Saturday, March 7, 2009

Where am I?

by Izzy Greenberg

Where are you? How often should I ask myself this question? How often should I ask it of my friend? My father? My sister? My children? My spouse?

On the one hand, asking this question incessantly or at the wrong time can be devastating, or at least very uncomfortable. But avoiding it entirely is even worse. So how do I strike a balance here?

The Exodus from Egypt serves as the paradigm for all forms of growth and liberation, both personal and collective. In this regard, the Torah’Дфs instruction is very clear: Remember the Exodus from Egypt every day. Every day? Am I supposed to be neurotic? Well, sort of.

I am bound by many factors ’До intellectual prejudices, physical desire, self-perception, money, etc. But perhaps none of these limitations is more debilitating than the growth I achieved yesterday. In his revolutionary book, Tanya, The Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, teaches that the world is being recreated all the time. Every day, in fact every moment, a new energy is willing the world ’До and all of its inhabitants ’До into being.

The question is, why? Why did my soul descend from the spiritual bliss of the higher worlds to get down and dirty in the obsessive materialism of this physical earth?

I came here for a purpose. Beyond just a general purpose that applies to everyone, to transform this physical world into an abode for the Infinite, there is my specific purpose ’До the small but indispensable role that I have to play. And even my specific purpose finds new forms of expression every day, at every moment, as the world (and me with it) is being recreated. For this reason, the Torah instructs me to remember the Exodus every day. Yes, I have to function and spend most of the day ’Дъjust doing it.’Дщ But, nevertheless, that functionality has to be infused with a daily dose of: Where are you?

So, where are you? As the world is being recreated all the time, so is my reason for being. Am I keeping up with the shifting paradigms and the changing realities to focus my purpose and my life in the right direction, or am I resigned to being swept away by the incessantly rushing waters of my material life, by necessity, by the need to function? I am powerful. I am being created at every moment. Will I deny the power and purpose of my being, or will I acknowledge them and utilize them to spur further growth? Where are you? Indeed, every day.