To Lend A Hand

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To Lend A Hand

Karen Berg
July 30, 2023
Like 23 Comments 8 Share

This article was previously published in 2016. 

The Zohar teaches that this week’s portion of Ekev deals mostly with the concept of spiritual tikun, a Hebrew word which translates to: Correction. The kabbalists teach that each of us has our own individual tikun, a sort of past life karma if you will. We come into our current incarnation with certain baggage, mistakes we made in previous lives, and it is our job in this lifetime to correct those mistakes. In fact, it is written that an individual may spend their entire life in meditation, thinking only positive thoughts, but upon arriving to the gates of heaven will be told that they have to return to the world of physicality because although they spent their life having done nothing negative, they did not complete the purpose for which they came to this world. We learn in this week’s portion that it is up to each of us to work our own individual tikun. No one can do it for us.

"We are given many chances in life to help each other."

This brought to mind a story that happened many years ago with one of our teachers.

There was once a student of kabbalah who was studying in secret. She did not want her father to know that she was studying, as he felt that it was inappropriate for women to study, and he would become angry when they would discuss it. One evening after studying, she asked her teacher if he could help her to get home as she had just purchased a set of Zohar and had no means to carry the set home. The teacher obliges, of course. He loads the Zohar into his vehicle, and they set about on their journey. As they arrived at her home, the car begins to overheat. The teacher, realizing that he needs water for the car, gets out of the vehicle only to find the student’s father standing right there. The teacher asks, “Sir, do you mind if I have some water? My car has broken down.” In response, the father begins screaming and ranting, telling the teacher to get lost. “But sir,” the teacher persists, “how can I get back home? I need water for the car.” Still, the father insisted that the teacher must leave at once.

The teacher, distraught and disappointed, walks to a nearby grocery store where he is given the water her needs. He makes his way back to the car, and eventually returns to his home. Upon arriving there, he receives a phone call from the student. Crying, she tells him that her father has passed away.

"Let us put our own personal needs aside to go and help."

We are given many chances in life to help each other, or to lend a hand -- and sometimes we rise to the occasion, and sometimes we do not, and that’s okay. We aren’t meant to be perfect, and we can’t expect that of ourselves. What we can do, however, is begin to recognize each opportunity to assist someone in need as our shining moment to restore the Light, to complete a circuit of energy, and to work on our tikun. For we never know which of those opportunities will be our last in this lifetime.

This week, let’s look for the opportunities wherein we are being called upon to assist, restore and complete. Wherever we see someone in need of assistance, let us put our own personal needs aside to go and help them with theirs. For isn’t this the true essence of spirituality? To help another person with their problems, even when we may be going through problems of our own.

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