It’s Friday in Jerusalem, raining, and preparations for Shabbat/Shabbos are underway. I am making kitcheree in my friend’s kitchen in Arnona. Kicheree is an Indian Ayurvedic dish.
Mirroring. This Shabbat, Shabbat Shmot, can be experienced as a Shabbos where we explore the depth of mirrors, of mirroring. In the Nonviolent Communication training we just finished in the desert, we learned the power of mirroring to connect us with ourselves and others. With mirrors, as the great Rabbinical teacher, the Svas Emes, says, we can see what is usually hidden to us – we see ourselves, how we appear to others. When we take on the practice of mirroring for each other, we shine the light of awareness on what is inside of each of us- our feelings and needs. This Torah section and the midrashim suggest that learning to mirror is an essential ingredient to waking up to a life of freedom.
Last night at the celebration of Emuna Witt’s son Meckle’s engagement, a joyful Hasidic celebration, Reb Yankele told a Hasidic story from the Sanz Rebbe about this very mirroring, about what is revealed when we look deeply into the beginning and end of each person, inside of each of us. The Sanzer was encouraging the betrothal of a young couple, the young women healthy and an image of beauty and the man crippled. The young woman wasn’t sure if she could really open her heart to the young man because of his “deformity.” The Sanzer gave them a mirror, a special mirror, and asked them to look into it. They saw themselves in heaven, before they were born. There they were, and lo and behold, the man was whole and healthy and beautiful; and the young woman was crippled. They saw that when they were taking birth, into this world, the young man, knowing that they were destined to be together, took her “deformity” onto himself so she could be whole and healthy.
Let us remember this Shabbos and all week that when we stop to really take in the beauty of the person in front of us, when we stop to connect with their feelings and needs, we ourselves step out of the consciousness where we judge people by their “deformities”, where we even see “deformities” , into the consciousness where we see only wholeness and compassion and connection. In this space, we are free to love, to feel closeness, to trust.
Shabbat Shalom to all my friends in Tulkarem, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Tubas, New York, Israel, Europe……..