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    Lifting up your voice – Ki Tissa

    The title of the sidra is from a verb root that means “to lift up”.

    Translations of the phrase Ki Tissa in Ex. 30:11 mostly speak about raising oneself to be seen and counted in a census of the people. But when the Hebrew word comes in other places, especially the Psalms, it means lifting up one’s voice in song and praise.

    How we link the translations is this: a person who lifts up their voice is noticed as someone whose heart moves them to open their mouth in acknowledgment of God. However, it is not only the heart that can serve God but every part of one’s being.

    Rabbi Naftali Amsterdam once said to his mentor, Rabbi Yisrael Salanter, “If only I had the head of the Sha’agat Aryeh, the heart of the Yesod Shoresh HaAvodah and the character of Rav Yisrael Salanter, then I would be able to really serve HaShem!”

    Rabbi Salanter responded, “But what you have is precisely the head, the heart and the character that HaShem wants you to have!”

    That’s how you lift yourself up, by using wisely whatever God has given you…

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