It’s the beginning of our liberation. First, there is work to do.
The work begins with a call that is answered with presence.
In this very week’s Torah portion (Shemot – coincidence?) Moses is tending his sheep in the wilderness, and he notices a bush that is on fire but not being consumed.
As he turns, a voice from inside the bush addresses him: Moshe Moshe (Moses Moses)!
It’s God, the Great Mystery, calling to him from within the bush!
His response rings throughout time, until today.
Moses says, Hineni.
In Hebrew, Hineni means:
I am here.
I am present.
I am awake.
I am listening.
I am open to awareness.
The Etz Hayim commentary offers: “Hineni is the spontaneous, unhesitating response to a divine call.”
Upon responding Hineni, Moses is given his life purpose: free the people from oppression.
Even though he feels inadequate (Who me? Mi Anochi?) he listens. He is present. He goes.
Let’s talk about the Divine call.
The very first call we receive as human beings is in the Garden of Eden. Right after Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit, God calls out to to them: “Where are you? Ayecka?”
This is not a question of “location.” Of course, God knows where they are!
No, this is a deep question:
where ARE you?
are you awake?
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz brings this question into the present:
“The voice, in the garden is still reverberating throughout the world, and it is still heard, not always openly, or in full consciousness but nevertheless still heard in one way or another, in a person’s soul and [the person] may repeat to himself: Indeed, where am I?”
So we have one call that comes with a life purpose. And we have another voice simply asking us — where are you?
There is no better lesson for leading a mindful life.
Make no mistake: We are all being called. Every moment of every day.
Will we respond with Hineni?
I am present, aware, awake.
My prayer for you (and me) in January of 2017 is: May we all have the ability to listen to the call that is reverberating in our life. May we carve out time each day to be silent and listen. May we have the courage to confront our insecurities so we can fulfill what we were put here to do. May we choose to be with people who help us listen to the call, OUR call. May we figure out what helps us become awake and have the ability to do that. And may we work together to heal what is broken.
Rabbi Jill Zimmerman
January 20, 2017