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Thursday, 24 September 2015

Stoke your Real-Aish-On-Ship!

Daf Yomi Nazir 33

I recently heard about a shul in Switzerland that has cancelled Yizkor services.  The bulk of the members were only showing up three or four times a year for Yizkor and the rabbi decided that he couldn’t justify the driving on the holiday for the twenty minutes they would be there.  So he cancelled it. 

When I heard about it, I said to myself, ‘Shouldn’t he be happy that these people are at least showing up to something?!  Now they won’t ever come to shul!’

Concerning the Beis Hamikdash (Holy Temple), the Prophet Jeremiah declared, “They are the Temple of G-d, the Temple of G-d, the Temple of G-d.”
Rav Yosef taught: This verse refers to the First Temple and Second Temple.
Tosfos explains: The verse prophesies that there will be three Temples.  Two will be destroyed, but the third Throne of the Great and Awesome Day will never disappear.   Nevertheless, Rashi interprets the verse in Jeremiah differently.
How does Rashi explain the verse?  Three times a year you appear before Me.
Rashi’s comments are based on the Midrash: The Almighty is saying to Israel, ‘Do not rely upon the three pilgrimage festivals you celebrate each year.  If you do not perform My bidding, your festivals are worthless to Me.  Thus the verse in Amos states, “I despise, I revile your festivals.”

Certainly, it’s not an ideal situation when most shul members only show up for Yizkor.  It’s reminiscent of the days of yore when the people in Jeremiah’s time would show up just for the pilgrimage festivals, but then behave like the pagan nations around them during the rest of the year.  The Almighty wants a year-round relationship.   

But He’s our Father in Heaven.  And like a parent, He will always love His children, no matter how far we stray from His embrace.  Whether you show up once, twice, every week or every day, He loves you far beyond any physical love we could ever imagine!  He loves us, and longs for us to remember Him just a little more regularly. 

As we know, our Heavenly relationship parallels our earthly relationships.  The Prophet Jeremiah is waking us up to our physical relationships just as much as our spiritual relationship.  His message: three times a year just doesn’t cut it.

You think you’re good because you remember your wedding anniversary?  And your spouse’s Hebrew and English birthdays?   Because you take them away on fancy vacations a couple of times a year?  

Your spouse desires and deserves a year-round relationship.  If you’re working eighteen-hour days just to afford the fancy vacations, your spouse would much rather spend the time with you today and every day and make do with a Winnebago getaway.  They can live without another island.

And you don’t need to wait until your anniversary to make them breakfast in bed.  How about you surprise them on a regular Monday or Thursday and ask them out on a lunch date?  If you did something special every single day for your spouse, can you imagine how the relationship would look?

The only way to survive the stormy seas of life to have a fire of constant passion that burns brightly between you.  That’s why it’s called a real-aish-on-ship – if you want to survive the sea of life, you need a real fire on board the ship that you are sailing on together.  And the moment you stop stoking the flame, it peters out.   Trying to get your relationship on the right track again every few months is not going to do it.  It must be kept alive and burning constantly. 

Remembering birthdays is great, but a relationship means being there day-in, day-out for the other person.  (And besides, nowadays Facebook will remind you when it’s a friend’s birthday, so it’s no longer worth any points!)  May you merit a real-aish-on-ship with your loved ones and ultimately, with your Loved One!

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