Parashat Matot-Maasei- Stop Stopping
1. These are the journeys of Benei Yisrael who left the land of Egypt in their legions, under the charge of Moshe and Aharon.
א. אֵלֶּה מַסְעֵי בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר יָצְאוּ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם לְצִבְאֹתָם בְּיַד מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן:
My mother is convinced that I am going to bring the Mashiah. How much Tehillim could you possibly recite? Mashiah is already on its way! Must you daven even when you wait for your train?
Yes, I do.
The Torah HaKedoshah opens this Parashah, 'These are the journeys of Benei Yisrael,' but then instead of recounting their journeys as they moved from one location to the other, the Torah lists the forty-two encampments where they stopped during their sojourn in Midbar Sinai, in the desert.
We learn that not only do the journeys count, but the stops, when Benei Yisreal as a whole seems idle, when nothing seems to be happening, when we're just chilling- those matter too. The stops too, they are journeys in and of themselves.
There is no such thing as doing nothing. We must always be occupied-with good things, of course. In life, we don't take breaks. A mother's biggest fear is to hear her children say 'I'm Bored'. HaShem Yerahem. Don't let your guard down even for one moment. We must always be engaged in Torah, Tefillah and Missvot. You're waiting for your bus? You're standing on line at Shop Delight? You're sitting in a history class? Whip out a Tehillim and Daven. Sneak your Blackberry under the desk and read a Devar Torah (seriously, what else is it good for?). You have a free Sunday? Do Bikur Holim, visit the sick. Make your 'stops' into a journey of their own.
Don't waste a moment. Make the most of your time.
Towards the end of Parashat Maasei, the Torah delineates the journey of an 'accidental murderer'. If somebody mistakenly kills another person, there are six cities of refuge that they may escape to so that the family of the person who was murdered cannot get to him.
SIX? Why six? One of these cities seems to be more than plenty! We don't need a killer city hopping all around. Even this guy's stops have special significance….
The Torah HaKedoshah includes six hundred and thirteen Missvot (commandments). After the Beit HaMikdash was destroyed (I want it back!), we are able to observe only three hundred and thirty nine of them. Now, there are some Missvot that we might never encounter in our lifetime and may not have the opportunity to do. The ones that we are entirely obligated to observe, since we surely have the opportunity to do them in our lifetime, are two hundred and seventy. Yet, even these are time based and depend on certain times of the year or specific times of the day. The Sefer HaHinukh tells us that there are only six Missvot which we are constantly obligated to observe-at any given time of the day, week, month or year. These Missvot do not depart from a person for a single moment throughout their lifetime. This is why they are called the 'Shesh Missvot Temidiot'; the Six Constant Missvot.
1. Emunah b'HaShem- To know that HaShem exists
2. Lo Yihiyeh Lekha elohim Aherim- Not to believe in any other power (has ve'Shalom)
3. Yihud HaShem-To know HaShem is ONE.
4. Ahavat HaShem-To love HaShem (I'm obsessed!)
5. Yiraat HaShem-To fear/be in awe of HaShem
6. Lo Ta'turu Aharei Levavkhem ve'Aharei Einekhem- Don't be mislead by your heart and your eyes
Next time you are standing online at Saks Fifth Avenue waiting to pay, don't just stand there and look around, take HaShem with you. Advanced Calculus class? Don't text on your phone pretending that it's your calculator, HaShem is right there sitting in the desk next to you. Walking to Beit Keneset on Shabbat Kodesh? Review in your head that HaShem exists, I believe in only Him, He is One, I love Him, I fear Him and I will not follow the desires of my heart and eyes!
When you are standing idle at a 'stop', these Six Missvot serve as your refuge. Do something worthwhile with your free time. Tehillim bores you? No problem. Divrei Torah are too long to read? No problem. Not familiar with the other 607 Missvot? No problem! These six Missvot can be done by a simple act of awareness; you don't have to do anything else. Just be aware. Make the most of your time.
All other Missvot are supposed to lead us to these Six Constant Missvot. If we are able to utilize every moment we have in cultivating these Six, we are achieving a tremendously high level of relationship with HaKadosh Barukh Hu. When your 'Missvah Guard' is down, these Six should take its place. These Six Constant Missvot are akin to breathing. Even when we are preoccupied with other actions, we still continue to breathe. Likewise, when we are going about our day, even when we are doing other Missvot, we must automatically have these Six on our mind and in our hearts at all times.
From this point on, let's stop stopping. There should be no breaks. Make your stops a journey of their own. This way, Be'Ezrat HaShem we will constantly be close and connected to HaShem at every moment of our lives. May we think, live and breathe HaShem. May we always be aware of how absolutely AMAZING He is by using our time wisely and productively to do so. In this zekhout, may we merit to observe these Six Constant Missvot and more waiting in line at the Beit HaMikdash beKarov, Amen! May HaShem bless us with all that is good!
Wishing every beautiful Neshamah a Shabbat Shalom uMevorakh! Shabbat is a wonderful time to ingrain these special Missvot in our very being, take good advantage! Tizku leMissvot Rabot!
Information learned from Chabad.com and Aish.com
Make Your Neshamah Fly!