Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Obstructing Shadow - Part 2

continued from Part 1

by Rav Ephraim Kenig shlita [Reprinted with permission from Tzaddik Magazine]

Levels of Tzaddikim 
The world is divided into groups. Tzaddikim are also divided into different groups. There are tzaddikim in the category of Yesod Olam - foundation of the world - and there are tzaddikim on a lower level, yet the world's existence completely depends upon all of them. The holy Zohar explicitly states that the highest level in each generation is that of Moses. Afterwards, there are the thirty-six tzaddikim called the lamed vav tzaddikim. According to the Zohar, thre are 36 in the Land of Israel and 36 outside of Israel. The entire world stands in their merit, since without them, the world could not exist. The Zohar mentions other examples, such as a category of 10,000 tzaddikim, who are on a lower level. Nonetheless, the world requires all of these tzaddikim to exist. 

We also need to place ourselves in some sort of category of tzaddikim.  You may ask youself ''Why do I need to call myself a tzaddik?''  Don't forget that we were born to carry out a specific mission, so it is not a matter of what we want or not. It is not merely a one-time task like when someone says to you ''Go bring this envelope to someone" - rather it is a mission involving your entire being and everything connected to you.  Your entire life is no more than a simple shlichut - mission.  For example, someone says to you ''Get on a plane, travel to a certain place and do this particular thing.''  You will be well aware of why you are in that particular place, since it is part of your mission.  You'll also take care not to damage anything in the process of carrying it out. Nonetheless, at the same time, you still feel ''something'' from yourself since, despite being on a mission, you still need to eat, sleep, travel, accomplish etc.

In other words, whatever you do in the world, whether sleep, eat, make money, pray, put on tefillin, or any of the other mitzvot, it is all one big mission.  This is the most truthful way to think about ourselves since we have no other function in the world besides our Divinely-given mission.

You may ask ''What is my mission?''  The answer lies in knowing that everything is connected to the kavod of Hashem, since He created the world to reveal His glory.  Before the world came into being, there was no-one to reveal  His kavod.  After creation, it is our mission to reveal it.

When you feel some deficiency, it is a signal that there is some sort of ''shortcoming'' in the revelation of G-d's kavod.  The more we reveal His kavod, the less lack we will feel.  Hashem created us with all of our materiality to serve as a foundation in this world for Him, and to elevate our Divine awareness until we clearly realize that we have no other function than to see the Divine in every detail of life.  Everything should bring us closer to the knowledge that there is a Creator of the World Who desires something from us.  If it is against the Torah, it is not the desire of Hashem.  Every step we take in life should bring us closer to a mindset that nothing exists beyond our appointed function in the world.  Bringing children into the world, working in whatever area Hashem has brought us, or any other life situation, is all part of our mission to reveal what Hashem desires.

Delving deeper, we will sense how limited our understanding is. This is when to pour out our hearts: ''Ribbono shel Olam! Heal us so we can reveal Your kavod. Give us livelihood so we can magnify Your kavod in the world. Redeem us from the oppression of outside influences, so we can carry out our mission.'' The emphasis should be in this direction, rather than driven by the desire to shed the discomfort of exile.  Thinking this way makes us more complete and less demanding of space and self-importance. When we achieve such a level, Rebbe Nachman promises that we will experience no lack.  Obviously this is a process, but we must begin.

This is all connected to Rebbe Nachman's concept of a self-generated shadow that blocks our own shefa.  Every day, the ability to prevent its creation can be drawn from the power of Moses and his humility, since he is the primary soul in which we are all rooted.  Rebbe Nachman describes how the influence of Moses is found within every limb of our body, reminding us to perform the mitzvah associated with that particular limb.  His point of humility is also there, waiting to be developed.  It is this point that will help us better understand how to remove our sense of ''somethingness'' and feel much more authentic.  Most think that kavod and happiness are found by taking up more space in the world, as if this is the purpose of life.  However, this point of humility will save us from being distracted or thrown off by the attractions of the world.

May Hashem help us be encompassed in the humility of Moses, so we will be able to receive an abundant influx of everything good in this world, as well as all the other worlds we will witness in the future.  This blessing very much depends upon us. When we repair ourselves, we repair the entire universe. By drawing Divine awareness into the world so everyone will know there is only Hashem, we will experience the good of the World to Come in this world as well.

Translated and adapted from a lesson based on Likutey Moharan 172.

[1] Likutey Moharan 172.
[2] King Solomon wrote ''Elokim made Man straight, but they pursued many intrigues.'' [Ecclesiastes 7:29]
[3] ''For My glory I created...'' [Isaiah 43:7];  ''The earth is filled with His glory'' [Isaiah 6:3]

5 comments:

  1. That was so nice to read and digest. Asd noahide, would it apply to me too.?

    s/c

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  2. Dear anonymous, I believe it applies very very much to you.
    My father was a ben noach. I have asked rabbanim about this.
    Benei noachides hold dearly to what they are supposed to hold by. They have a place- a beautiful one :) in the World to Come.
    When Moshiach comes the world will be told of the shevah mitzvos and their need to hold to them. You are already doing that in a world that is not doing so.
    you have a special place. Yasher koach!

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  3. Toda , Dear Leah,

    very grateful to you foryour comment.
    But I am not happy being a Noahide, and I am studying to convert and May Hashem help me soon, to help myself, as I am old now.

    But I intend to pesevere, and with Hashems help, and places such as these where i visit, and learn, (its like coming to a place with great thirst, and where there is cool refreshing water flowing and drinking thirstly). I shall
    Keep going where Hashem directs me, and oneday, Baruch Hashem, I can return to this place and declare, "I too am of the Nation of Hashem".

    May it happen soon for me. Amen.
    Bless you all, and Shabbat Shalom. :)

    stella.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hello Stella- Gut erev Shabbos.
    May you go from strength to strength and succeed in your endeavors!
    May it happen VERY soon for you! :)
    Shabbat Shalom.
    Leah :)

    ReplyDelete

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