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Monday, 2 June 2014

Finding your basherte

Rosh Hashanah 26

Neville is a great guy.   He really has everything going for him.  He’s handsome, intelligent, earns a good living and a is real mensch. He is just missing one thing in life.  He can’t seem to find the right woman to marry. 

He’s dated literally hundreds of young ladies.  This one’s not good for this reason, the other one for that reason.  All valid points.  Why do some people have such a hard time finding their basherte

The Mishnah states: All animal horns are kosher for use on Rosh Hashanah except that of a cow.
Ulla explains that the problem with using a cow’s horn is that it is reminiscent of the golden calf.  On the High Holy days, we achieve atonement for that great sin.  It would be inappropriate to show up with evidence of our crime and expect to be forgiven!

Ulla derives his understanding from Rabbi Chisda’s similar teaching about the High Priest who would ordinarily wear gold vestments throughout the year.  On Yom Kippur, however, he wears white, to avoid any reference to the golden calf incident, since gold which is “the prosecutor cannot become the defender.”

Finding your basherte involves a combination of head and heart.  Yes, you need to use your head and decide whether this person is a good rational choice.  But at a certain point, you need to let go of your mind and see if your heart thinks it’s a good idea.  Strange as it may sound, sometimes the mind can’t be both your prosecutor and your defender.  The mind will analyze everything and break it down into minute details.  You start judging this person in ways you would never judge yourself and then you get stuck and can’t move forward.

Sometimes you need to leave the golden vestments of the mind behind and proceed with simple white garments.  Free yourself of your preconceptions and inhibitions and follow your heart!

The same is true of the spiritual love you seek.  We all want to have a strong relationship with the Almighty, but many of us are so bogged down with our past preconceived notions that we can’t embrace G-dliness.  Often you need to just let go, clear your mind so that you can explore spirituality with an open mind.    

Judaism demands intelligence, thoughtfulness and mental effort.  But it also requires the humility of accepting that we are mere mortals and cannot fathom everything.  Your mind can be your worst enemy if you subject your every thought to the wringer of all your prior perceptions and notions. 

Embracing your spirituality sometimes means just letting go and following your soul’s aspirations!

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