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Hachodesh: A New Heart

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26) The order of the verse seems strange: Would it not make more sense to remove the “heart of stone” before God will give us a new heart?

Rabbi Yosef Chayon (Commentary to Ezekiel) explains that the first stage will actually be the “new spirit,” which will begin to transform the heart of stone into a “heart of flesh” that is alive, vibrant and beating. The “new spirit” will renew our hearts by allowing us to respond to Torah. When our spirits are able to experience the Torah’s wisdom and teachings, our hearts of stone will soften and regain their essence as a “heart of flesh.”

The “newness” will not require a heart transplant. We become so accustomed to our experiences, learning, prayers, and service that our spirits stop beating to the flow of Divine Sustenance that is constantly offered by God.

The first Mitzvah/Concept that God gave us as a nation was the ability to refresh our inner spirit so that we can pump the flow of Divine Influence through our entire being.

It is essential to use this week to evaluate the areas of our Divine Service that have become habit and cease to electrify us. Choose one area of Torah study, one section of Tefillah, and one Mitzvah, that, in the past but not currently, would resonate in the deepest parts of our hearts and, during this week of Hachodesh, focus on that learning, prayer and Mitzvah as fresh and exciting.

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