This Shabbat:

Friday Candle Lighting: 7:51 PM

Shabbat Ends: 8:53 PM

Torah Message:

An Artist’s Impression

“May my soul die the death of the upright…..” (23:10)

In June 2012, the Israeli government expedited its “Tama 38” (National Outline Plan) mandate, which calls for the reinforcing of buildings against earthquakes. The incentive for builders is that they can build and sell an extra floor, and for apartment owners, that they receive an extra room that doubles as a rocket shelter.

I live in Ramat Eshkol in Jerusalem, an area where every second building seems to be in some stage of the “Tama.” The signage outside these buildings always depicts an idyllic scene of a super-modern façade with nary a stroller to crowd the entrance, or an errant air-conditioner hanging from a window, or a porch covered over to make another much-needed bedroom.

Often in life, our aspiration fades in proportion to our perspiration. We start with high ideals, but sometimes things get very difficult. However, if we never had that “artist’s impression” of our future, we would never have an ideal to aim for.

“May my soul die the death of the upright…”

Bilaam wanted to die the death of the upright — he just wasn’t prepared to live the life of the upright.

Bilaam saw evil as the easy way to success. With all his gifts as a prophet, he never made the effort to get out of his spiritual armchair.

It is likely that most of us will never achieve our spiritual goals, but if we never had that “artist’s impression” in our heads, we would never have even left our armchairs – let alone built an entire floor on the edifice of our spiritual lives.