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A Sixth Dimension

A Sixth Dimension


I was at the corner of Grove and Baldwyn, just minutes away from my mid-afternoon coffee, when they stopped me. Two boys, in conservative but rumpled suits, big black hats shielding their faces from the sun.

They wanted me to light a candle.

But not just any candle; they wanted me to light a candle for G‑d. To change the world. To bring perfection. I wondered if soon they’d tell me it was the key to wealth.

I said no.

I was searching for meaning all my life.

I knew money was not the key. Even the Citi ads agreed.

I needed more. Fulfillment. Career. A sense of self-worth. A group of friends. A part in changing someone’s life. And I got it all, but it wasn’t enough.

On that day, I knew I needed more. But I was prepared to give more community service, a more challenging job. Not G‑d.

I don’t need G‑d in my life. I live in this world, not in nirvana. I don’t need ritual, repetitive cultish behavior to give color to my world. I certainly didn’t need a plain white tea light to replace my lavender-scented pillar.

I needed meaning.

So I said no.

Weeks later, they stopped me again.

This time, they were carrying branches and fruit. They wanted me to wave them in the air, to shake them in all directions. For G‑d. For world peace. For unity.

What a ridiculous way of avoiding reality.

I said no.

But the next day, I said yes.

I figured, what harm can come from a little foreign culture? So I shook the fruit. And there were no fireworks, no visions of G‑d, no glow of accomplishment. Just like I expected.

But later that night, there was something different. Nothing big, nothing I could quite put my finger on. Just a very slight feeling of good.

So the next day, I waved the branch again. I repeated the strange syllables, and waved the fruit around. But not for world peace. Just to catch that elusive feeling.

Now, I light candles every Friday night. I stopped putting milk in my chicken à la King. I read words of praise daily from a little book. To G‑d.

What changed?

Oddly enough, it hasn’t changed the things I do. I still have my career. I still have my friends. I still volunteer at the women’s shelter. But it’s more.

Nothing has changed. Nothing has changed in my 5-dimensional world.

But I’ve discovered a sixth dimension I never knew existed.

I would never have believed it if I heard it. Reading about it would make no difference. Sound can be understood only in the context of other sounds.

Not until I shook a branch could I have reference for that dimension. And not until I began doing more could I really feel its presence.

Those boys could have talked me blue in the face, but it would be meaningless on its own. I had to actually do it myself.

And now I know why they stopped me.

Nechama Dina Hecht serves as a Chabad emissary in Des Plaines, Ill., with her husband and baby son.
Artwork by Sarah Kranz.
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REBECCA UKWUNNA October 11, 2013

In Torah, the book of Deut. 22:5 HaShem commanded that women should not wear any thing that pertains to a man likewise man to that which pertains to a woman. In as much as we have one Torah, I believe a woman wearing pant to the synagogue is not being realistic to the commandment of HaShem. I believe also that belonging to other levels of Judaism other than the Orthodox is not a lee way for one to do abominable things that HaShem hates. We are on a journey in this world and the Torah remains our Compass to direct us as the Psalmist said "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" Psalm 119:105. Any one who does not make the Torah a Lamp to his/her feet is bound to derailed.

Anonymous September 19, 2013

ידע Hasn't the article described yada? Yod - the beginning, hand, work, dalet - humble, poor, doorway and ayin - 70, eyes, see, full manifestation. Open the doorway, look and see. Reply

Craig Hamilton Sandwich, MA September 16, 2013

Beautiful Article Great article. I consider my mind's eye to be a higher dimension where I connect to the universe and angels, and occasionally Gd on a deeper level. There are lot's of dimensions if we think about it; take for instance a car. One dimension higher than the x,y, z, and time axis is the fuel meter (somehow the car's digestion of plant material does this through combustion a dimension itself), another still engine heat (while Einstein called this Brownian Motion, so far as I know the book isn't close on that one, maybe we could call the solid parts of the car as the dimension of vibration). There is how your feet operate the gas, break, and maybe a clutch. There is your interaction with the steering wheel. And, while some of these these things are all describable by space and time, the fact is that you driving your car is greater than the sum total of the parts. Don't believe me? Then, explain how we are able to drive a car without the dimension of a soul. Reply

aviva spiegel Eugene, OR December 10, 2007

i wish that everyone who turned down my invitations for shabbas, for shaking the lulav and countless other opportunities to get their pintele yid lit up would read this.

