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Wednesday
Jul232014

IT’S ALL ABOUT NETWORKING

“Bringing Geula to the world” sounds like too big a job, but the formula is pretty basic and quite simple: Connection. Connecting between the mind and the heart, between the neshama and ourselves, between G-dliness and the world. This puzzle asks you to connect the pieces and you’ll get a breathtaking picture in the form of Geula. How do we do this? Read on.

WHEN I WANT SOMETHING – NOTHING WILL STAND IN MY WAY

Which force is stronger – will or logic? Do I want what is reasonable or is it reasonable because this is what I want?

Take it from another angle: What spurs a person to act – is it a simple desire devoid of reasons, explanations and justifications, or is the person rational and thus, he makes his life’s choices according to reason?

Whatever you answered, you are correct … There is the ratzon that comes from logic and there is the logic that is derived from ratzon. The chiddush is that we have ratzon which transcends explanations. There is a place in the soul that wants what it wants even when it is not reasonable and does not comport with intellect. This place is much stronger than seichel. It is so strong that when it is revealed, the seichel is hidden, as though it never was; there are no questions and no answers, no queries and no responses.

“There is nothing that stands before ratzon” – when the ratzon is revealed, the rest of the bodily systems submit to it: the intellect, emotion, thoughts, even speech and action. There is a disadvantage here in that these systems do not participate, they are out of the picture.

The challenge is to achieve a combination in which the force of will is expressed in the other powers and doesn’t eclipse them.

The relationship between ratzon and the other kochos is brought in Chassidus as an analogy to G-dliness which is above nature, and nature. When G-dliness is revealed, nature is nullified before it and has no existence.

WHICH GEULA ARE WE WAITING FOR?

How do we picture the Geula? What exactly are we waiting for?

Are we waiting for a miracle which transcends nature, for the nullification of the old world order and an entirely new world that we did not know until now? Or are we waiting for a fusing of the world with G-dliness, of nature and that which transcends nature?

The answer to these questions is very important since the manner in which we imagine the Geula directly affects the way in which we work to bring the Geula. If we are waiting for a time in which the world as we know it will disappear and there will be something entirely new, i.e. we are waiting for a time in which nature will no longer operate, then our avoda today to bring the Geula would need to be in a supernatural manner.

What does it mean to serve Hashem in a natural way? To serve Hashem in a natural way is to serve him in a way that is measured, that has limitations, doing everything on time, not before or after, doing things in accordance with our understanding; if we understand more, then we do more and if we understand less, then we do less.

Serving Hashem in a way that transcends nature is when we serve Him beyond limitations, without taking the nature of the world into account, without taking my nature into account. It means not looking at the clock while davening or while learning.

So how do we bring the Geula, by avoda which transcends nature or avoda within nature?

It depends on the manner in which we picture the Geula. 

The Rebbe explains that the Hebrew word Geula is comprised of the word gola and the letter alef. This teaches us that the Geula is not meant to erase the world, or to exchange the old with the new. The Geula will be within the same old world that we know, but in the Geula stage the G-dliness within will be revealed. Geula does not erase nature. It reveals the G-dliness within nature, combining that which transcends nature with nature.

COMBINING TWO PARTS OF THE PUZZLE

If this is the goal we are striving for, combining that which transcends nature with nature, then the avoda required of us is an avoda of combining, the combining of opposites. We are required to combine our “above nature” with our “nature.” Serving Hashem needs to be a combination of natural avoda and miraculous avoda. On the one hand, using the nature and abilities and talents I was given, including harnessing my intellectual abilities, but blending them with an avoda which transcends reason; going out of my limitations.

On the other hand, an avoda which is only above the usual way of things, without limitations, without “keilim,” is not good either. There needs to be nature, but this nature has to be permeated with G-dliness. There needs to be an “I,” but this “I” has to be permeated with G-dliness.

In educational terms, we would say that we have to be mechanech children to kabbalas ol, to abstract belief, but not to erase the child’s personality. We need to build up their self-confidence, their self-image, and within this, to instill kabbalas ol and emuna, thus combining the limited “I” with the unlimited G-d.

In other words, we need an orderly life with set times for learning and davening and even set times for eating and sleeping. And within this orderly life, we need to instill G-dliness, strong faith, kabbalas ol, fusing that which is above seichel with seichel.

WE HAVE IT

The same explanation is given for the advantage of miracles “dressed” in nature that combine G-dliness with nature, which are greater than supernatural miracles.

Who has the ability to fuse these two levels? Only G-d who transcends both of them. The same is true for man’s soul; in order to fuse both levels, we need to reveal the essence of the soul and this is accomplished through bittul. When a person sets himself aside, i.e. his feelings, his thinking, his desires, and reveals the essence of his soul, then he has the ability to incorporate the lofty kochos without ignoring normal life.

Where do we begin?

We have the greatest treasure in the world, the greatest gift that anyone has ever received, the Torah. The Torah is not (only) a history book or a law book. The Torah is G-d’s wisdom. If we want to know how the Creator thinks, if we want to get “inside His head,” as it were, we need to learn Torah. This idea is especially emphasized in Chassidus where we learn primarily about the Creator Himself and not about His laws.

More deeply: The Torah is the blueprint by which the world was created. Hashem looked into the Torah and based on this, created the world. That the world has a natural and a supernatural dimension is derived from the Torah itself. Torah also has a natural and a supernatural dimension.

Nigleh of Torah is the natural dimension and Nistar is the supernatural dimension. If we want to combine the natural and the supernatural in our personal lives, we need to combine the natural and the supernatural in our Torah study.

If we only learn “nature” (Nigleh) in Torah, then when we go outside and look at the world, we will only see the world and not that which lies behind it. If we only learn the “supernatural” (Nistar) in Torah, then when we go outside, we won’t see the world at all, just G-dliness. But when we combine the two, we see Geula, we see the world and see the G-dliness within it. We see the gola but also the alef within it.

When we learn Nigleh and Nistar, we feel how the Nigleh contains secrets and how Nistar finds expression in halachos and action. The power for this comes from Chassidus which is the “etzem” of Torah, above Nigleh and above Nistar and containing the ability to combine the two. This is especially true of the Chassidus of the Rebbe, for in his sichos and maamarim he combines Nistar and Nigleh and gives us the ability to see G-dliness within the world, to feel the Geula within our personal lives.

 

Rabbi Nadav Cohen serves as Director of Educational Programs at the Ascent Institute of Tzfat and is the author of the critically acclaimed “GPS for the Soul,” available at amazon.com and kabbalaonline-shop.com.

 

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