Torah Thought for the Week

The Day After

8fa30b61b10c66537635_UC_Torah_Center.jpg
8fa30b61b10c66537635_UC_Torah_Center.jpg

Some years ago, the United Nations held the International Summit on Sustainable Development, here in Johannesburg. The Summit was a great success. One wonders, though, whether all the wonderful decisions and resolutions that were adopted were ever implemented. In other words, were they themselves sustainable?

Good ideas and worthwhile projects are suggested regularly. The question is, do they get off the drawing board? And if they do, how long do they last? What degree of permanence do they enjoy?

Moses gathered the assembly of the Children of Israel — these are the opening words of the Parshah Vayakhel. Rashi tells us that this day of assembly was the day after Yom Kippur. Moses came down from Mount Sinai on Yom Kippur bearing the message of G‑d's forgiveness for the sin of the Golden Calf. The next day, he gathered the people and commanded them to build the Sanctuary.

Sign Up for E-News

Why is it important to know that this was the day after Yom Kippur?

Perhaps it is because while on Yom Kippur everyone is holy, the challenge is to be holy after Yom Kippur. It is relatively easy to be holy on the holiest day of the year. The test of faith is to maintain our good behavior in the days and weeks following the awesome, sacred experience. Will we still be inspired or will our enthusiasm have waned straight after Neilah? How many Synagogues are filled to capacity on Yom Kippur and struggle for a minyan the next morning?

A son says kaddish for his father or mother faithfully — for the week of Shiva. And then? Or perhaps he comes to Shul regularly and recites kaddish for the full 11 months. And the next day he's gone.

And it's not only about Shul, it's about life. What happens after the honeymoon? Or the first anniversary? Do we have the commitment and the staying power to be in for the long haul?

Many people get inspired at one time or another. Over the years, I've seen hundreds of men and women go through a phase of dedicated Jewish living only to see them fall back on old habits and lifestyles. And it wasn't because their commitment faltered, but because they did not implement a sustainable program for that commitment to thrive.

Take Shabbat. A person experiences a real sense of Shabbat for the very first time in his or her life. Then again, and again, until they decide that they really want this for themselves. It's so serene, so spiritual, and so special. So they commit to keeping Shabbat. They start walking to Shul every Saturday. There's only one problem. They live three miles from the Shul that inspired them. O.K., it's not impossible to walk three miles; lots of people do it every day to keep in shape. So, as long as they are still on a spiritual high it works, but the reality is that it is simply not sustainable. If they don't move closer to their favorite Shul, something will snap.

I remember a couple who went so far as to buy an apartment near the Shul and they moved in every weekend. They managed for a while but even that was not sustainable. It became a bothersome schlep to have to move out every Friday and move back every Saturday night. It just didn't last.

So this is a call not only to maintain the momentum of our spiritual inspiration but to take practical steps to do so. To succeed in the long term, we must have a pragmatic plan; a realistic, workable, achievable program to see us through to the end. Otherwise, G‑d forbid, our fervent feelings of the moment may turn out a flash in the pan.

Let us be inspired enough to make sure our inspiration lasts.

The Union County Torah Center - Chabad is a Jewish educational outreach center and synagogue serving Union County with Shabbat & Holiday services, Hebrew School & youth programs &  Adult Education. The center is not membership oriented and is open to the public. 

Rabbi Levi Block can be reached at rabbiblock@torahcenter.org

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Scotch Plains/Fanwood

Westfield Family Continues ‘Summer of Kindness’ with Infant Clothing Drive

July 12, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield mom and teacher Sara Liptack is continuing her family’s “Summer of Kindess” with an infant clothing for Furniture Assist, an organization in Springfield that helps formerly homeless people, veterans, the elderly, fire victims, refugees and people fleeing domestic violence.

“I said, ‘What’s the one thing you really ...

It's Not What You Are Eating, It's What's Eating You

EMOTIONAL EATING: FEEDING YOUR FEELINGS

Emotional eating can be described as episodes of binge-eating, grazing and/or eating when not hungry to soothe feelings. Emotional eaters have a pattern of eating to cope with stress, emotional conflicts and problems of daily life.

Emotional eating is eating for reasons other than hunger. Instead of physical symptoms initiating the eating, ...

Send a Message to Nick Scutari and His Cronies: Corruption Has No Place in Union County

July 19, 2018

Dear Editor:

The Union County Freeholders’ decision to appoint State Senator and newly-elected Union County Democratic Chairman, Nick Scutari’s chief of staff, Ed Oatman as County Manager smelled of corruption from the start.

To place a political consultant like Oatman in the role of overseeing 2,800 employees and running the day-to-day operations of the $500 million County ...

When to Dial 911: Scotch Plains Rescue Squad Tip of the Month

July 10, 2018

There are many times you should call 911. If you or someone around you is in true medical distress, such as experiencing difficulty breathing, chest pains, bleeding, possible stroke, or any other serious health issues, then 911 should be called as soon as possible. If there are wires down, fire, a crime in progress, or other dangerous conditions to people or property, call 911 ...

Pizza and Trivia at Scotch Plains Public Library on Weds, Aug. 8

July 21, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- ​On Wednesday, August 8 at 6:00 p.m., join the teen staff for a night of trivia and pizza!

Teams of four will compete to figure out who has the best musical knowledge. Questions will range from “Name that Tune” to “Who Wrote that Musical?” The winning team will receive prizes. Registration is required and will begin on Monday, July 30 at 11:00 ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_b3322a9af399ab00349f_nightsky

Mon, July 23, 8:00 PM

Scotch Plains Public Library, Scotch Plains

View the Night Sky at the Scotch Plains Public ...

Arts & Entertainment Education

Carousel_image_99864111416f9af936dd_dsc_2436

Wed, July 25, 6:00 PM

JCC of Central NJ, Scotch Plains

The JCC’s Barracudas Swim Team Meet the Coaches ...

Sports

Carousel_image_989b40b66144f89908a8_pizza_run

Wed, July 25, 7:00 PM

Westfield

Downtown Westfield 5K & Pizza Extravaganza

Sports