Celebrating the Spiritual Levels of Torah

Torah is a teaching that continues to unfold, guiding us to appreciate the text more fully
as our awareness evolves.

Torah Portion for the Week of September 11 - 17, 2016: Ki Tetze

(Deuteronomy 21:10 - 25:19)

The most potent creative force we possess

This week's parashah brings various unrelated rules meant to maintain high ethical standards in the community. While there are many specific laws that are no longer relevant today, the principles behind them endure. Were we to read only the surface meaning of the text, we would miss much of what is being offered.

One of my favorite Torah injunctions is contained in this parashah and might, at first glance, seem to be among those that are irrelevant today. Here it is:

You shall not muzzle an ox while it is threshing. (25:4)

Of course, we wouldn't think of muzzling our ox because we have no ox and we do no threshing. But the principle still speaks, reminding us that the worker has the right to be nourished by the fruits of his or her labor.

The teaching, of course, is meant for each of us, as well. Perhaps we have had the experience of being muzzled, when conditions in our world kept us from speaking our truths. And we all know those moments when our own fears keep us from sharing our feelings and thoughts in difficult situations.

We also muzzle our own awareness when we focus only on our current drama, and rob ourselves of the beauty around us. When we take each other for granted, we keep ourselves from appreciating the richness of the moments we share.

We are experts at muzzling! We even muzzle our vision. Our consciousness is the most potent creative force we possess-our intentions, our images, and our image-rehearsals help shape the lives we lead. Yet when we muzzle visions of a desired future beneath the weight of our already-patterned past, we deny the that which is waiting to be born through us.

We are called this week to once again take ownership of our own creative energies. We are called to open to fuller possibilities reaching out to meet us in this moment. We are called to meet and to share our truths. Life is always calling to us, urging us to awaken from our sleep. The Universe yearns to be celebrated in and through us all.

Focus Phrases

Focus Phrases I awaken to the wonders of this moment.
I celebrate the fullness offered me now.
My world is alive with energies of Life and Love.

Writing Prompts

My favorite way of "muzzling" myself has been. . .
When I more fully awaken to the wonders of the moment, I know. . .
If I were truly awake and aware right now, I would. . .

Photo: Mark Reden