Spirituality gets a bad rap. Mention the word to the average fellow and it will probably evoke images of eastern gurus dressed in psychedelic caftans chanting at dawn. Even those more Jewishly inclined will most probably aver that to be spiritual you need to have a long white beard, talk softly and spend full days in prayer and private worship.

Are they right?

If you came to shul last week and heard the Torah reading you could be forgiven for thinking so. "G‑d descended onto the mountain," an undifferentiated presence of pure G‑dliness. Lightning, thunder, fear and trembling seized the world. All creation was silent in awe. Is this not what it takes to be spiritual?

Not totally, and sometimes not at all.

This week we read a different parshahMispatim. If you were to walk into shul without prior warning you could be excused for believing that you'd blundered into a public recitation of assorted torts and damages, as rendered in Biblical Hebrew. We read a compendium of logical, commonsensical laws.

This is spirituality? Is this the natural automatic progression — from G‑d descending in all His glory and declaiming the lore at Sinai, to becoming a nation of petty shopkeepers and small time farmers? Surely G‑d has more weighty matters of state than to waste His time (and ours) committing to posterity the laws of returning pledges, litigating minor injuries and paying workers' entitlements?

That, however, is exactly the point. Religiosity and spirituality are expressed best by conforming to the seemingly petty details of daily life. A truly G‑dly man operates as a synthesis of the celestial and the mundane.

First must come the sense of awe and purpose initiated by an all-encompassing sense of G‑d's presence, as expressed in the history-shaping events recorded in last week's parshah. And then, and of equal consequence, one must translate this sense of mission into each and every interaction of one's routine existence.