Crushed to Life!

Friday, 19 February, 2016 - 8:34 am

Twenty two years ago I met Ian and eight years ago I met Sasha. I had the great pleasure of meeting both of them this week, one on the east coast and one here in Bozeman. They both experienced severe hardships in their life, Sasha was abused terribly as a child and Ian lost his only son to Tay-Sachs a few years back. They each turned their personal devastation, their individual darkness, into a bright light for themselves and those around them. Sasha is producing Rewind-To-Fast-Forward to teach the world how to heal and Ian created a foundation to help families with children suffering terminal illnesses. Their stories were, to me, the ultimate transformation of darkness to light.

In this week’s Torah portion, Tetzaveh, we read about the eternal flame flickering on the Temple’s Menorah, the G-dly candelabra. The verse says “And you shall command the children of Israel, and they shall take to you pure olive oil, crushed for lighting, to kindle the lamps continually.” Isn’t obvious that pure olive oil is crushed for lighting? Why the repetitive language? In his last will and testament, handed to me – and each of the Chassidim on hand - on Purim Katan 24 years ago, just before his debilitating stroke, the Rebbe answered the question: The more harsh the crushing of the olive, the more refined the oil it exudes.

If you’re alive, then you’re experiencing some challenge. They are not meant to throw you off your game and cast you into a state of eternal darkness, but rather to bring about the best in you, the purest form of your essence. While being temporarily crushed, it’s hard to focus, but we must, and allow it to serve as a personal reminder that this is the vessel for real brightness, that can only come about when all residue and tainted particles are purified. Yes, we await a time of only revealed light, a messianic experience, but until then we are to be crushed dancers, joyously experiencing the journey to refinement.

Crushed to life!




May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Moshiach speedily. May He protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

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