I know I have been absent since Rosh Hashanah, but now I hope to get back to writing commentaries and other musings on a more frequent (hopefully weekly) basis.
I am starting with an edited/slightly rewritten version of a d'var torah/commentary which I wrote a few years back.
I hope you find it meaningful.
When God begins to talk about the consequences for not "walking with God," the phrasing used is somewhat unusual. In his translation which Everett Fox translates the statement as "if you walk with me in opposition, then I will walk with you in opposition". And this warning is found three times in the parashah, and each time God talks about the people walking "in opposition with" the threatened punishments become more severe. Yet, in the end, in spite of these warnings, threats, and accusations, neither the people nor God abandon each the other. In the end they are still portrayed as walking with one another, even if (at times) they are in opposition.
It is as if God becomes a shadow, or even an adversary, but one who is prepared at any moment to become our support and comfort, if we so choose. God is an adversary there to challenge and confront us, not to beat us down and defeat us. In this paradigm, it is our actions, our opposition, which prevents God from being within us. And it is our actions which will allow God to be within us once again. As the Hassidic rabbi Menakhem Mendel of Kotzk said, "God dwells where we let God in." But in this interpretation we can also say that when we don't let God in, God is still walking beside us ready to come in when we decide to open the door.
For each person "letting God in," means something different. To me it means allowing the divine energy, that in our universe which is the source of our ability to bring peace, love, compassion and goodness into the world to flow through us.
The other day on Facebook (of all places!) I saw a humorous post. It simply said "When one door closes, another one opens......or you can simply open the door that closed. That's how doors work!" Though I laughed at this, I actually think there is an important message her which work in terms of my theology. For, in the context of this commentary, we must remember that when a door closes, it is often our own actions (our ego, stubbornness, resentment, fear, etc.) which close the door.
If God is on the other side of the door we have two choices. As the originally saying goes, we can wait around for another door (or a window, as is found in some versions) to miraculously appear, or we can take the first step and reach for the knob to open open the door ourselves. In doing so, we know that God, the source of goodness and compassion which connects us to the world, is waiting on the other side. God is waiting for us to take the first step and open the door we shut so we can we can walk through. Then God can once again be within us, banishing the ego it's negativity, and giving us the ability to love, to be compassionate towards all of creation and work to make the world a better place.