Dear Reader,

This week I had a great week.

The sun was shining outside just as brilliantly as my inner sun.

I was productive. I wrote essays; the ideas flowed from my pen. I taught extensively, returning from each class exhausted but exhilarated. I was flying high, exuberant. I was meeting people, connecting and touching them deeply just as I was being touched by them. Instead of becoming tired or depleted, the more I did, the more energized I became.

Life was smiling at me. Hey, I even got an unexpected check in the mail that I had given up on. The week flew by in a dizzying haze of contentment.

How different this week was from last week.

Last week my work was stunted. My ideas were disjointed. I felt ill at ease with my life and with my accomplishments. There seemed to be a perpetual cloud over my home.

No matter what I was doing, I felt restless, uninspired. I couldn’t find my equilibrium, no matter how much I relaxed or how much I worked. I couldn’t find solutions to my inner confusion.

In the supermarket or on the streets, people seemed impatient; my friends and family sounded annoyed. The news I read reported tragedy and sadness, and the bills on my desk were unsettling.

Isn’t life like that? Some days we’re riding high. Other days we’re in the pits.

Some days it’s natural for us to do good things; the more we do, the higher we climb on an upward ascent to even more positivity. Other times we get stuck on a downward spiral of circumstances that rob us of opportunity, and before we know it we’re in a rut, depleted of energy and initiative.

This week’s Torah portion begins with G‑d calling Moses:

G‑d called to Moses; and G‑d spoke to him out of the Tent of Meeting, saying:

Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: A man who shall bring of you an offering to G‑d . . .

The book of Leviticus teaches the laws of sacrifices. Interestingly, the last letter of the first word in this book—Vayikra, G‑d’s call to Moses—is written with an unusually small aleph. A scribal abnormality; what does it tell us?

There are all kinds of “offerings” we can give to G‑d: our energy and talents, our dispositions and thoughts, our words and deeds. These all create a kinder home for G‑d in this world.

When the world is smiling at us, when we are feeling “big” and productive, it can be easier to feel connected to G‑d. But what about during the drudgery or smallness of life, when we are feeling unfulfilled and uninspired?

Maintaining our connection—finding our “offering”—in times of dullness and restlessness remains our greatest challenge.

And perhaps that’s when we most need to remember: Vayikra, G‑d is calling to us, even in these moments of smallness and loneliness, inviting us to bring our offering and to come close.

Chana Weisberg,
Editor, TJW