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01/05/2018 09:36:37 AM


Eliezer Wolf

Here’s a typical conversation over the past few days:

A: “Its’ freezing!”

B: “I know. They say that it’s 10 degrees.”

A: “Yeah, but the real-feel is actually -5 degrees!”

Humans have been attempting to make weather predictions for thousands of years. And ever since the invent of science and technology, we have been able to forecast with much greater precision.

In the 1990’s, meteorologists introduced an even more important forecast. Not only could they predict what the actual weather will be, but they devised a system which could determine how the temperature is perceived by the average person. They called this the ‘real-feel temperature’.

In other words, irrespective of what the temperature is, how does it actually feel?

There’s a remarkable spiritual insight to be gleaned from this shift, from concerning ourselves with the objective data to concerning ourselves with the subjective impression.

Let’s take an example from a mitzvah. Here’s a scenario that occurred last Sukkot: A person came to Shul wanting to shake the Lulav and Etrog. Being unfamiliar with the mitzvah, he asked all sorts of questions, like “how do I hold it?”, “how do I shake it?”, “what blessing do I make?” After successfully performing the mitzvah, having followed the instructions, I asked him, “nu, how did it feel?” He gave me a look as if I’d asked the strangest of questions.

It is of course very important to follow the Torah’s guidelines of how to live our lives. But it is equally important to ‘personalize’ each experience. Instead of doing something because ‘that’s what the Torah says’, or because ‘that’s what you’re supposed to do’, we should be searching for, and discovering, the unique personal message and spiritual enhancement in all that we do.

When we pray together, it might look the same on the outside. We’re wearing the same tefillin, using the same siddur, singing the same songs, and listening to the same Torah portion being read. But hopefully you and I are experiencing something completely different from each other, because you and I are different in so many ways. Our minds, hearts and souls are in different places.

The Torah’s text and instructions are like the actual temperature. They’re important to know. But then we ought to ask ourselves, “What is it teaching me? How does it relate to my life? How am I becoming a changed person?” And then you can truly discover your real-feel spiritual temperature.

Oh, and I hope things warm up real soon, physically and spiritually!

Shabbat Shalom from a freezing Miami😊!

Fri, December 3 2021 29 Kislev 5782