August 6, 2020
Parshat Ekev – On Being a Sanctuary
Now Israel, what does YHWH ask of you? Only to fear God, to follow all God’s ways, to love and serve God with all your heart and soul. To keep God’s commandments and rules, which I give you this day, for your own good.” (Deut. 10:12,13)
Only? That’s quite a list! What more could God have asked of us??
The Chasidic master the Noam Elimelech helps us to understand. Imagine, he teaches, that you want to give a gift of wine or honey to a friend, but don’t have a fitting container. You could borrow a beautiful silver vessel from your friend and then return it to them filled with your sweet, rich gift.
It’s God’s deepest desire to irrigate all of Creation with blessing. God created the world for us, for our benefit, as the parsha says, “for our own good.” We are the recipients of the gift! And we are the vessels that will contain it! God asks to borrow fitting vessels, so we prepare ourselves to be filled with divine honey. And how do we prepare? By cultivating awe. By serving Spirit openheartedly. By living righteously – these are the practices our parsha offers for preparing to be sanctuaries for God’s gift of presence and holy flow.
At Rosh Hashanah, on the birthday of the world, God replenishes the divine flow. As we live our lives in these days leading up to that renewal of God’s blessing in the world, let’s consider how to prepare ourselves to hold that light and that blessing.