Thursday, January 28, 2010
BeShalach 5631 First Ma'amar - Practical Application
This essay is based on B’Shalach 5631 First Ma’amar. Clicking on the previous words will bring you to the ma’amar on the blog.
This Shabbos is called Shabbos Shira because we read the Shiras HaYam/Song of the Sea. The Sfas Emes explains that song is much more than a tune or a poem. Song is nothing less than the physical expression of a spiritual essence. And since everything has a spiritual essence, song is not limited to humans. The entire Creation sings as we find in Perek Shirah.
Since song is the physical expression of a creation’s spiritual essence, song occurs only when the creation’s spiritual essence is revealed. Revealing the spiritual, then, is synonymous with song. And just as the roots of a tree lead directly to the tree, so too, does the spiritual aspect of a physical creation lead to that creation. There is a direct line between them. In fact, the Hebrew word for song – שִׁירָה, is related to the Hebrew for line – שׁוּרָה.
The Sfas Emes explains that the revelation of a creation’s spiritual essence is totally dependent upon man’s actions, words and thoughts. We have the ability to reveal the spiritual within the physical. We have the ability to cause the Creation to sing. Chazal teach us that when the nation sang at the sea, they caused the entire Creation to sing as well.
How can we reveal a creation’s spiritual essence? The Sfas Emes teaches that when we act with the understanding that every thing and every action has a spiritual component, the spiritual is revealed. God gave us the ability, by thinking the appropriate thoughts as we act, to reveal the spiritual in everything we do, even if we are doing mundane activities. What this means practically is that we can experience the spiritual in everything that we do by directing our thoughts towards it.
Believing that there is a spiritual component that parallels everything in the physical world, while necessary is not enough, though. We need to be able to tap into that belief during the course of our daily activities. This is easier said than done. We usually just run through our day without thinking. Obviously we think in order to solve problems and know what we want to do, but rare is the person who actually thinks about the whys and wherefores of his or her actions.
Thinking before acting, effectively preparing for it, is a straightforward, easy to implement approach to bringing out and experiencing the spiritual in all our activities. So, before any activity first think that this activity receives life and existence from God. It therefore contains a spiritual component, holiness. The ultimate purpose of Creation is God’s revelation. By thinking/preparing before acting, we reveal God, as it were, in a small but important way in all our daily activities. Acting in this way can cause amazing changes in our daily lives, how we relate to our activities, others and ourselves. Hatzlacha!