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by Rebbetzin Malkah
As a child, I fondly remember flipping through the channels looking for some of my favorite shows. Occasionally, the music for one particular show would stream onto the television as the ever popular cartoon train moved across the screen - yes, I mean Soul Train. I would pause for a moment and watch the train go by and then continue my search. I can still hear the music in my head to this day. What was unique about this show is that for many, it was a window into African-American culture that for some might otherwise never have been experienced. The latest fashion and dance trends were discussed, and new or popular artists donned the set to sing the latest hits. During the 70's and 80's, it was a cultural and spiritual tutor for many.
by Rebbetzin Malkah
When the Baal Shem Tov was young, he lived in the mountains of southern Russia. From time to time he would walk to the top of a mountain, and lose himself in thought. Lost to the world, lost to himself, but found to G-d.Deep in this lostness and this foundness, he once began to walk where there was no ground to walk on. As he put his foot down, he was stepping into an abyss.
Stonewashing is a process in the textile industry that is used to give a new denim cloth garment a worn-out appearance. This process also helps to increase the softness and flexibility of otherwise stiff and rigid fabrics such as denim. This process entails what the name implies: washing the denim with large stones to roughen up and soften the cloth. As stones represent an obstacle or hardship, the denim is likened to B'nei Yisrael's fabric of faith. The challenges that Hashem places before B'nei Yisrael as they travel through the wilderness are meant to tenderize and increase their faith. Moshe, Mashiach Yeshua and the Baal Shem Tov all prove to us that through this stonewashing comes a small seed of faith that can rise above the evil, chaos and doubt that prevail in our midst. Not only can we move mountains, but we can be a conduit of faith and possibility to those around us, even in the most impossible of circumstances.