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Windows To The Soul
Tue, 05/27/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week
Rabbi David Wolpe
Rabbi David Wolpe

One should pray in a room that has windows. In the Talmud, R. Hiyya Bar Abba cites the book of Daniel, (6:11): “and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem (he prayed).”

The first meaning is that through a window one can look toward Jerusalem. Still, as with most halachot (Jewish laws), there are levels upon levels. Our prayers celebrate the beauty of God’s world. How much more significant if we can see the world as we sing its praises? When, during the Amidah, we recite “who daily renews the work of creation,” the phrase is enhanced by looking out over the sky, the field and those who pass by.

Perhaps the tradition also envisages others looking in at those who are praying. To see people at prayer is to be reminded of higher things in the middle of one’s day.

Finally, there is the idea of oneself being a window, shining from the inside. At our best we are intended to be the light that is our gift. “The soul of a person is the candle of God” (Prov. 20:27). Through windows we see God’s world and one another.

Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter: @RabbiWolpe.

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The woman I married has such qualities.I'm truly blessed.

Then explain the Halacha for boarding up the windows of the several Yeshovot in the Hassidic communities, other than the boarded windows being attributed to the community's fear and concern that their students might be influenced by the outside world?

I'm reminded that we glimpse just a bit of Hashem, a peek into all that is creation. Our eyes are our window, our soul, atoms to solar systems to infinite. Keeping the reminder of that perspective in mind