First posted on The Times of Israel at: http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/shmot-direct-divine-doorway/
Netziv Exodus: Shmot
Direct Divine Doorway
“Materialism is the only form of distraction from true bliss.” -Doug Horton
Moses sees the burning bush from afar. Curious, he approaches. The voice of God commands him to remove his shoes, for he is on holy ground.
The Netziv on Exodus 3:5 reads an allegory into God’s first words to Moses. If you want to approach Me, if you want direct contact with Me, you need to separate from your stuff. It may be as mundane as your shoes. It may be something good and useful for everyday life and comfort. But if you want clear, uninterrupted access to Me, you need to leave the material behind. Stop thinking about your stuff. Stop dealing with your stuff. Give Me your full undivided attention and I’ll be there, waiting.
The Netziv adds that it’s not for everyone and it’s not all the time. We cannot walk around the whole day shoeless. We cannot ignore the basic and material aspect of our lives. But you can connect directly to God when you separate yourself from the mundane, when you’re in a sacred space. This doesn’t negate the ability to find God in the mundane – but perhaps it is simpler and more direct.
May we be able to take ourselves away from materialism, even if for brief moments, to encounter God more fully.
To “The Story of Stuff Project”. It is a great effort of Tikun Olam (fixing the world).