Tuesday, July 26, 2005

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Mitzvot - Your Part

From the book HaYom Yom, from Day to Day, a daily dose of hassidic and moral teachings every day, by the 6th grand rabbi of Lubavitch hassidus, from the entry for the 5th and 6st of the Hebrew month of Tamuz...

One of the first grand rabbi (rebbe) of Lubavitch hassidus's great and very close Chassidim had Yechidus, in the course of which the Rebbe inquired after his situation.

The Hassid complained bitterly that his financial situation had utterly deteriorated. The Rebbe responded:

"You are needed to illuminate your environment with Torah and Avoda of the heart - (davening - praying).

Livelihood and what you need - that, G-d must provide for you.

You do what you must, and G-d will do what He must."

This is a common theme discussed in hassidus. You do your part, which means building a vessel to receive blessings, and G-d will do his part, providing the blessings, and you will be able to receive them.

(The effect of) each particular mitzva-act is called forth by (doing) those (other) mitzva-acts which are Makif - general and all-encompassing in nature.

The mitzva of Tzedaka (charity), for example, is one of those all - encompassing - makif Mitzvot, as evident from the reference to all mitzvot by the term "Tzedaka."

For this reason it is most appropriate to give a coin to Tzedaka before performing any Mitzva. This has the effect of bringing the general Makif-aura into the P'nimi, the "inner aspect," (the particular Mitzva).

Nonetheless, this type of Makif is a "close aura," whereas the Makif of Torah is a "distant aura," whose effect is superior.

A mitzva, commonly translated as commandment, is not just us doing what G-d has said in His holy Torah. For this would make us no different from children following their parents instruction. Rather, we are taught, the mitzvot were specifically given to provide us the ability to build a connection, through the physical, with G-d, and direct our lives along the path that He desires. Thus, it extends us to connecting and building a relationship with G-d, exactly through the physical materials and actions of this mundane world (thereby extending the physical itself to holiness).

In the lesson above we see that we can further enhance our mitzvot by tying together general encompassing mitzvot with specific ones. For example, giving charity before prayer, or Torah study of a mitzva followed by it's performance. These enhancements increase the value of our mitzvot and increase our connection to G-d.

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