I always toyed with the idea of giving a lecture on how the movie, ‘Matrix’, is unknowingly based on teachings of Kabbala and Chassidus. Maybe I still will. There is a dual track in life, illusion and reality,. Our spiritual teachings say that nature is ‘G-d’s clothing’, the outer façade that masks and conceal a deeper subterranean reality. Nature can be very beautiful and magnificent. As are many fashions displayed on the ‘catwalk’. But just as waif-like models parading the prevailing vogue lead alternative and complex personal lives, so does the outer rim of our reality, nature – the laws of physics and chemistry, belie a complex spiritual template beneath.
Ellul is the month when we emphasize ‘intentional integrity’ – peering beneath the surface of our lives and undertake a ‘cheshbon nefesh’, an ‘accounting of the soul’. The spiritual bottom line of our ‘balance sheet’ is based on Tzedaka. On Rosh Hashanna a spiritual audit is instructed Above. Giving away our ‘hard earned income’ is a profoundly difficult test. But remember, nothing we have is really ‘ours’. Everything, home, job, family, is given to us on trust, and the Trustee has designed a universe via a matrix in whichwe are asked to give at least 10% back into G-d’s ‘capital fund’. That is called Ma’asser (tithing) – a profoundly powerful Mitzva.
Further, on Rosh Hashanna one’s income for the coming year is fixed, set, finalised. Nothing you do can change that – be it extra effort, overtime, or erudite financial advice. The designated sum depends on your credit rating, how reliable were you in paying your dues – Ma’asser and Tzedaka. So, get to it right now and make a financial reckoning of what you owe. Tzedaka is the single Mitzva in which G-d challenges us by saying ‘test me – see if your payments don’t come back to you ‘in spades’ – many times more than what you gave’.
There is a ‘matrix’, a ‘template’ of creation. It is called the Torah. It is based on Hessed – the art of giving and sharing. If you practice it on the surface of life, the 120 years we are given to live on the rim of reality, this profoundly affects the spiritual wheels that turn beneath the matrix. Don’t live a life of illusion. The higher reality may be out of sight, but that doesn’t make it any less real. In fact it is much more so.