Friday, February 18, 2005

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Avoda - Labor

The book HaYom Yom, from Day to Day, continues to be a daily source of deep insights...the entry for Thursday, 1 Adar I, 5765 - February 10, 2005

It is written: "Man goes out to his work and to his labor (Avoda) until evening." [Tehillim / Psalms Tehillim 104:23]

Every soul in its descent into this material world has general and personal tasks. This, then, is the meaning of the verse:

  • Man goes out to his work - the soul "goes out" from its position in the trove of souls, in the highest heavens, and descends from plane to plane until it comes to be invested in a body and in the natural and animal souls.


  • The purpose of this descent is "man to his work" - to his general task of achieving dominance of "form over matter" (meaning, the spiritual over the material), to illuminate the world with the light of Torah and the candle of Mitzva.


  • "...to his labor refers to each individual's particular mission, for every soul has its unique Avoda (labor) in intellect and emotions according to its nature and character.


  • "...until evening - while there is still time to accomplish, as it is written, "Today, to perform them (the mitzvot)."


  • On a more profound level the verse may be explained as follows:

    The verse refers to the ascent of the soul in general, achieved by its prior descent (Man goes out) into the material world:

    When the soul ascends from its being enclothed in the body in this material world, then...

    ...to his work - the soul's occupation in the World To Come is commensurate with its occupation in the material world.

    If he had studied Torah regularly, there too (in the World To Come) the soul is ushered into the "Tents of Torah";

    ...to his labor - if he performed his Avoda properly then his ascent goes on...

    ...until erev ("evening") - higher and higher until he attains the ultimate delight and Areivut ("sweetness") of the Essence of the En Sof (The Infinite), may He be blessed.

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