Perhaps there’s a good reason most Jews only go to Temple twice a year. We go to a holy place, we go during a holy day, but we don’t necessarily experience holiness. And if we don’t find G-d and spirituality in this place and at these times, when are we supposed to? Either our search for spirituality is an impossible one, or we’re not looking in the right place.
There’s a story about a man desperately searching under a streetlight. A passerby asks, "What are you looking for?" "I lost my wallet," he answers. "Where did you last see it?" the passerby asks. "Up the block," the man says. "So why aren’t you looking up the block?" asks the mystified passerby. The man replies, "There you can’t see anything, it’s too dark. So I came here to search under the streetlight."
The Rebbe of Kotzk once asked, "Where is G-d?" His answer: "Wherever He is let in." If we let G-d into our day-to-day activities, G-d and holiness become a part of our daily lives.
G-d doesn’t just live in a synagogue. He is everywhere and everything—but we need to open our perceptions to Him. Jewish rituals were never meant to be hollow actions. They are meant to be hallowed actions. They are supposed to be a key. G-d already knows where we are, now we have to find Him! We can have a spiritual experience at any time, and G-d is found everywhere.
We hear holiness when we listen to that little voice inside us, we taste holiness when we offer a prayer before we eat, we take holiness with us when we kiss the mezuzah on our way out. We sanctify time by turning Saturday into Shabbat. We sanctify place and person through mitzvot such as sukkah and mikvah.
And once we begin to experience G-d in what we do, say, think and feel, we discover that spirituality is not something that just happens, but something that we continuously strive for. How do we strive for it? By our everyday actions. Where is G-d? Wherever He is let in.
The Jewish New Year is about a fresh new start, and at Farbrengen, we’ve compiled some fresh food for spiritual thought. In this issue, a woman takes us on her thirty-year journey in "Confessions of a Jewish Feminist," and in our "Dear Rebbe" column, modern science grapples with a miracle in the ICU. We hope you enjoy this edition of Farbrengen, and, as always, we welcome and enjoy your feedback.
May we be written and inscribed in the Book of Life for a happy, healthy and sweet New Year. F