We are here to improve our relationships with others
in order to transform the Jewish people in these urgent times.
Last week’s stretch of the week was: Change one element of behavior, in dress, speech or action, to a more modest one this week.
Please allow ONE person to share her experience with this exercise for ONE minute.
There is an interesting connection between Kiddush HaShem and ba'al tashchis, the prohibition of the wanton destruction or waste of property. When we consider that the physical world was created for HaShem's honor and to help us in serving HaShem, we can begin to understand that every item may be elevated to a level of holiness. The physical, material items in our world have a spiritual potential-to be used in bringing honor to HaShem. Wasting or wantonly destroying material items squanders the opportunity to use these things to glorify the Creator. And, if the inanimate objects in the world can bring glory to HaShem, how much more so the human beings of the world.
The prohibition of ba'al tashchis is sometimes expanded to include not only the destruction or waste of physical resources, but also to preclude wasting time or wasting experiences. The ultimate in serving HaShem is the ability to see the higher potential purpose in all that we come in contact with, and to make every attempt to elevate it to a level of holiness.
(Reproduced from Living Kiddush HaShem by Rabbi Shraga Freedman, with permission of the author. For more resources, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
What could our thoughts be when using inanimate objects or doing mundane tasks?
I am eating this food and using these dishes in order to serve HaShem by...
o gaining strength to perform Mitzvos
o saying blessings to praise and thank HaShem for His creations
o enjoying the bounty provided by Our Creator and recognizing its Source
o taking the opportunity to connect with my family
o having the opportunity to share Torah thoughts
Choose another mundane object or activity and share how it can be elevated to a level of kedusha.
An interesting thought about our relationship with secular Jews and non-Jews comes as a corollary to the discussion of ba'al tashchis. Often, our universal and unchanging, G-d given Torah values are at odds with the prevailing secular cultural values. We must be steadfast and not allow ourselves to be swayed by the outside culture. However, in the case of ba'al tashchis, the prevailing cultural values of preserving natural resources, care for the environment, even reuse, recycle and reduce, are in sync with Torah values. This concept begs two questions:
a. How can we use the convergence of these ideas to promote kiddush HaShem?
b. How can we teach our children (and ourselves) how to recognize and appreciate when Torah values are part of the secular culture, and especially, to be clear about where they diverge?
Stretch of the Week:
Be mindful of the potential for holiness of an inanimate object.