I guess the answer is to keep trying and to keep offering.
A good message for a shlucha
thank you and Happy Chanukkah!! Reply

marcia cape town, sa October 15, 2006

6th sence brilliant... and I love the simple way in which it is written. Reply

S. L. via October 11, 2006

When I first read the story I said to myslef "she is probly making that up" but then when I was shopping in the mall these two guys came up to me and asked me if I was jewish. I said yes and they gave me the "lulav" to shake. I felt that felling afterwards and I just couldent get over it! It was just like You said mrs. Hecht!
I thank you alot for that butifull story! Reply

Anonymous October 7, 2006

I think ritual physical actions are the "container" into which the substance can be poured; that is, when we humble ourselves to perform what appear to be inconsequential actions (eg., waving the lulav in this instance) but are G-d-ordained, we are cleansed of self (reduced ego, perhaps? eg., "I don't know why I'm doing this, but G-d said to" = humility) to make more room within for G-d...that is why the person who related this experienced "something different" - that is, a new (or renewed) reverence for G-d beginning to change her inner being and from there, her thinking and everyday living. Like the postures one assumes when praying - bending the body in service to God's commands does something for the soul within - basically, it puts us in our proper place as G-d's creation. I guess what we can infer from this person's experience - and the point of the story - is that this sort of experience is available to everyone. Reply

Anonymous Phoenix, Az October 6, 2006

To Edith - The Rebbe said, 'labels are for shirts' I'm not a hassid. I'm actually agnostic. But I really love the rebbe's amazing insights. He did not differentiate between any Jews - any denomination He said, "labels are for shirts!" when someone would talk about some Jew of another denomination. We can pray together - the problem is orthodox have legal restrictions about the manner in which they pray - separate sexes etc. So it goes back to - you have to reach the common denominator. If some Jews have more restrictions, but you Edith want us all to be together, you have to dumb down to their restrictions :) I don't like it either. Its a human-nature problem, not a problem only for Jews. Reply

pnina clark hobart, tasmania October 4, 2006

A sith dimension Dear Edith

you are right, there is only one Torah and we don't need to add an adjective to Judaism. We are Jewish. That's it. The Rebbe taught us to focus on what we have in common with each other and if there are people who want to do their own thing (deviate from the genuine Torah path) and even set up communities for this purpose and choose a name for themselves, still we need to find what is common and this is the challenge of Ahavas Yisroel. We don't need to follow but there is always some common ground between Jews and if we build on this it is a step towards re-building the Beit Hamikdosh.

I speak from a place where I am the only Orthodox Jewish woman and my friends are other Jews who are doing things I don't need to do. Boruch Hashem. Reply

eli federman milwaukee, wi October 3, 2006

ritual actions are not just symbolic Waving a Lulav set is an external symbolic action, like engaging in volunteerism to changes something internal, representing the illumination of individuality and unity, in both our personal lives and the world at large, in an often darkened world. We need to perform these seemingly indirect actions in an effort to foster change within ourselves. Like teaching children about math and sciences through using images, we teach ourselves and change ourselves through engaging in practical symbolic actions and rituals.

Philip Card, psychotherapist, author and trainer, encapsulated this point stating: “Symbolic action (the indirect approach to change) is not sleight of mind. It engages our psyches and souls at a deeply intuitive level, fostering change through subconscious learning.” That is why ritual actions, like those mentioned in this article, are so vitally important in the Jewish tradition. Reply

Shmuel dallas, Texas via October 3, 2006

A light unto all nations Too many Jews go about their lives with the same attitudes. It's hard to believe sometimes that we were chosen. Most of the problems Israels faces today stems from the same errors. We need to do more, when it comes to teaching G-ds Torah. These days, we hear more about what the Quran has to say, and how it's twisted preaching, teaches that it's ok to harm a Jew. We need to reverse the damage done. The answers are in our Torah. How many more generation of Jews will it take, to set our paths in the right direction ? Modern Israel in my view, has charted off the original path. Too many secular Jews with no Torah to guide their daily lives.

A light unto all nations, begins with us. Reply

Edith Brown Silver Spring, MD via October 2, 2006

A Sixth Dimension Today was Yom Kippur. I listened to the Rabbi carefully as he spoke. He talked about asking G-d for all of our needs and we should be very specific. Tell HaShem if we want good health or our business to prosper. Then the Rabbi woke his congregants up with his next words. He asked us, "What will we do for HaShem?"

I suppose by lighting the candles weekly, trying to honor Halacha, the laws of Judaism. We serve HaShem and ourselves.

The part I don't understand - why do we need several different levels of Judiasm? Orthodox, conservative, reformed, and a few more. We even have a gay synagogue. Sometimes I think we are either behind the times for women, or we are like Christians with many dominations of Christianity. We have one Torah - yes? Then why is it okay in a conservative synagogue for a woman to wear pants? Why in an Orthodox shul a woman is forbidden to go up to the bima, but not a conservative or any other?

Will G-d love me more if I'm Orthodox? Why can't we pray together? Reply

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