Sunday, September 07, 2008

Bringing the Redemption: like horses pulling the wagon

“Deed is the essential thing.” Shabbos Mevorchim Elul, from which blessings flow for the entire month, is the appropriate time to resolve to increase in all aspects alluded to in the word “Elul” — the three areas of Torah, prayer, and good deeds, preceded by the service of teshuvah. In addition, there must also be the aspect of redemption — at the beginning of service a Jew must know that the ultimate in service is the redemption. This provides added impetus to his service, knowing that he can immediately bring the redemption.

Even if a Jew should not feel that his service can bring the redemption, the following parable will clarify it:

A wagon is traveling, and seated within are sages discussing an intellectual matter. Although the wagon-driver thinks of the fee he will receive, and therefore urges on the horses; and the horses think of the fodder they will receive and therefore gallop — the thoughts of the horse (and the wagon-driver) do not in the slightest change the intellectual matter being discussed by the sages (although the sages need the wagon-driver and horses to reach their destination)!

So too in our case: Every person has a “G-dly soul,” an “animal soul,” and an “intellect-soul” which is the intermediary between the two. The sages in the wagon are the G-dly soul; the horses are the animal soul; and the wagon-driver is the intellect-soul, who connects the G-dly and animal souls (just as the wagon-driver is the intermediary to urge on the horses to reach the sages’ destination). Just as the thoughts of the horses do not taint the sages’ discussion, so too the thoughts of the animal soul about physical matters do not taint the service of the G-dly soul. Therefore, although a person may not feel that his service brings the redemption, it does not make the truth, and knowledge of the truth by the G-dly soul, any the less. And since Jews are “believers, sons of believers,” eventually they will understand and comprehend the true situation.

In greater clarification: Not only does the animal soul not cause any damage to the G-dly soul’s service, but the reverse: Through the synthesis of the service of the animal soul with that of the G-dly, the latter’s service is elevated (just as the Sages reach their destination only through the horses). When the G-dly soul causes the animal soul to also love G-d, the former’s love experiences a lofty elevation. The animal soul has a natural strength and energy the G-dly soul does not; and when the G-dly soul causes it to love G-d with this natural strength, the G-dly soul can then reach a level that the animal soul has absolutely no association with. (just as the sages discuss intellectual matters after the horses have brought them to their destination.)

A further point: The animal soul thinks of worldly matters (just as the horses of fodder) because so G-d created the world. Hence the inner purpose in this itself is the elevation that will follow — just as the same reason the horses gallop is the desire of the sages to reach their destination — and therefore the wagon-driver urges on the horses (but since horses aren’t capable of appreciating the sages’ desire, they run only because of the fodder). The previous Rebbe explains that when the body is hungry for food or thirsty for drink, the true, inner reason is because of the hunger the soul has for the G-dly spark found in the food. But since the body and animal soul are not capable (as yet) of appreciating this, it is expressed in physical hunger.

Hence a Jew must not be despondent that he has to deal with the animal soul and the world, for the opposite is true: The ultimate goal is to gain the advantages that accrues specifically from working with the world, and to refine and elevate the animal soul and the world. Therefore, even a Jew who is capable of deep study of Torah must still perform actual physical mitzvos — such as taking a coin and giving it to tzedakah.

Sicha of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Shabbos Re'eh, 5742

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Anonymous arnie draiman said...

very nice words. for tzedakah ideas, check out:

very creative.

arnie draiman

Sun Sep 14, 11:24:00 AM EDT  

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