No Vacation Time

A teaching by the Baal Shem Tov, from Amud Hatefillah.

Everything you see should remind you of the Holy One of Blessing. If love, then think of the love of G!d, and if awe, then think of the awe of G!d. Even when you go to the bathroom (1), think, I am separating the bad from the good, so that the good will remain to serve G!d. This is yichudim (2).

1) Technically, one is supposed to clear one’s mind of holy words while in an unclean place such as the bathroom. Watch what the Besht does instead.
2) Yichudim, literally “unifications,” is an action done with the mystical intention of unifying the sundered aspects of G!d and the cosmos. Traditionally, they would be the task of only the most advanced kabbalists, undertaken with fasting, meditation, study, and withdrawal from the world. Instead the Besht tells us we can all do it by going to the bathroom with the proper mindset!

Jeff says…
Many of us have seen religion inhabiting a smaller and smaller place in our lives, limited to particular times and places. The Baal Shem Tov taught the opposite. Even in the bathroom, perhaps the last place one might think of G!d, we should be doing yichudim, reminding ourselves that there is nowhere and nothing outside of G!d and no place or time we can’t serve Him.

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