Honorable Mensch-ion

Holy Work

Are we involved in holy work? Recently, I have had the good fortune of teaching Torah outside the walls of Sinai Temple. Our clergy have dispersed throughout greater Los Angeles to teach Torah in our congregants’ offices, over lunch.

We often think holiness must be confined to a sanctuary or synagogue building. Yet, Rabbi Yishmael and Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai engage in this exact talmudic debate. While Bar Yochai is under the impression that we must be in formal Torah study each moment of every day, Rabbi Yishmael lives in the real world. Our worldly endeavors are, in fact, Torah studies themselves. We have the words of the Torah on our mouths each morning and night as we recite the Shema, a reminder to live a holy life.

As I studied this holy text first with a group of doctors, and then with a group of lawyers and business people, I was impressed to discover the underlying principle of this parsha as a thread through our sacred community. Well-established doctors, lawyers and business people, when asked if there were holy moments in their days, responded with a resounding “Yes!” The Lubavitcher Rebbe once said, “There is no evil in the world, just the absence of goodness.” One small act of holiness a day … Just imagine how good and holy our world can be.

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