Mamash! (really and truly)

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Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Take a quick look at these sentences: "This time you really and truly exaggerated!" "I really and truly hate eggplant!" "It was really and truly wonderful." Mamash (really and truly) refers to feelings or ideas that, for us, are definitely true, heartfelt, and leave no room for doubt. It's a word that emphasizes the seriousness of the thought that is expressed.

In yesterday's daily portion of the book of Tanya, a fundamental work of the Chasidic movement, we read the following declaration: "The second, uniquely Jewish, soul is really and truly a part of G-d above." Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, author of the book of Tanya, apparently wants us to pay special attention to this idea.

We are accustomed to say that we were created in the image of God, that there is in every one of us a divine and holy spark. But do we internalize this or just say the words automatically without thinking about them? Do we recognize that side by side with our animal soul, right next to our evil inclination, there is a second soul -- and it is a part of G-d above, part of the infinite Creator, but really and truly? And if such a part of G-d exists in us, how can we increase it and have it guide us?

We could live 120 years without paying attention to this piece of Godliness within ouselves and others. The fesitval of lights is the proper time to be reminded of the light that shines inside us, light that really and truly shines from within.

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