Vaeschanan – Do we connect?

Among all the different religions out there and those of the past each one had a unique way to connect to their god or gods. We can look in the Gemara at idols that their way of service was to defecate on them. Or the ritual of Native Americans; dancing in order to please the rain gods and going on vision quests to find themselves. Even in Christianity the higher levels of “spirituality” can only be attained through abstinence and deprivation. Yet we Jews, have a torah of 613 Mitzvos and many intricacies in Avodas Hashem, is it simple for us to connect to God? Is it meant for the average person?

Many philosophers have debated whether a human can connect to God. Some say only through an intermediary – an angel, others believe that the only time one is attached to God is in the next world after death, never in this world. Most will say that it is possible, but only to special individuals, those on a lofty moral level who have struggled and toiled in their efforts. But never to the average man. Never to the whole nation. Yet, none of these opinions are aligned with The Torah. For the pasuk in our Parsha says, “But you who clung to Hashem your God are alive, every one of you, today.”(4:4) Who can connect to God? The Torah tells us; “every one of you”. No matter where you are, no matter time or place, every one of us is connecting to God. No need for crazy rituals, for solitude or suffering. So what is required of us as Jews to cling to Hashem? To be “alive” and to be “today”. Utilizing each moment and doing our best at Avodas Hashem is what’s needed to connect to Him. If we feel like we are far and distant we have to remember that each step we take brings us closer and strengthens our connection to Hashem. And if we feel like we may have failed, remember to be “today”, not to focus on the shortcomings of yesterday but to be alive in today. Each step we take is not coming close from afar, God is never far from us, as the pasuk says “Hashem is close to all those who call him” (Tehillim 145:18), rather with each step we are binding the ropes of our connection tighter and firmer, allowing us to truly cling to Hashem in every moment and in every situation.

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