Contact Us




Joey swallowed a nickel and his parents were frantic. "Cough!!" "Gosh, what are we gonna do?!" "This is terrible!" After a few moments and the situation just getting worse, Joey's father took matters into his own hands. He started slamming Joey on his back. Boom! Boom! Boom!

Thankfully the nickel came flying out.

Joey's younger brother David, who had watched it all, asked his parents if he can have a word with them.

I look at an object or event and see one thing; you look at it and see something else entirely"Mom and Dad, I've decided that from now on I will only eat bread and butter, and I'll buy only one pair of shoes every two years!

"I saw how you both became so worried about that nickel. I hadn't realized how desperate we are for money."

We all have perceptions. I look at an object or event and see one thing; you look at it and see something else entirely, if not the total opposite.

Let's take a look at the Holy Temple. There is the way I see it, a superficial and external perception. And then there is the truth, the way G‑d sees it.

I see a magnificent structure bedecked with silver and gold. "What is this all about?" I wonder. Is G‑d so high maintenance?

The true way to look at it: What was gold and silver created for if not to beautify the service of its Creator!

I see blood and a slaughterhouse, making for an eerie scene.

The true way to look at it: This is a reflection of man sacrificing his personal animal, his life source, his own flesh and blood, for a higher cause.

I hear beautiful music and heart-warming singing and harmony from the instruments and mouths of the Levites.

The true way to look at it: These are heavenly tunes, aimed at pulling at the listener's soul strings, to bring him closer and more open to his truest self.

Which perception will we adopt?

Rabbi Levi Avtzon lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, with his wife Chaya and their children. He is associate rabbi and director of outreach at the Linksfield Senderwood Hebrew Congregationl.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with's copyright policy.
Join the Discussion
Sort By:
1000 characters remaining
Alethea Margate, FL February 6, 2011

The temple How does man make it right with G-d when we sin? G-d's Word says we had to shed innocent blood ( life is in the blood) to made atonement for our sin. We would take the burnt offering that fire burnt morning and night - it was G-ds fire that lite the burnt offering and not some strange fire it could not go out. We had meal offering, drink offerings and peace offerings and all the sacrifices had to be put on the altar the correct way. This is the penalties for sin - that the innocent animal had to pay for our sins. Maybe we should of stop sinning. Israel was to be a holy nation and we were going to a land where there was heathen nations; G-d had to protect us from their ways. I ask the question now that we don't have a temple how do we truly atone for our sins? Reply

ruth housman marshfield hills, ma February 5, 2011

belongings Just a brief note, as I read the commentary above, about this odd awareness, as certainly it iS, and I do so agree.

The word belonging can be split into "be" "Longing". I believe, that G_d like us, has a deep longing to be known, to be loved, and that longing infuses all G_d's belongings, once we take the soul journey and reach that deepening awareness that it is all truly, about LOVE itself.

Thanks for your most astute and powerful comment. Reply

Anonymous Johannesburg, SA February 2, 2011

How beautiful! Thanks for showing us a most beautiful insight into the work of the Temple. Reply

Anonymous anywhere, earth February 1, 2011

It is a very odd awareness that we are only presenting and giving to the L-rd His Own belongings back to Him. Yet, even so, we must always give the very best and the finest we can muster up. Anything less in my opinion is not worthy of doing.
But an even odder awareness, is that He will accept us? And what is so fine about us? This is a very strange thing, yet I feel we must still give it our all. The best of the best is what I want to see from us in His Temple. Reply

ruth housman marshfield hills, ma February 1, 2011

one I cannot re frame: about animals I can adopt all but the one about the sacrifice of animals for a higher cause. Why? Because that's about mercy, and I don't see any sacrifice, other than for food, for survival, of an animal that satisfies a higher cause, even IF G_d demands it. I would ask Why?

I do not accept the slaughter of animals except out of necessity, for food, for clothing, for survival needs, and even this, for me, not being a vegetarian is a problem, an ethical problem. I think the higher road is not to slaughter an animal, so I am caught in a hypocritical bind, since I could NOT personally do this, and if I had to, I would be, a vegetarian.

Yes, it's all in the "spin", how we perceive and what we do with our perceptions. Cognitive therapy is about a conscious change in thinking, a reframing approach, that is helpful in turning a negative into, a positive.

We're all "filter" feeders, and what we perceive is deeply conditioned by our lives, our experiences, our teaching, our very selves, our souls. Reply

This page in other languages