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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

The Red String

Yoma 68

Very often, when we make an effort for G-d, He will complete the task.

In today’s daf, the gemara asks how the Kohen Gadol would know that the goat had successfully been sent off the cliff to Azazel in order to continue the service in the Temple.

The Tana Kama explains that once the deed had taken place, there was an assembly line of people who would intermittently stand along the road from the cliff to Jerusalem and signal to one another until the message reached back to the Temple.  According to Rabbi Yehudah, a messenger would accompany the goat-pusher to the desert and then return to the Temple with the message that the goat had reached the desert, and that was sufficient information to assume that it would reach the cliff.  Rabbi Yishmael points out that there was a piece of crimson wool in the Temple that would turn white once the goat had dropped, showing the purification of the nation’s sins.

In our service of the Almighty, sometimes we need to make an incredible effort.  We go the entire distance, because that’s what G-d expects of us.  Sometimes, however, we make an effort and G-d meets us half way, helping us in our spiritual quest.   Although the initial start may have been difficult, once we have gotten to the desert, G-d will take care of the rest.  On rare occasions, we don’t need to make any effort whatsoever, G-d simply performs a miracle for us, and effortlessly, the wool turns white of its own accord.

Today, let us set out on our spiritual journey with the plan to ‘go the distance.’  Who knows, maybe G-d will meet us half way and help us jump over those challenges we face!  But most importantly, let's tune in to those little miracles that we all encounter every day.  That string might already be turning white – we need only to open our eyes to G-d’s grace and realize that He is constantly helping and guiding us along the way.

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