B'haalotecha - Torah: The Mirror on the Wall

"Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?" That famous line from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" spins through my mind. The wicked queen had a daily practice, a meditative practice you might say. Each day she peered into her magic mirror to see how she was doing in life.

It has been half a century, maybe more, since I first heard those words, but they made a big impression on me. I wished I could have such a mirror that would help me see beyond myself. Not a mirror to use for evil, l’havdil (totally the opposite), but for good things.

When I re-encountered Torah as a mature woman, it became for me that amazing mirror on the wall. It became the text I peer into to see how my mind, heart and soul are doing, to see what subtle struggles are simmering beneath the surface of my consciousness.

I have a ritual when I read Torah as a mirror. First I say the brachah, the "blessing" for the reading of Torah. "Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheynu Melech HaOlam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu la’asok b’divrei Torah. Blessed are You, Divine Guide of the Universe, who makes us holy through Your mitzvot and commands us to involve ourselves with the words of Torah."

It is my way of asking the Divine for a message, a teaching just for me.

Then I meditate for a few minutes. When I open the pages of Torah for the weekly reading, I am confident that a personal message will appear.

Numbers 8: 23-26

YHWH spoke to Moses, saying: This is what (is to be done) regarding the Levites: from the age of five and twenty years and upward, they are to enter the working-force, to join-the-force in the serving-tasks of the Tent of Appointment; and from the age of fifty years, they are to retire from being-on-the-force for the serving-tasks, and shall not serve anymore. They may attend upon their brothers in the Tent of Appointment, to keep the maintenance-duty, but serving-tasks they are not to serve.

Translation by Everett Fox