“Do not come any closer” – you don’t need to come closer to the bush, to that which is mysterious and incomprehensible, you don’t need to leave this world.
By following the Torah’s commands on ethics in the workplace, be it by not slandering a co-worker in order to get ahead or by making sure we don’t cheat or steal from another, or making sure to disclose all our earnings when paying taxes, That’s how we bring God and Holiness into the workplace.
By checking a hashgacha, a kosher label on a food package to ensure it is kosher or by reciting a blessing before we take a bite, we imbue the otherwise mundane act of eating with spiritual significance.
1. Choshen Mishpat: laws of property, torts and commercial dealings
3. Even Ha’ezer: laws of marriage and divorce
These three sections of the halacha (Jewish law) deal with the 3 basic human cravings: power, food and sex.
Only one of the four sections, entitled Ohr Hachyaim deals with ritual law, with what we mostly associate with religion, namely the laws of Prayer, Yom Kippur, Tefilin etc. The rest of the halachic system deals with the physical world as we know it.
There is actually no such word in the Torah. The goal of Judaism is to be holy and holiness comes from infusing the physical world with meaning and purpose, by elevating the physical life we lead by approaching every facet of our physical existence in a divinely inspired way, which is why mitzvoth play such a central role.
Judaism certainly shares some important parts of that. We have regular times for prayer and the Kabbalists stress the importance of deep meditation and there are Chasidic masters who go out to be alone to meditate and try to break free of the physical world. We all each start our Silent Devotion/Amidah by taking 3 steps back and then forward to help us leave the physical and enter the spiritual but if that where our spirituality ends then we fail in our most basic mission: to infuse this world with the spirituality it needs and for which it was created to receive.
God may be in another world but He placed us in this one and not to spend our limited time here trying to retreat or escape to another realm. That’s why what we do here matters the most and maybe why we, the Jewish people are so determined, despite all the persecution to which we have been subject, to still try and make this world a better place. May God bless us all with a long life and with the help of mitzvoth may we merit to imbue that life with Holiness.