Thursday, February 08, 2007

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Go Down

by Reb Gutman Locks of the Old City, Jerusalem, Israel at Mystical Paths

In this week’s portion of the Torah, just before God gives the Ten Sayings He tells Moshe, “Go, descend . . . then you shall ascend, . . ..“ [i]

As usual, the Torah is speaking of both a one-time historical moment and of the overall spiritual moment that affects each of us every day. The historical moment is what physically happened back then - Moshe was to go down the mountain and then later he would ascend it.

From the spiritual perspective, this teaches us one of life’s greatest overall lessons. “Go down so you will come up” is the entire summation of the soul’s journey on earth. Moshe was high up on the mountain at the very place where God would soon reveal Himself to the entire Jewish nation, yet God said to him, “Go down so you can come up.” But he was already up there, so why should he go down to come back up?

The soul is in its highest place before it descends into the human body. Then, when it goes down into the body, it will be in a very low place. But this descent is for the soul’s ultimate benefit. At first glance, this does not seem to make sense. Why not leave it up there, where it was already high? But no, we learn that by coming down it will go up even higher than it was.

Use a shekel as an example. In your hand it is worth a shekel. Now you decide to give the coin to a poor person. As you are handing it over, the coin is held above the poor person’s hand. It is higher. When you release the coin, it falls down into his hand. Now it is lower; it went down.

But since you used this coin for the mitzvah of tzedaka (charity), its value is greatly enhanced. Before you gave it, it was worth only a shekel, but now its value is greater than gold. That coin went down into that very poor man’s hand for his personal use. He received the physical coin, but now that coin is in your spiritual bank account forever. Long after you leave this world, that coin will still be shining its light on you. We see that its value increased tremendously by having gone down.

This is the opportunity for the soul. The soul is an actual portion of God Himself on High. But after it comes down into this very low world and makes the correct choices, it will go up and be even higher than when it began.

[i] Ex 19:24

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