Divine Sparks and a Bunch of Fun & Games

Friday, 5 July, 2013 - 3:12 pm

I was addicted to Candy Crush. It’s a game, a free app. I got sucked in. I became obsessed. I didn’t feed my kids, clean my house or get much work done for the eight days I was stuck on level 23. On Day 9, I literally jumped for joy – I’m not kidding, ask my family! – I jumped up off the couch and started doing a happy dance! Then, I promptly deleted the app. If I hear the music, I walk away. When my son asks me to help him on a screen, I say “no” and accuse him of acting like a “dealer.” LOL! I’m free of Candy Crush.

OK, so why am I telling you this and what does it have to do with “Divine Sparks?” (See headline….) Give me a sec.. I’ll get there.

If you know what Candy Crush is, you are probably only reading this blog post because you have 9 minutes… 8 minutes, 46 seconds…6 minutes 10 seconds… until you are granted a new life in the game. So while you are waiting for that, I’m going to help you pass the time by discussing one of my favorite topics: Food. (If you aren’t a Candy Crush-a-holic, replace the reference for the purposes of this article, with: watching television, texting, talking on the phone and, likely, some other app you can’t put down. It’s all the same thing because we spend so much of our lives in mindless ways. This article is about mindfulness.) Read on….

This month’s Rosh Chodesh Society class, Food for Thought, was about finding divinity in food (more or less.) But it wasn’t an easy class to understand. At the end though, with Chanie’s amazing persistence and the warm, loving group effort of a bunch of classmates, I think I figured it out. Here goes:

Hashem places “sparks” of light in and around everything in the world. Sparks are in peaches. They are in snuggly slippers. They are in treehouses. They are in challah. They are in a warm embrace. They are in the sound of a beautiful tune. They are in the laughter of your best friend. There are divine sparks everywhere around you and within you. When you involve yourself – think about, touch, talk to, hear and, yes, EAT, things containing sparks, you unlock them and release them into the world. Each individual human being was born with a very specific number and type of sparks to unlock. Now, imagine this: a game called “Divine Spark Collecting for Jews.”

Here are the basic rules of the game:
1. Live. Learn. Love.
2. Go out there and find and release as many sparks as you possibly can.
3. When you have released the number and type of sparks assigned to you by Hashem, you win.

Gaming Note: Only spend time trying to release sparks that have your name on them. Wasting time with objects that can’t and don’t contain your sparks, for example, won’t get you any closer to your goal of winning. Case in point: Assuming you desperately wanted to win this game, if you were told that there are no sparks for you located in Missouri, would you go to Missouri? Similarly, if you were told there are 50 sparks for you in North Carolina, you may very well want to buy a summer home there.

It’s like playing a game of cards. You are dealt a hand at birth. Imagine they are the only ones you get to play with throughout your entire life. (Whether you get a few cards or seemingly countless cards, that’s up to Hashem.) So, you have your cards and from the moment you are born, you begin to play your “hand.” As Jews, we learn there are certain cards not in our deck. The Pork Card? Nope. The Driving on Shabbos Card? Sorry. Stealing? Well, I think you know the answer to this one.

Why? Because those cards cannot help us win the game; there are no sparks in those activities. There is nothing toiling with those activities can do to help you win the game. In the Game of “Divine Spark Collecting for Jews,” why bother with those things if they can’t help you win?

Instead, Jews are dealt cards that allow us to move along the pathway of life – enjoying, learning, loving as we go. And every time we learn about something, or enjoy something or truly love something or someone, we are unlocking sparks, fulfilling our mission and “making our hand,” so to speak.

OK, and the food part? I explained all that to tell you this: Hashem has made the most delicious foods available to us in our hand of cards. Kosher foods contains sparks we Jews can release! We are told not to waste any time with non kosher food. It’s not for Jews. Don’t bother with it and move along. Essentially, Hashem is saying when it comes to non-kosher food, there are “No sparks for Jews!” (Yada Yada.. Seinfeld.. I went there. Lol)  However, all kosher foods contain sparks that have every single Jews’ name on it. If it’s kosher, and you eat it and enjoy it, you have unlocked one of your sparks! How easy, not to mention awesome!! A game where eating allows us to win!

With this explanation about how “divine sparks” relate to food – I’m hoping you understand the bottom line: eating kosher and enjoying food on holidays, shabbos, family gatherings, simchas and even at the dinner table on a regular Tuesday unlocks sparks left and right. Kosher food is like a “Go to the Head of the Class” card!

And, for you gamers out there, here’s a extra tip: Release more sparks by saying the blessings before and after you eat! We do this to thank Hashem for the food we are about to enjoy but also to ensure mindfulness about eating. When you say a blessing, the mere act releases a spark.

So now, if you want to go back to Candy Crush, you likely you have more Candy Crush lives and you are welcomed to go back to where you were. But, if you do that, please remember this: the one real life you actually get to truly live is a journey of rights and wrongs, ups and downs, wins and loses – based on choices and decisions you make along the way. If you follow your own path, doing everything you can to unlock Hashem’s Divine Sparks, you will fill the world around you with the most extraordinary, brightest light. As the moments tick by, you will surely find that everything you do in THIS life will be all that much sweeter.

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