to discover new dimensions in Torah study that provides for fresh motivation and inspiration for the enthusiastic performance of a Mitzvah. If we learned a new meaning or a deeper layer of that particular Mitzvah it would be new and exciting for us again. So we need to constantly expand our Torah learning capacity and explore new horizons, thereby piquing our interest over and over.

Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin 

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