Tuesday, June 12, 2007

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The Animal Within - Part 2

by Akiva at Mystical Paths

A Simple Jew asked...

Kesser Shem Tov 1:64 states, "The Baal Shem Tov said in the name of Rav Saadiah Gaon: A person should learn a lesson from his desires for physical pleasures how he should desire to serve Hashem and love Him." Reflecting on this teaching, what lesson would you imagine that your strongest taiva (desire) could teach you about how to better serve Hashem?

In considering this question at length, I came to understand it differently. Ta'avot are desires. Those from the animal soul are desires for the gross physical, for the pleasures of this world. How can we greatly desire Hashem as much as we desire pleasures. Is it the want of wonderful food, the sublime pleasure of winning, what are our desires, and can we learn from them to desire Hashem in such a way?

For me, in considering this, I will try to learn from my desire for seder, for order. I desire things to be orderly, and find disorder unpleasant. From a desire like this, I can learn to strive to order in my relationship with Hashem. To make a point of using my desire for order to enforce order on my learning, my Torah and mitzvot. Not to let my schedule for Hashem to become random, but to make sure I'm committing to my full schedule every day. And as much as I desire order in my children's rooms, I should desire it in my Torah and mitzvot.

And thereby, learn from my desire.

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