Friday, August 02, 2013

Re'ei 5631 Third Ma'amar

אֶת-הַבְּרָכָה אֲשֶׁר תִּשְׁמְעוּ אֶל-מִצְוֹת ה' אֱ-לֹהֵיכֶם .../The blessing, that you will listen to the mitzvos of God your Lord …” (Devarim 11:27)  The simple meaning of the words implies that the blessing is mitzvah observance.  Conventionally, though, blessing is the result of mitzvah observance.  In fact, this is how Rashi[1] understands the pasuk, “The blessing is on the condition that you listen …”   The Sfas Emes, however, explains the pasuk according to the simple meaning.  He bases his understanding of the pasuk on a Midrash[2] in our parsha.  

In Mishlei a lamp is used as a metaphor for both the Torah and mitzvos on the one hand and the soul on the other hand.  כִּי נֵר מִצְוָה וְתוֹרָה אוֹר .../For a mitzvah is a lamp and Torah is light …” (Mishlei 6:23)  Here Shlomo HaMelech compares mitzvos to a lamp and the Torah to the lamp’s light.  In another pasuk in Mishlei we find, “נֵר ה' נִשְׁמַת אָדָם .../Man’s soul is the lamp of God …” (Mishlei 20:27)  According to the Midrash God says, “My lamp is in your hands and your lamp is in My hands.”  If we protect and keep His lamp, He will protect and keep our lamp.

The Sfas Emes develops this metaphor further.  He explains that the Torah is the mechanism through which God gives life to every thing in existence including our actions.  The spiritual life-giving force flows out of the Torah into every thing and action in the Creation.  It is hidden, though.  We have an obligation to reveal this inner spirituality which pervades everything.  We do this by performing the mitzvos.  The Sfas Emes teaches that every action is a potential mitzvah depending on our intent when we act.  The metaphor of a lamp is exact.  When the Midrash says that God’s lamp is in our hands, it means that we are able to and required to light the lamp.  This happens when we observe the mitzvos.  Every act, if done with the intent to serve God, unleashes and reveals the latent spiritual light inherent in the act.  The revelation of spiritual light is itself the blessing.  It heightens our awareness of God, the ultimate Blessing.  This is the exact meaning of the pasuk, “אֶת-הַבְּרָכָה אֲשֶׁר תִּשְׁמְעוּ אֶל-מִצְוֹת/The blessing: that you will listen to the mitzvos …”

[1] Rashi on Devarim 11:27
[2] Devarim R. 4:4

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Discussion with Moishe'la (with his family)
A Handicapped child
Tishrei 28 '5774(Oct 1 '13)

"We Cried and We Cried"

I want to tell you that Zaidy came to me again from Olam Ha’emes. (My Zaidy, a great Tzaddik, was very famous when he was alive.) I want to tell you that he sat down next to me when I was sleeping, and said to me, "Yingel Yingel my Zeesa Yingel (my beloved boy) I am so proud of you. I am so happy that you are in the house that you are, in the home that you are, and I Bentch you that you should continue bringing truth to our family and truth to the Yidden wherever they might be."

And then he said, "I have more to tell you. I am very worried about my adopted homeland the United States of America. I am not worried about the place itself, as we all know its pure Edom. I have always realized how this Golus of Edom has almost destroyed all Yiddishkeit in America.

"But no I am not worried about the Edomite country called the United States. I am worried about the Yidden in United States. First of all they are in very big physical danger and of course we know very well that the Yidden in America, including the Frum, are in great spiritual and physical danger. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, but the very big majority of the Yidden in America are in very big spiritual danger.

"Don't get me wrong. I am not saying that the Yidden all over the world are in a better condition, but I am worried especially about the Yidden in the United States of America.

"I really want them to do Teshuva, real Teshuva. And I know that I have said this many times, and people don't understand what I am talking about. Even when you explain it so clearly, most people just brush it off because it's much more interesting to be busy with the Gashmius than to be busy with the Ruchnius. It take less spiritual and emotional effort to rise high in the attainment of the Gashmius, than it takes to rise high in the attainment of the Ruchnius.

"Since I was very young I realized that the American Jewish community would eventually disappear. Now however I see clearly that the United States of America is disappearing right in front of our eyes. Soon there will be no United States of America, and the Yidden will have to find themselves a new home. I hope they decide on Eretz Yisroel, and hope they do it quickly, because if not well……. "

Then he asked me to sit down with him and say Tikkun Chatzos. Together we Davened and we cried, and we cried, and we cried. I closed my eyes so I could feel the Tza'ar HaShechina, (the pain of Hashem) and when I opened them my Zaidy was gone.