Removing the Covering

The Torah, in its prophetic description of a future time, states that after we will undergo a metaphoric “circumcision of the heart” procedure, we, with our children, will be overcome by an intense love of the Almighty.  What is the significance and nature of this “circumcision?”

remove obstaclesIn Jewish thought, forging a personal connection to the Almighty is seen as a possible and necessary endeavor that is one of mankind’s highest achievements.  It is also portrayed as an achievement that that requires an intensive and concerted effort.  There is a basic theological dilemma regarding how to view this work and effort: Is it a process of positively building and creating something new that did not hitherto exist, or is it, rather, a process of removing negative factors or forces that prevent organic growth?  According to the first approach, our natural state is one that is far away from Him, and we therefore must find ways to bridge the gap and create a whole new way of looking at the world.  The second perspective would be that this connection doesn’t entail building or developing anything from scratch, but rather initiating the actualization of a quality that already exists albeit in a potential form.  A strong but merely potential connection to God is prevented and stymied from coming to fruition by faulty character and the excessively mundane focus of our psyches and paradigms.  The process therefore involves deconstructing this hostile and infertile environment to then allow an innate potential to take root, sprout, and flourish.  According to this approach, the effort consists not of construction of new but of demolition of old.

frozen heartThe meaning of “circumcision of the heart” is, perhaps, in line with the approach that believes that we have a natural propensity towards spirituality.  Circumcision involves the removal of a covering.  The Torah implies that by removing a covering from our hearts, we will consequently come to love Him.  Although it does not elaborate on the nature of the covering that is being removed, the new level of love seems to follow immediately after that removal.  It does not mention any sort of intermediate, transformational process that will bring the person to that next level.  Rather, the Torah implies that with the interference of the covering now eliminated, the connection will come naturally and easily.

Sometimes spiritual growth seems beyond us; in actuality we may just need to open up our hearts and let the bright light that is already there shine in.

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