#BlogElul Day 29: Return

There are two tendencies: one to run away and not look back;
and one to want to look back, turn around, and return.

The American World is currently in that first tendency. I think it has been in that has been its MO since the first colonizations, Jamestown, then Plymouth Rock; and certainly since 1776. It results in a tremendous degree of accomplishment and advancement. This unprecedented degree of liberty has been very good for the Jews in many respects.

Yet it has almost killed the second tendency. The desire to return, to revert to a connection that is not related to profit and fourth-quarter growth. Notice how we and our employers all freak out about taking a few days off work in the fall.

Technology is defined in halacha by an entity called a “Kli”, sometimes translated as “vessel”, like a cup or bowl, but which also includes any finished man-made object; a ball, a shirt, a pen etc.

A “Kli” is “mekabeil Tumah”, it has the potential to become impure. It’s important to note that it isn’t impure. It just has the capacity to become impure.

Most of this means nothing nowadays. We don’t live with those concerns in the absence of a Temple.

The part that’s important for us is that the definition of impure is that it distances us from a full Relationship. That’s what man-made objects do, in all their sophistication and convenience.

On Shabbos, and on Yom-Tov, we can use these things, but only in ways that do not turn us into creators, which has the potential to make us forget our Creator.

So for a couple of days, on Rosh Hashana, we can return to only some of that tendency-two.

לשנה טובה תכתבו ותחתמו לאלתר לחיים טובים ולשלום


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