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Feeding the body is how we survive, but feeding our soul allows us to thrive.
In the portion of Terumah, God instructs Moses: “Build unto me a Tabernacle, so that I can dwell within you.” In this story, there is a disagreement between Moses and Bezalel, the chief artisan of the Tabernacle, regarding how it should be constructed. Initially, Bezalel intends to build the structure just as one might a house. First you lay the foundation, then you put up the walls, the roof, and finally you place everything inside. Seems to make sense! Moses disagrees, saying first we must establish what is inside, and then we shall raise the walls around it. It’s an odd conversation to find in the Bible, but of course we know that there is nothing in Holy Scripture that does not contain profound depths of wisdom.
With these instructions to Bezalel, Moses is teaching us a great secret: When it comes to matters of the spirit, it is what’s on the inside that comes first, and matters most.
Statistic Brain did a study in January 2017, polling thousands of individuals on their New Year’s resolutions. At 21%, the largest majority by far resolved to eat healthier or lose weight. These are sound goals. After all, our body is a gift from the Creator, and as such it is important that we take care of it. Our soul too is a gift from the Creator, and though it is not as observable and needy as our body, it is the life force upon which the body runs and is worthy of being fed.
Many students have come to me throughout the years and said, “Karen, I’m so busy. I lead a full life. I hardly have any free time as it is. Why invest my time and energy into spirituality?”
It’s a good question, to which I would pose another: How can we be too busy for spirituality when without the spirit, we would have nothing to be busy with?
Whether it is meditation, prayer, or a simple walk outdoors, we can always find at least a moment within the hectic nature of each day to care for our inner Light. Sometimes there’s nothing more powerful than hitting the pause button just long enough to quiet our minds, open our hearts, and give thanks for all with which we have been blessed. Then, we can dive back into our routine refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to rise to our most compassionate, kindhearted and spirited selves.
This is a wonderful week to start making our soul a priority. If you find it difficult to stop in the middle of your day, try getting up a little earlier to set aside a few moments for prayer or meditation before you walk out the door. For those who feel they already make enlightenment a priority, attempt to raise your own bar. If you read or scan the Zohar for 10 minutes a day, this week make it 15. The more we nurture ourselves spiritually, the more enjoyable our journey through this physical plane is bound to be.
When the soul is fed, the body shines bright. With each person who places importance on their Light, the world becomes that much more radiant because of it.