From Afar God Appears to Me « Wonders from Your Torah
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I would like to be a true tzadik (consummately righteous), physician but I'm not. Is it because I don't want enough, or is there some other reason?

Not all of us were created with the potential to become a consummate tzadik, only a select few. The more I want and the more I try, the closer I come (or so it seems), but most likely I will never reach my goal. All my finite steps will never take me to infinity.

I must learn to realize that my Creator desires and derives infinite pleasure as it were from my earnest attempts to become consummately good, although at the end of the day my attempts may appear to have been futile.

Some souls make it to the end in this world, but most don't, no matter how hard they try. Each soul-type provides God with the pleasure of having created the world just as it is (i.e., not having created a perfect world). God has planted the evil inclination in our hearts, for a reason known only to Him, and it is virtually impossible to uproot it from our subconscious. The few that do in fact succeed are specially gifted from birth.

The sages teach that there are two levels of tzadik, the complete (consummate) ones and the incomplete ones, those who have not completely uprooted evil from their subconscious. A complete tzadik is called "a tzadik that good is to him," whereas an incomplete tzadik is called "a tzadik that bad is to him."

The phrase "good/bad is to him" has several interpretations. One is that he experiences good/bad in his life, in what befalls him. A second interpretation is that he has only good or still some bad in his subconscious, the interpretation described above.

But there is a third interpretation: One tzadik feels good about being a tzadik. He is happy and grateful to God for being a tzadik.

But another tzadik feels bad about being a tzadik! He doesn't regret the fact that he is a tzadik, but still he feels bad about it. Why? Because all of his brethren and friends, all of us, are still so far away from his level. He suffers from existential loneliness, and never ceases to pray to God that all reach his level, and more.
In one verse King David says: "I place God before me always" ("????? ???' ????? ????"). But in another he says: "My sin is before me always" ("?????? ???? ????"). How do they go together?

First, let us note that the combined gematria of "God" (???', 26), and "my sin" (?????, 428) = "always" (????, 454), the concluding word of both phrases, of both states of consciousness. The word "always" is what creates the apparent mutual exclusion of the two phrases. How can one always place in the fore of his consciousness the Presence of God and simultaneously see his sin staring him in the face?

The answer lies in the way we just phrased the question.

I look at God, I look for Him in everything I see. But all the while my sin is also there in the background, staring at me and reminding me of my existential lowliness, my distance from God.

What does it mean to see God against the background of my sin, which is never ready to take its eyes off me?

Would it not be for the consciousness of my sin staring me in the face I would not experience God's infinite compassion towards me. Although I am far from Him He is so close to me, loving me and being compassionate no matter what.

In Kabbalah, this dual, paradoxical experience of closeness to God in virtue of His infinite compassion, together with a sense of existential lowliness and distance from Him, is called a "unification," - the unification of mercy and lowliness, the unification of the Holy One blessed be He and the collective soul of Israel (the Congregation of Israel).

God created the world the way He did for the sake of our achieving this unification in our consciousness.

Jeremiah expresses this unification in four words: "From afar God appears to me" ("????? ???' ???? ??"). "From afar" corresponds to "My sin is before me always"; "God appears to me" corresponds to "I place God before me always."

The gematria of the four words "From afar God appears to me", 676 = 26 squared (the average value of the four words = 13 squared), i.e. "God", Havayah, squared - a perfect manifestation of God in reality.

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