Friday, September 17, 2010

Less is More

Part of the joy of living in Israel is the diminished emphasis on material acquisitions in favor of spiritual pursuits.  Like almost all our neighbors who have a car at all, we drive a modest car that's way more than five years old, and we are very grateful to have it.  Israel is a place where "it's good enough" is a useful motto for guiding one's material life.

The plastic bags, cups and plates here are far flimsier than what we used in America, but I have come to see them as good enough.  In fact, throwing away plastic ware after one use seems far less wasteful to me here than it used to.

We, and most of our friends, live in much smaller spaces with far fewer amenities than we had in America, but it's certainly good enough.

Offices, institutions and synagogue facilities are often much simpler here than in America, but they are functional and good enough.

In fact, fancy cars, excessive material possessions and ornately decorated homes can be seen as distasteful in the context of life in Israel.

All of this parallels an emphasis on spiritual development.  It's as if the material world, more modest, but by no means deficient, contracts itself to make room for spiritual pursuits.

In my own experience, this translates to more time spent praying, more time learning Torah, more time seeing, talking about and talking with Gd in every day life, more Torah classes and more potent (if sometimes far too fleeting) spiritual insights.

This video from Aish.com is genius.  The speaker is captivating and the message is a powerful one.  Whether we live in Israel or not, we all want a relationship with Gd.  We want more meaning in our lives. We want to stop chasing ephemeral goals and focus on acquiring something of significance, not just, for example, another pair of designer shoes.

And that's what Yom Kippur gives us a chance to find.

Gmar Chatima Tova - may we all be inscribed and sealed for a life of meaning and purpose.

1 comment:

rutimizrachi said...

"All of this parallels an emphasis on spiritual development. It's as if the material world, more modest, but by no means deficient, contracts itself to make room for spiritual pursuits."

Exactly. Thank you!