At the mishkan, the portable sanctuary in the desert, the base of the laver (from which the priests ritually wash themselves before entering the inner sanctuary) was directed to be made from mirrors. Why would the foundation of the laver, where one prepares for holy service, need to made from mirrors? Rabbi Dalia Marx tells us, “…just like a person looking into the mirror, entering holiness requires us to look inside into our hidden motives, to see ourselves as we are, in all the totality of the brighter and darker sides of our reality.”
The holy service I enter into may be as a clergy person or as a mother caring for her children, or a child caring for her parent, or something else. Whatever it may be, before beginning a holy task, I find it helpful to look deeply at myself. Where am I at in this moment? What is my kavannah (intention)? Do I have any lingering resentments or doubts or fears about the service I will do or the people I will serve? What can I bring of myself, my love and my caring to elevate this work? I take some time to sit and be with myself, looking within and compassionately acknowledging any thoughts or feelings that may be arising. Then I offer it all up to a Higher Presence, for cleansing and purification. Only then am I truly ready to enter into holy service.
May we take the time to look deeply within ourselves in preparation to enter into our holy work, so that we can be refreshed and purified, and bring our best.
I am a Rabbinic Chaplain in the Jewish Renewal tradition who brings a light-filled and joyful Judaism to others who want to experience the beauty of Jewish spirituality.