A Pure Heart

In the Bible,  book of Deuteronomy chapter 30:6 it is said

וּמָל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֶת-לְבָבְךָ, וְאֶת-לְבַב זַרְעֶךָ:  לְאַהֲבָה אֶת-יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, בְּכָל-לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל-נַפְשְׁךָ–לְמַעַן חַיֶּיךָ.

The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.”  What does that mean? How can a heart be circumcised? And what does circumcision has to do with loving?

 Before we answer that, did you know that according to Jewish thought, the first man, Adam, was born uncircumcised? Yes! And only after he ate from the tree of knowledge, he developed an orla (the outer skin that is traditionally the skin that is cut off during a circumcision ceremony). Jewish tradition  advocates that when we are born, we are born pure. Our heart is pure. without any blemish. And as we grow, we learn behaviors that are not positive to our soul and not contributing to our holy self, which causes us to become desensitized to what we say to others.

We figuratively grow another layer of skin so we do not feel the impact of our words and actions on others. So, at that moment when the extra layer of skin has grown, god interrupts and circumcises that part, which is not necessary for our being, thus bringing us to our original self, to a pure state.  If the circumcision vision is hard for you, how about this vision— imagine us as a vessel, a beautiful clear glass vase. And as we grow and mature, our clear vase gets dusty. Dusty because it was outside, because we filled and emptied it several times. So it develops a layer of film that makes the glass less clear. It has stains on it.  It is not as shiny as it once was.  And then we wash it, in warm soapy water. and what is the result? A beautiful vessel, as clear a vase as it was the moment it entered our life. That is our heart. So how does our heart get “dusty” or “grow another layer?”

I want to believe that most of us are good people. But at times we make mistakes, all of us. By not using our mouth the way god intended for us. By not being sensitive to others and their needs, by talking more than listening, by taking more than giving, by criticizing more than complimenting, by hating more than loving.  I am sure you can think of more ways our hearts get dusty.  But then comes God, and he “circumcises” our heart, and once he does that, we are able to love! Our channels of goodness, kindness, love, empathy and so much more, are once again open. Think of times where you feel or felt that you are not living up to your best self?  What do you think are the reasons for this feeling? What causes you to experience this?  And what actions do you think you can take to elevate your heart so your heart can sing and rejoice. If each one of us will take this thinking task upon their heart, the results can be astronomical! Let’s do it– what do we have to loose?

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