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Less is More

When we look at the whole list of Sacrifices that are prescribed in our portion of the week, we could notice something extraordinary. On those for every day (twice) it says three times that they will give a pleasant smell for G^d; on the following one for Shabbat, it doesn’t say that at all and on the following ones for the New Moon and Festivals it says that only once for every one of them. What could that teach us?

We might think that G^d would be most pleased with a proper observance of the High Holidays, Pilgrims’ Feasts or Minor Holidays. And even more so on the Highlight of the Jewish Year, the weekly Shabbat. And the least pleased on normal days. Not so. That the best (Shabbat) is nice needs no mention; we are told that the lesser (Festivals) are appreciated. But G^d likes our day-to-day performances best. It’s also the easiest to make special days holy. But now, endeavor to make normal days holy!

Often when we men cook a meal it’s going to be something extraordinary; fireworks for the cook. But more holy is actually the daily preparation of sandwiches and regular meals. The best of the best is nice – permanent permanence though is better.

Great that we feel stirred to go to the synagogue on Shabbat and do more our best than during the weekdays. Noteworthy when we pray so nice on Yom Kippur or Jewish New Year. Spectacular how we pray on the Pilgrims’ Feasts. But you know what – G^d likes the simple daily prayers best.

Where would we be without our Rabbis? Our Sages and Scholars? Our Saintly people? Our Synagogue officials & sextons? Our Cantors? Our Volunteers and Philanthropists? Where would we be without all these people who excel and toil for the sake of Heaven at such a lone level? And you know what? G^d might like the simple, committed, nothing-special people most. Without them, there would be no Jewish People. (Our greatest always know that they are no one special just with special responsibilities.)

As American President Abraham Lincoln is believed to have said: God must love the common man, he made so many of them. (That doesn’t mean that He automatically likes Gentiles more than Jews, insects more than people, grains of sand more than creatures, seconds more than hours, hours more than days – the comparison between the rare special and the frequent ordinary only works within a mixture of more-or-less equals.)

We may step down a bit from a hysterical sensationalism of always chasing and focusing on the spectacular and extraordinary, too often blurring the regular, in events, in people, in ourselves. There is nothing more special than the normal.

About the Author
DES survivor born in 1953, to two Holocaust survivors in The Netherlands, and holds a BA in medicine. He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three kids. Wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. For decades known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. Always trying to bring something original, and to avoid boring you or wasting your time with the obvious.
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