A FRESH START
by Rabbi Michoel Gourarie
In the Jewish calendar we are in the midst of the "Three Weeks", the time when we mourn the destruction of the first and second Temples. These great buildings were the centre of Jewish worship and stood gloriously in Jerusalem between the years 833 BCE and 69 CE.
The Temples were not just physical edifices that stood with all their beauty on the Temple Mount. These buildings were a model of spirituality and self-improvement that continues to shine within every soul.
An example of this concept emerges when we examine the Temple's packed schedule of service that took place on a daily basis. Many rituals were performed, the candelabra was kindled, incense was burned, prayers were recited and a variety of animal sacrifices were offered up on the altar.
But before any of these would begin one important ritual was performed. It was called "Terumat Hadeshen". This involved a Kohen (priest) removing a handful of ash from burned sacrifices of the previous day discarding it next to the altar. Only once this was accomplished did the order of the day begin.
This ritual has in important lesson. Each new day gives us an opportunity to explore new levels of growth and progress. But we cannot grow today if we hang on to the baggage of yesterday. A new day needs to begin by discarding the dirt of the day before. Once the "ash" of the day before has been removed, our minds and hearts are clear to absorb and access the potential of the new day.
If we begin by removing the obstacles of yesterday then today is infinite.