March 4, 2013 | 11:16 pm
Posted by Lia Mandelbaum
On February 23, I spent the day looking for a good Purim costume to wear to an event that evening. My initial idea was pretty basic, which was to just wear different neon articles of clothing. When I saw that my costume at the local thrift store was going to cost me $66, I put the majority of it back onto the rack. It was time to go back to the drawing board. I decided to expand on the theme of wearing a costume that exudes something bright. I had printed a large image of an activated Tesla coil to wear on my t-shirt (See image of Tesla Coil). Although I was starting to feel excited about my costume, something was still missing. The answer hit me like a lighting bolt… I was going to identify myself as being a divine spark.
According to the ten principles of Judaism found on the website of the Ollendorff Center, “Judaism teaches us that all human beings are created in the divine image and therefore are linked to God by the Divine Spark within them.” Although my costume was a bit eccentric and nerdy, I felt proud because I knew that the idea was born from the creativity of my own divine spark. One of the kids at the celebration even told me I had the best costume that night, and kids know best…
MISSING THE MARK ON MAKING A MITZVAH
At the end of the party, the host mentioned to take a bag at the front door to give to someone homeless. Each bag was filled with items such as food and toiletries.
A couple of days went by and the bag was still sitting in my front seat. One evening as I was walking to my car, I began to feel bad, and wondered if I would have been more aggressive to give it away if I didn’t live such a cushioned lifestyle and didn’t take food for granted. The truth is that I had even forgotten about the bag.
COMING TOGETHER AND CREATING A SPARK
As I approached my car and started to get in, I noticed a man digging in a garbage bin right next to my car. It hit me that this was my opportunity. I pulled the bag out of my car, and told him that there was something I wanted to give him. One by one we went through the bag and pulled out all fifteen items. His face lit up with pure joy over every single item (especially over the back scratcher). He was so shocked by my kindness, and how I acknowledged his humanity.
The street I live on is the second steepest street in LA County. It is where firefighters go to do their physical exercise and train. It’s no joke. Since the man now had some food to get by, he no longer needed to climb up my street going from garbage to garbage. He was radiating with gratitude as we were parting, and then excitedly ran down towards the bottom of my street and disappeared.
“Judaism teaches us how to nurture the Divine Spark within us, elevating us in moral worth and dignity and linking us to The Divine.” The moment that I had shared with the man absolutely nurtured my divine spark. Our paths crossing felt very beshert (meant to be).
THE PHYSICS OF DOING A MITZVAH
A few days later, while walking alongside a major road, I all of the sudden felt a bolt of energy and began to run really fast. These sprints are usually prompted by the sense of joy, awe and gratitude that I have for my life. I feel connected to the universe, and to the moment. As I effortlessly ran, I soared through the air. I totally believe that my own divine spark inspires these moments.
I started walking again after a couple of blocks. All of the sudden I had a hand tap my shoulder. It was a young woman who had seen me drop my keys right as I had started to run, and had been chasing me down the block trying to return them. I was wearing earphones and couldn’t hear her calling my name. She was out of breath and had left her family behind. I expressed a sense of gratitude and relief to the woman, which I imagined was similar to how the homeless man had felt towards me. I was amazed by her kindness, and wondered if it was somehow inspired by the same kindness that I had shown to the man. Is the energy you put out into the universe what you get back?
EITHER/OR TO BOTH/AND
Nikola Tesla (1856 – 1943) was the scientist who has been referred to as the genius who ushered in the electric power age. Tesla was known by many to be either an eastern mystic or a scientific visionary. In my opinion, he was both. I often find that science and spirituality go hand and hand. My experience with dressing up like a tesla coil and calling myself a divine spark, had instigated a current of synchronistic and interconnected events.
As I was sitting in the backyard finishing up the blog, the neighbors little dog ran up to my chair and tried to jump on me. My hand got shocked when I touched his body to block him. The moment reminded me that even little barking dogs have a divine spark, and to not let myself get so annoyed with them.
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