Riding the Donkey

October 10, 2012 - 5:00 am

“Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” — Zechariah 9:9

In describing the coming of the Messiah, the prophet tells us that he will be riding on a donkey. Jewish tradition teaches that this donkey is the same one that Abraham rode when he went to sacrifice Isaac and the same donkey that Moses used when he went to speak to Pharaoh.

Why is it important for us to know the Messiah’s mode of transportation? And what difference does it make whose donkey it is?

The Sages explain that Abraham began a mission that was carried on by Moses and will be completed by the Messiah. The mission is to unite spirituality with physicality. This is symbolized by “riding the donkey.” Learning to ride the donkey is the mission of our lives.

In Hebrew, the word for “donkey” stems from the same word that means “material.” A donkey represents everything in our material world. “Riding the donkey” means to harness physicality and to tame it. We use the physical world to reach our spiritual goals.

How do we do that?

Just as a donkey can take a person to places he could not go on foot, the physical world can help us reach spiritual heights that aren’t otherwise reachable. The Internet is great example. It’s definitely physical and is the product of earthly science and technology. Yes, it has its pitfalls and can lead a person to sin, but look at the spirituality it is spreading. It has given God’s word a megaphone, and we can spread His word to every land! It can bring people together and empower God’s servants. This is only one example. Everything that is physical can become spiritual when used in service of God.

What are your material gifts? Your body, your home, your money, your talents, the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the mouth you speak with –the list goes on and on. Now think about how each one can raise you spiritually. How can you use your resources to help others? How can you use them in service of God?

Our physical lives are a gift from God. How we use them is our gift to Him.


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