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We consider it commendable that we take the time to perform the mitzvah at all.The notion that we should take an extra couple minutes and pause before fulfilling a commandment to reflect on the One who has commanded us and to unite our will wholeheartedly with His may seem daunting, but this is the way the mitzvot are meant to be performed.Not being the earthy type, I have never felt inclined to bake bread from scratch. With my husband (a pianist who loves to exercise his fingers by kneading) making the dough, and me just saying the blessing and breaking off a piece of dough, yes.But to take a ten-week course in the single mitzvah of separating hallah, no thanks.Today, however, having just come home from morning prayers at the Western Wall, where the women around me were praying to "the Jewish God" with such fervor, such devotion, such ardent love, I know exactly how to respond to Dr. Is it possible that a religion that has produced such lovers of God as King David, the prophetess Devorah, the medieval poet Yehuda Ha Levi, the 16th century mystics of Safed, the Baal Shem Tov, and the women who pray daily at the Western Wall can provide Dr. This is the Hebrew month of Elul, which in Hebrew forms an acrostic for the words: "I am my Beloved's, and my Beloved is mine." During this month before the High Holydays, the rabbis tell us, "The King is in the field." As my nine-year-old explains: "It means that God is very close to us.He's right here with us." Even in human relationships, real love entails a uniting of wills, which often requires a submission of one's will to the will of the beloved.
-- like a baseball player sliding into second base.
The four-volume set weighed a whopping ten pounds, but as I traipsed up the hill, I felt ecstatic that I could actually give my husband exactly what he wanted.
In the Torah, God told the Jewish people exactly what He wants from us.
"The mitzvah of hallah is cosmic in its effect," the teacher proclaimed. And, of course, I already knew how to do the mitzvah. I discovered that I had been doing the mitzvah wrong.
Every week my jaw dropped lower as she expatiated on the mystic ramifications of this one mitzvah. The following week, our teacher announced, she would be demonstrating how to make hallah.