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Avot 4:22: Likkutei Torah Print E-mail
Written by Machberes Avodas Hashem   

Basic SpiritualityHe (Rabbi Yaakov) used to say: Better one hour of repentance and good deeds in this world then the entire life of the World to Come; and better one hour of spiritual bliss in the World to Come than the entire life of this world. (Avot 4:22)

 

The function of the Mishkan is the settling of the Divine Presence in Israel. Thus it is written, “And let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them (Exodus 25:8),” and also, “The Temple of God are themselves (Jeremiah 7:4).” This conforms to what the Rabbis said: “The Holy One desired an abode in the lower world (Midrash Tanchumah: Nasso #16).”

Now this must be understood: Why did God seek to dwell in this world? After all, even without this we already know that He is present here, as it is written, “Do I not fill heaven and earth (Jeremiah 23:24)?”

The matter may be explained as follows: “Abode” means that His blessed divinity will be revealed, and hence this abode must specifically be in the lower worlds. For “lower world” is not meant spatially, inasmuch as the category of space does not apply to Him. The terms, “upper worlds,” and “lower worlds,” referred to degree and level.

This lowly world is then neither most and the lowliest; it is the culmination and and of all the levels of the progressive devolution of the worlds. Therefore, the perception of divinity in this world is concealed and greatly contracted, “Darkness shall cover the earth (Isaiah 60:2).” The Holy One desired especially to be in it as an abode, in the revelation of His divinity, specifically to illuminate the darkness. This illumination and revelation take place by means of Torah study and doing mitzvot, as we know from the statement of the Rabbis: “Better one hour of repentance and good deeds in this world then all the life of the World to Come,” for thereby one makes possible a greater revelation of divinity then in the life of the World to Come.

The actualization of this abode and revelation takes place by means of the suppression of the Sitra Achra, which is identical to the Evil inclination, as the Zohar says, “when the Sitra Achra is suppressed, the glory of the Holy One rises above everything."  In the beginning, one must attempt to suppress the Sitra Achra, but afterwards one must attain the level of transforming darkness to light. The suppression takes place with all five senses: that of site, by closing one's eyes so as not to see evil, and similarly with regard to hearing, etc. And the same with speech, action, thought, and all other dispositions of the body and mind. (Likkutei Torah: Shemot)

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