Kavanot-Kabbalat Shabbat-Elul & Days of Awe-Psalm 95
Moses had seen the Children of Israel at their best when they stood before Sinai and chose to engage in an eternal conversation with God.
Moses saw the Children of Israel at their worst when he rushed from Sinai to present God’s gift of the Two Tablets only to find them dancing wildly around the Golden Calf.
The man who had met these people as slaves, led them through redemption, and watched them grow into expansive human beings, was convinced that they could raise themselves from their deepest pits of self-doubt and soar back to their highest potential:
“Come!” he invites them and us, “Let us sing to God,” and regain your crowns of achievement that I have been holding for you since you shed them after the Golden Calf.
Moses remembers a powerful tale of a human being who appreciated Shabbat as the perfect opportunity to reconnect to his highest moments: Adam.
Adam sinned on the same Friday on which he was created. When he heard God’s voice after he ate of the Tree of Knowledge, rather than hear the message, “I want you to hear me even though you slipped up,” Adam ran away. He did not know, he did not believe that a person who fell so hard could rise again. That is, he did not believe it possible to regain his heights until Shabbat.
God allowed Adam to remain in the Garden for Shabbat. God granted Adam the gift of Shabbat and eternity despite Adam’s belief that he had forfeit access to the eternal. God allowed Adam to continue to experience the Original Perfect Light of Creation even when Adam closed his eyes and hid from himself, convinced that such vision would never again be his.
As Shabbat began, Adam opened his eyes, experienced the Original Light, felt the light touch of the Eternal, and began to discern God’s Voice/Message in the gift of Shabbat:
Moses, who began by inviting us to sing with him and reclaim our crowns of achievement, helps us listen in to Adam’s invitation of Teshuvah: “Come! Let us prostrate ourselves and bow, let us kneel before God, Who relates to us even when we relate to existence at the lowest level, that of Assiyah – The Maker.”
Adam invites us to kneel after we prostrate and bow. Do we not kneel on the way down to bowing? Why speak of kneeling after bowing?
Unless, Adam is speaking of kneeling on the way up after bowing; pausing as we rise from the lowest point and focus on the rising that follows the bow rather than the prostration. Adam understood that the gift of Shabbat is the opportunity to rise to the greatest heights no matter how distant or low we feel.
Moses applies Adam’s lesson and invites us to rise up and sing with him, reclaim our lives at their highest. The question is never how low we fell. It is always how well do we rise?
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