Follow by Email

Monday, 21 September 2015

No such thing as mistaken identity

Daf Yomi Nazir 30


A friend told me about the time he was driving through South Dakota when he was bagel’d.  Bagel’ing is when someone randomly throws a Hebrew or Yiddish word your way in the hope that you’ll engage them in conversation.  It’s their soul reaching out for a spiritual hug. 

So he’s in South Dakota and he starts chatting with this fellow who’s Jewish and, lo and behold, his wife is also Jewish.  And also from South Dakota! 
My friend says to them, ‘That’s incredible.  I mean, it couldn’t have been easy to find the only other Jew, practically, in the state to marry!’
‘Actually,’ they responded, ‘it was a bit of a fluke.  Neither of us were looking to meet someone Jewish.  It’s weird, isn’t it, how things turned out that way?!’

Beis Shamai say: Sanctification in error is none the less sanctification.  For example, if one declared, ‘The barrel of wine that I will pick up first will be dedicated to the Temple, but then he lifted up a barrel of oil,’ Beis Shamai say it is none the less sanctified.

There is no such thing as sanctification in error.  You might think that you had no intention to sanctify a piece of this world, but your essence – your neshama (soul) – most certainly desired the sanctification.   Your neshama is pure; it knows its mission on earth – your mission on earth.  And it will strive to utilize every possible opportunity to sanctify the world and make it an abode for the Divine Presence.

Your default position is to do the Heavenly thing.  When you behave in an unHeavenly manner, you have momentarily acted out of character.  Sanctifying this world could never be in error; that’s your natural modus operandi!  You come from a spiritual source higher than the highest angels.  Could you imagine an angel doing the wrong thing?  Of course not!  And so too you.  Your performance of mitzvos is entirely expected.  There is no such thing as sanctification in error! 

Our friends in South Dakota didn’t meet one another in error or haphazardly.  It was not a mistake.  It was their identity.  It was not a case of mistaken identity.  Their souls were drawn to one another in an effort to fulfil their Divine mission.  

When Divine magic happens, it is never a mistake.  It happens because that’s how Heaven operates.  When you do Heaven’s bidding, whether or not you consciously opted to do so, you have acted in concert with the natural flow of Divine energy in the world.

Next time you feel drawn to shul or doing a mitzvah, don’t fight it.  That’s your soul’s natural gravitational pull calling!  You might not think you want it, but your soul knows what you truly desire.  It’s not a mistake.  The only mistake is to resist.  Just let your spirit direct you to do what it is naturally drawn to do.


You can’t do a mitzvah by accident.  When you do Heaven’s bidding, it’s because the deepest recesses of your soul have shone forth and taken you on your spiritual journey.  May you merit going with the flow and never resisting your natural spiritual instinct!