Spiritual Ingredients

First posted on The Times of Israel at: http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/netziv-spiritual-ingredients/

Netziv Exodus: Tetzaveh

Spiritual Ingredients

“By the work one knows the workmen.” -Jean De La Fontaine

A long time ago in a land far away I had a very special martial arts teacher. Besides his ability to pulverize cinderblocks with a single strike he had an unusual sensitivity to inanimate objects. He could touch, for example, a hand-made knife, and would discern something of the spirit of its creator. Once, he told us, he touched an object which had such a foul spiritual signature that it made him ill.

I have heard of Chassidic Rabbis that also had a similar sensitivity, that by touching a book he could tell something about a person with a strong spiritual aura who had last touched that book. My own extra-sensory perceptions are limited to food. There is something about a home-cooked meal that tastes better than anything commercially or industrially prepared. One can almost taste the love that goes into such cooking.

The Netziv on Exodus 28:3 says that the same spiritual energy and effect occurred with the construction of the Tabernacle as well as with all of the priestly vessels and garments. The artisans who fabricated each component did so with great intent. They placed a part of their soul into their work. Aaron, the High Priest, was able to sense their spirit and purity of purpose which in turn fortified him in his work as the spiritual representative of the Nation of Israel.

May we do the tasks given to us well, do it with spirit. One never knows the reverberations that will be felt, where, when or by whom.

Shabbat Shalom,



To Orlando, our guide of the gold mine in Minas. His love of his task was amazing — and so was the tour of the old mine that was excavated extensively in the 1730s.

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