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Bringing Kedusha Into Our Own Lives

By: Mrs Michal Porat-Zibman

One of the many observations that Bilam makes on his failed mission to curse the Jewish nation is the infamous words, eventually turned into Tefilla: "Ma Tovu Oholecha Yaalov Mishkenotecha Yisrael"- How pleasant are the tents and dwelling places of Am Yisrael.

The Sfat Emet makes a simple comment on this. He says: What amazed Bilam was the ease with which Am Yisrael can bring Kedushah into their daily lives. We have the potential to make even the simplest tent, the simplest home, a place of Kedusha, a place where HKBH can bring the Shechina to.

I think that there are two other important messages within these words. Bilam was sent on a mission to look upon something negatively. But when he got there and saw it up close, he was amazed and overwhelmed by the beauty and holiness which he did not recognize as long as he was far away. More often than not, we are judgmental. We judge people, places, ideas, hashkafot etc. The irony is that we are often somewhat removed from that which we judge. Perhaps if we allowed ourselves to get a little closer to that in Judaism which we think is problematic, or should even go far as be cursed, we may see and recognize its beauty. It may different than what were used to, but no less glorious.

And finally, Bilaam, an outsider, who praises the sanctity and tranquility of Am Yisrael, comes right after Parshat Korach. Korach challenged that same tranquility and unity from within. How sad is it that it often takes an outsider to remind us of how special we are and how much potential we possess if we channel it properly.

Yehi Ratzon that we may be blessed with the Sfat Emet's grasp of Bilaam's words; that we can bring Kedusha into our own lives and homes. Maybe two ways to go about it are to both try to get to know that which is foreign to you and see the holiness in it, and not wait till someone from the outside recognizes the uniqueness of Klal Yisrael, but rather seek the unity for ourselves, amongst ourselves, as opposed to what Korach and his men did.

That which unites us, must always be stronger than that which divides us.

Shabbat Shalom






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