Time is layered with infinite spiritual richness, whereby each point in time carries with it waves and layers of depth. The cycle of holidays provides a layer of spiritual progression that we can tap into, carrying us towards our ultimate destination of time itself; interestingly, the cycle of Torah reading provides this opportunity, as well. Each parshah has unique ideas and concepts embedded within it that are relevant to the specific time of year that it is read. As we go through this cycle, year by year, we propel our kabalas haTorah forward one level higher through the transformative effects of each week. Thus, we turn this circular cycle into an elevating spiral in time.

There’s a story of two elderly men who were childhood friends but had not seen each other in the past 30 years. One day they run in to each other on the street and are delighted to recognize one another. One of them lives in the neighborhood and invites the other into his home. They happily begin talking and catching up, getting lost in their stories and jokes as the day goes on. The guest finally notices that it has become dark outside, and asks his friend to look at his watch and tell him the time. 

Matt was the happiest guy in the world. He had somehow found the most beautiful girl in the world, Jennie, and they were engaged, set to marry in just over a month. They had been set up by friends, and had hit it off from the start. Matt could never get over how beautiful Jennie was, how effortless her beauty came, and how proud he felt to walk around with her by his side. Sure, she was funny, smart, and kind, but wow was she beautiful. He had never thought he would find someone good enough for his high standards, so he thanked Hashem every day for sending Jennie into his life.

I want the very best.” That’s what we tell ourselves, isn’t it? As human beings, we understand that there is a spectrum of quality to everything, and we want only the best. We desire the best relationships, teachers, friends, food, clothing, appliances, etc. What makes something the best? Sometimes, it’s about the quantity; this brand supplies more of its product for the same price. But often, it’s the quality that makes the difference. When you pay an increased rate for a service, experience, or luxury, you do so with the assumption that you are receiving a higher quality product, one that is fundamentally different from the basic, standard package. With this in mind, we can explore a unique idea connected to this week’s parshah, Parshas Eikev.

After years of research and preparation, James had finally secured a slot to speak at the prestigious international physics conference. He would be presenting his studies in the field of quantum mechanics, and was looking forward to the largest scale event of his life. He had never before presented at an official conference, let alone one of such prestige. It had taken every ounce of courage within him to even submit work to such an event, and he knew that a successful lecture could change the trajectory of his career.

An old man sat on the train as it rumbled peacefully along the countryside. He was enjoying the view and the quiet atmosphere of the train car until, at one stop, a young man got on the train and sat across from him. The man was sweating visibly, gripping his knees, and occasionally stealing nervous glances out the window. Concerned, the old man asked if there was anything he could help with. The young man looked at him, sizing him up, before apparently deciding to trust him.

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