Jewish Meditation

Jewish Meditation

Rabbi Reuven Bulka, head of Congregation Machzikei Hadas in Ottawa, hosts Sunday Night with Rabbi Bulka on 580 CFRA. Meditation can be an end in itself, or a means toward an end. Some people meditate for no other reason than to meditate. The meditation is relaxing.

It has been found to be quite beneficial for our health in this highly stressed environment. One could label that type of meditation as an end in itself. That is not to disparage such meditation. It is peaceful, calming, and quite helpful. But it is usually meditation on nothing - just meditating.

There is another type of meditation which is less related to relaxing, and more related to contemplating our purpose in life. This is the meditation that we often refer to as thinking, as taking a time out from the frenetic world to figure out if we are on the right path, and how we can do better with our lives.

That type of meditation is essential to our faith. Judaism is loaded with obligations and opportunities. We are not expected to master everything. That is impossible. What we are asked is to contemplate what are our strengths, what are the abilities with which we have been endowed, and how to bring out the best in our selves as we contemplate why we are in the world.

In other words, we do not take existence for granted, and we do not cavalierly wander into life. Instead we ask questions about where we can best make the highest impact to better the world. Meditation is a most helpful way of answering these questions.

But not only meditation. It also helps to read, to consult with others, mentors who have asked themselves the right questions and have lived lives that nicely reflect the answers they themselves received.

Finally, let's not forget that personal and communal prayer is a form of meditation. And prayer is a central feature of our faith, any faith. To the extent that the prayer is meditative, to that extent is the prayer likely to be meaningful.

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