Friday, September 14, 2012

Nitzavim 5632 First Ma'amar (partial)

"הנסתרות לה׳ א־להינו והנגלות לנו ... לעשות את כל דברי התורה הזאת/The hidden things are for God your Lord and the revealed is for us … to fulfill all the words of this Torah." (Devarim 39:28)  The simple meaning is that we are only held responsible for those things that we can see.  We are not responsible the blasphemous thoughts of others[1].

The Sfas Emes understands this pasuk homiletically as referring to each individual and his struggle between the material life he lives and the spiritual life he would like to live.  How can we reconcile the two?  Is it possible to live a life connected, as it were, to God, a life of holiness, while being involved in all the mundane activities that we do each day?
The Sfas Emes answers that not only is it possible; it is required.  To be sure, our physical body has physical needs that we must see to.  However, if our passion and innermost desire is to be devoted to God, our mundane activities will not separate us from Him.  Quite the opposite; our spiritual aspirations will influence us so that even our mundane activities will take on spiritual meaning.

The Sfas Emes learns this concept from our pasuk.  "הנסתרות לה' א-להינו .../The hidden things are for God your Lord …"  If our hidden innermost passion and desire is devotion to God.  "... והנגלות לנו .../… and the revealed is for us."  Even though we are required to take care of our physical needs.  The result is, "לעשות את כל דברי התורה הזאת/… to do all the words of this Torah."  Because of our inner devotion to God, everything that we do becomes a way of serving God.  This is called drawing the power of the Torah into our actions.  May we merit it!!

[1] Viz. Rashi on this pasuk

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