For many of us the school year is over. Ashkenazi Jews have already been giving each other the traditional greeting agitn zimmer (a good summer) since Shavuot. This whole mood of optimism just washes over everything like the sun’s rays, which I plan to actually enjoy this year. More time on the bike and chasing around my kids, not like the past several years.
Unfortunately I will be heading back to gehinnom shortly for my own studies. Again. Enough whining though.
Still, with all of the fun things to do outside, we can’t ignore the fact that we have an inside too. Biking is good. Swimming is good. Frolfing is good, especially if you need to get out of the sun but still want to be outside. But there also needs to be some time for the sedentary aspect, the spiritual aspect.
The Cohen Gadol was given a very special job in this week’s parshah: to prepare the Menorah, the seven-branched candelabra located inside the Temple building. Not to light it, but prepare it. Anyone can light it. The preparation is considered to be the most important part here, since the flame won’t catch if the wicks aren’t set just right.
There are two headsets we can have going into summer: getting as much physical pleasure as possible or attempting to satisfy our spiritual side at the same time. The difference of course is learning Torah. Learning Torah is the preparation for the flame, your energy bursting at the seams. It is time to get out and enjoy yourself, but at the same time to use your head and live a more elevated existence.
Going to the beach is nice. Waking up there face down in the morning and not knowing how you got there isn’t. It’s not the Jewish way to enjoy your time off. So take a bit of time to infuse your head with holiness before the rest of you takes over.