Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

4 Sivan 5760 - June 7, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Opinion & Comment
Let Us Fulfill Our Purpose

The mitzvos of the Torah, says the Maharal (Tiferes Yisroel, 4) are like a rope that hauls a person up from the bottomless pit that is the lower world into the upper world, to "seat him with the King, Hashem Tzevokos, eye to eye."

With the Torah, we are in daily contact with eternal spirituality as we observe its limitations, perform its commandments and study its wisdom. We do not just muck around in a search and struggle to satisfy our physical needs, but we constantly haul ourselves up with the Maharal's rope, higher and higher.

This is not "extra credit." This is the very purpose for which we were created. This is why Hashem made man, and this is why each and every one of us was put into the world. If we fail to progress in this direction, we are not doing our job. When we do come closer to this wonderful goal, it is no more than what Hashem intended.

On Lag BaOmer we sing the praises of R' Shimon Bar Yochai, one of which is, "`Na'ase Odom' was said because of you."

R' Shimon Bar Yochai is the source of hundreds (perhaps thousands) of halachic comments throughout the mishna and gemora. Moreover, he is the primary source of the esoteric wisdom known as kabolo, including the Zohar and especially the Idra Rabbo and the Idra Zutto which describes the great revelations that R' Shimon made on the day of his passing, as well as the Tikunei Zohar, seventy discourses based on the first posuk in the Torah. It is for him and people like him that Hashem said, as the song we sing on Lag BaOmer notes, "Let us make man."

R' Shimon was an awesome person, as is clear from the stories told about him. He was surrounded by a spiritual fire that kept unworthy people away from him. He was the conduit for bringing deep knowledge down to earth in a way that paralleled the task of Moshe Rabbenu, as he is described as having a "spark" of the soul of Moshe Rabbenu.

He was what man is supposed to be. Although we cannot do what he did, we can also be what man is supposed to be.

We were made to use our capacities for serving Hashem. The higher the capacities we use the higher the service we do. Clearly, the highest service we do is when we use our minds for avodas Hashem.

Judaism demands a relatively high level of mental participation in the tasks it gives everyone in daily life. We have to keep in mind an array of mitzvos and restrictions as we go about doing whatever we do. When we fulfill a mitzva we must think about what we do to ensure that we are fulfilling it properly, and are asked to think further about what we do, to relate to Hashem Who commanded us to do it and to how it was commanded, and we should see ourselves as acting out the words of Hashem as expressed in the Torah that He gave us. In short, we should do all our mitzvos with kavono whenever possible (even when it is not a requirement).

When we do that, we also live what Hashem intended when He said, "Let us make man," and we surely pull ourselves ever higher up the rope to the higher world.

It was this potential, and the means to achieve it, that was given to us at Mount Sinai. We said na'ase venishma, then and we reiterate it today.

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