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Shema-Mishpatim-Unification of Action Print E-mail
Written by Machberes Avodas Hashem   

Prayer-Shemah-Parsha--Kavanah-iPray-iLove-MishpatimA person can perform unification of action in all mundane activities, such as business dealings, eating, drinking, and sexual intercourse, in a more exalted manner than the one described in Duties of the Hearts, in the chapter called, “Unification of Deeds,” and, “Service of God.” Based on the verse, “he who sacrifices to the powers, save to the Lord only, shall be utterly destroyed (Exodus 22:19),” the author sees eating, drinking, and sleeping as a means to strengthen one's body for the service of the Creator; likewise the purpose of business dealings is to provide sustenance for himself and for his family.


Now, my brother, while it is indeed the sign of a good heart when one's every action is for the sake of God and he does everything with heaven in mind, nevertheless, this is not what we call “the perfect service” in the tradition we have received. So did I hear in the name of the Maggid, with regard to the Talmudic saying, “What is a perfect service? One after which no other service follows (Yoma 24a).” The Maggid said: “When one's eating is intended only to strengthen his body for Torah study and worship, how can one call this a perfect service? While eating, he neither praise nor learns; hence this is merely an act of service for the sake of and which leads to the true service which follows.”

However, if the eating is done in accordance with the meditation of the Ari haKadosh to extract and elevate the holy sparks in the food, and especially if one has been privileged by the Almighty to perceive and visualize with his mind the roots of His blessed Names, as explained in the Lurianic writings regarding the proper meditation by scholars for eating, then he can create “unification” as much with his eating as he can with his prayer. Happy is he and happy is his lot!

Similarly, each of his business matters can become a service in its own right, provided that he deals honestly. This is equally true of all mundane matters, whether plowing were sewing or reaping, and the work of the field. (Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch of Zhidachov; Sur meiRah vaAseh Tov, Keter Yosher Divrei Emet, 116a)

When declaring God's Unity in the Shema one should have intention to receive from God this gift of unification.

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