On אחריות (Achrayut)/Responsibility:
In parshat Vayikra, we encounter a bizarre phrase. In describing the offerings of the ancient mishkan and later the temple, the Torah describes them as “a food offering, an aroma (reiach nichoach) pleasing to HaShem” (Vayikra 1:9). This phrase occurs several times in the parasha and many a commentator offer how to understand what a “pleasant aroma” is to God, who has no physical senses. The Ramban (13th, Spain) offers an answer by reminding us of a story:
Two great prophets, Elijah and Elisha were on their final walk together, before Elijah would be famously carried away by a chariot of fire. Several times, Elijah implores Elisha to stay behind and let him continue to his remaining destinations alone before being taken away so Elisha would not have to witness his departure on the chariot. Each time, Elisha replies with the same phrase, “As HaShem lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.”
As difficult as it was, Elisha remained with his teacher until the end and watched him carried away to another world. Upon witnessing this, the local prophets declare “Elijah’s spirit rests (nacha ruach) upon Elisha” (See II Kings Chapter 2 for the full story).
“Pleasant aroma” and “spirit rests” are not similar in English but they are nearly identical in Hebrew, being “reiach nichoach/ריח ניחוח” and “nacha ruach/נחה רוח”.
What we learn is that just as Elisha’s sense of responsibility and commitment with Elijah made the latter’s “spirit rest” upon him, so too does our sense of responsibility to one another and that infinite ideal we call “God” make a divine spirit rest upon us.
Think about it/מחשבה (Machshavah): Next time you feel inconvenienced by one of your commitments to another, take a deep breath, smell the fragrances around you and consider that commitment as a chance to bring greater soul to your life and the world.
Try it/מעשה (maaseh):Take care of someone or something in a particularly mindful way this week. It can be a new or existing commitment but this week, make a set time each day to be fully present and undistracted with whatever or whoever it is.