Welcome to Shabbat Moment, a text study series with Yael Shy, from our friends at the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. Every week we share Yael’s Torah text study, mindfulness practice tips, and discussion questions for you to reflect + share with others at your Shabbat table. Subscribe here to get the Shabbat Moment delivered straight to your inbox!
This week’s Torah portion is Nitzavim: Heartbreak.
What is the spiritual meaning of “circumcising”?
In Deuteronomy, Moses says to the “circumcise the foreskin of your hearts, stiffen your necks no longer.” (10:16).
My friend Greg calls it scaffolding, Moshe calls it foreskin – but there is no denying something is in the way. Something is causing an obstruction between us and being open to life.
What’s fascinating, however, is that although Moses in these lines is telling us to take the action of circumcising ourselves – later on we’re given a different idea regarding who is doing the circumcising. We later learn that God, godself, — the mysterious unfolding – will circumcise our hearts for us, will take down our scaffolding, will open us up to love.
So why does Moshe say earlier we have to do it? Perhaps it’s a partnership. Perhaps we partner with the divine to allow our hearts to crack open.
About the Author
Yael Shy is the CEO of Mindfulness Consulting, LLC, where she teaches and consults on mindfulness for universities, corporations, and private clients around the world. She is the author of the award-winning book, What Now? Meditation for Your Twenties and Beyond (Parallax, 2017), and the founder of Mindful NYU, the largest campus-based mindfulness initiative in the US. Yael is a graduate of the IJS Jewish Mindfulness Teacher Training Certification.