KJ Hannah Greenberg

Cosmic Oxytocin

Our purpose is to serve Hashem. Providentially, in attending Him, we receive cosmic oxytocin, i.e., the “feel goods” typically experienced between moms and infants or between husbands and wives. “Cosmic oxytocin,” is the experience of pure consciousness, the field of awareness in which all points of consciousness arise. “States of Da’at are often described as being filled with feelings of compassion, serenity, and inner-stillness” (Bank). They occur when we build a kesher with The Boss.

Because Am Yisrael is Hashem’s “bride,” we experience Da’at when we attach ourselves to Him (Ecclesiastes 12). “Connecting” includes aligning our minds, words, and deeds with His will. Yet, as Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair explains, sometimes we miss the mark.


But few are those which devote thought and study to the matter of perfection of [divine] service: on love, fear, clinging, and the other branches of piety. This is not because they do not consider these things as fundamental. For if you ask them, each one will answer you that this is of utmost importance and that it is unimaginable for one to be considered truly wise if he has not fully comprehended these matters.

Rather their lack of devoting more attention to it stems from it being so familiar and so evident to them that they see no need for spending much time on it…The situation has reached the point where most people imagine piety consists of reciting many psalms, very long confessions, difficult fasts, and immersions in ice [water] and snow—all are things incompatible with intellect and [with] which reason cannot be at peace.

On balance, Judaism is not an ascetic religion. Yidden don’t adhere to Torah’s strictures reasons of abstemiousness. As Rabbi Miller once said, Hashem gives fruit color, texture, and taste so that we can more profoundly enjoy them. Additionally, as Rabbi Tzvi Freeman clarifies, in “What is Tikun Olam,”

[e]very aspect of a person’s life, even the most seemingly mundane, has purpose and provides an opportunity for tikkun olam…The way you eat and what you eat, the way you treat others, the commitments you make to family and friends—all these are means of tikkun olam, bringing the world yet closer to its ultimate state for which it was created.

Meaning, the more gratitude that we have toward our Maker, the more that we improve our world and the better we feel.

Rebbetzin Chana Bracha Siegelbaum refers to the blessing of fixing ourselves to The Boss, in “Discovering our Personal Mission in Life;”

Netivat Shalom explains in the name of the Arizal that the true blessing is when we fulfill our personal mission and do the rectifications for which we were brought into this world; whereas, the curse is when someone works hard without fulfilling his personal mission. “See, this day I set before you” indicates that Hashem gives each of us all the necessary conditions and tools to fulfill our mission.

Through the circumstances in which Hashem places us, we can learn to find our personal mission in life. This is the meaning of “The blessing that (אשר/ asher) you shall hear…” It doesn’t state – “The blessing if you listen to the mitzvot….” – because the blessing is unconditional. It is already given through all the situations in which Hashem places us, for the sake that we learn from our experiences about our purpose in life. All we need is to be mindful and conscious of what we can learn from each challenge that we face. Therefore, Hashem instructs us to see – experience everything that Hashem is constantly giving (נותן/noten) us, for the sake of blessing if we only listen.

Hashem wants our bond. Consider that the Mishkan was Hashem’s dwelling place in Olam Hazeh, was a meeting place for Him and Am Yisrael. He

wanted the Israelites to create a model society where human beings were not treated as slaves, where rulers were not worshipped as demigods, where human dignity was respected, where law was impartially administered to rich and poor alike, where no one was destitute, no one was abandoned to isolation, no one was above the law and no realm of life was a morality-free zone. That requires a society, and a society needs a land. It requires an economy, an army, fields and flocks, labour and enterprise. All these, in Judaism, become ways of bringing the Shekhinah into the shared spaces of our collective life (Sacks).

Remember, “G-d is simultaneously close to us and yet far above us, intimately related to us and yet transcendent. This paradox is at the heart of our relationship with G-d” (“Jewish Prayers”). Therefore, to benefit from Cosmic Oxytocin, we must cleave to Him.


Bank, Yoseph Yitzchak. “How Can I feel Connected to Hashem at all Times?” My Life: Chassidus Applied. 2020. Accessed 20 Feb. 2024.

Ben Yair, Rabbi Pinchas. “Introduction.” Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto. The Path of the Just. Trans. Yoseph Leibler. Torah Classics Library. Feldheim, 2004, xiii-xvi.

Ecclesiastes. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Freeman, Rabbi Tzvi. “What is Tikun Olam?” Accessed 14 Jul. 2023. 

“Jewish Prayers: Prayers and Blessings.” Jewish Virtual Library. Accessed 28 Jan. 2024.

Luzzatto, Rabbi Moshe Chaim. Yoseph Leibler. Trans. The Path of the Just. Torah Classics Library. Feldheim, 2004.

Sacks, Rabbi Jonathan. “Two Kinds of Fear.” “Covenant & Conversation.” 2016. Accessed 14 Jul. 2023.

Siegelbaum, Rebbetzin Chana Bracha. “Parashat Nitzavim—Uprooting the Bitter or Making it [sic] Sweet?” “Nature in the Parsha.” Midreshet B’erot Bat Ayin. Sep. 2015. Accessed 10 Sep. 2023.

About the Author
KJ Hannah Greenberg has been playing with words for an awfully long time. Initially a rhetoric professor and a National Endowment for the Humanities Scholar, she shed her academic laurels to romp around with a prickle of imaginary hedgehogs. Thereafter, her writing has been nominated once for The Best of the Net in poetry, three times for the Pushcart Prize in Literature for poetry, once for the Pushcart Prize in Literature for fiction, once for the Million Writers Award for fiction, and once for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. To boot, Hannah’s had more than forty books published and has served as an editor for several literary journals.