The founder of the Chasidic movement lived about 300 years ago. His name was Rabbi Yisroel and was called the Ba’al Shem Tov. Sometimes people refer to him as The Besht, which is the acronym of …
The founder of the Chasidic movement lived about 300 years ago. His name was Rabbi Yisroel and was called the Ba’al Shem Tov. Sometimes people refer to him as The Besht, which is the acronym of Ba’al Shem Tov.
He didn’t innovate anything, he just reinvigorated particular approaches and teachings in Judaism that was there from time immemorial.
One of the things is a focus on Love and Joy within Jewish Life and when doing the Commandments. Similarly, he taught the unbelievable value that there is in every little thing in Judaism. Every small thing is special in the eyes of G-d and hence it should be special in our eyes.
Critics of the movement were afraid that if you teach that small things are special then a person will feel sufficient with small things and would not strive to reach perfection. The Besht held the opposite was true. The more you realize the specialty of every small thing, you’ll want to do it more and more. Perfection is a culmination of many small deeds and traits. The more a person appreciates every little thing the greater they will become.
There’s a nice line that I like, “small people look at great things, great people look at small things”.
This brings me to Passover, which is coming up next week Friday evening. Passover is a time to experience the Divine Love. Both, to express love to the Creator of the world and to feel and internalize the Love that the Creator showers upon us. Passover was the birth of the Jewish people as a people, nation, and extended family.
Passover is always in the spring. Spring is a time of rebirth and rejuvenation. We feel the love and excitement everywhere. We have an opportunity to take this energy and bring it into the service of G-d.
How do we do it? When we start to see the specialty of the small things in ourselves and in others. Expectation is the opposite of love. We live in a world where there is a lot of criticism. Above all, people criticize themselves constantly. Either by comparing to others or by just comparing to a vision that they want to be or what they used to want to be. Whatever the case is, people are constantly criticizing themselves. I too constantly criticize myself. Now is the time to appreciate the good that is within us even if it’s very small. The more excited we are about our own good points the more they would multiply.
Now is the time to open our hearts and feel the love of the Creator to us. How do we do it? Also, by looking at the small good things that we have in our lives. If we focus on a certain image that we want our lives to look like, maybe we are not happy. However, why should we try to live up to a certain image?
We can start to cherish everything that we have in life from bigger things to smaller things to very small things and then we will enjoy it all much more and we’ll be excited about life and about every day. That’s how we start feeling the Love of the Creator.
A person can have expectations and feel lacking, or they can drop expectations and feel that everything is a gift. So, which approach is better? The approach that makes a person happier in the long run is a sign that it’s better.
There are so many exciting commandments this Passover. Every one of them is an opportunity to express our love to the Creator and to feel and internalize the Love the Creator has for each and every one of us. Happy Passover!!
Rabbi Chanowitz from Monticello told me his Shul provides Matzah and Passover needs. Call the office: 845-794-8470
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