Saturday, January 17, 2009

Fear Pushes Off Geulah

In the Zohar, the designated purpose of a retzoo’ah (strap/lash) is to hit someone, that is, to punish him. Now, someone who is not frum, what does he see when he sees frum people? He sees people who are really involved with reward and punishment. But, more than the reward, he sees the punishments hanging over their heads.

He says to himself: “I don’t keep the Shabbat the way that you do. So what would you have done to me? You would want to come and stone me, no!?” In short, what he sees is the lash—if you do not follow the commandments, that lash will strike you. How do we understand what he sees in spiritual terms? We understand that as long as there is still a place that is empty of the true awe of God, it is an empty pit, scorpions and snakes will fill it, i.e., fear of punishment will fill it. And as long as there are such pits where it is not God that is feared but punishment that is feared, the redemption cannot come. Simply put, if a person sees only punishment, only the lash (the retzoo’ah), he cannot be redeemed.

As explained in Chassidut, a place that is empty of awareness of God is a place where a person does not sense the King, the Master of the Universe, but instead he senses gehenom, hell. Anyone who is experiencing only the lack of God’s Presence is experiencing the contraction or concealment of God’s infinite light and that person is unfortunately in gehenom already. As long as this is the case, we cannot yet make peace with Esau. The lash is like a string drawn very, very tight, ready to strike at any moment, and loosening to the point of completely freeing it is what is needed in order to reveal God’s Presence. And to this end we need the Torah of Mashiach.

From this article by R' Yitzchak Ginsburgh

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