Thursday, November 22, 2007

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Lower and Higher Fear

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

For some, the fact that my friend’s tefillin reflected his drastic heath situation, provoked fear. They worried, “Are tefillin and mezuzahs fatalistic? If they are not perfect, do they bring sickness?”

No, they are not fatalistic, nor do they of themselves bring sickness. They reflect our spiritual, and often even our physical lives. Tefillin and mezuzahs are guardians. They can keep spiritual and even physical diseases at bay. But when the guard falls asleep, (when they are blemished) the burglars can get in. But that they can do this; is this not scary? That a parchment can tell what is happening in our lives, or change our lives, isn’t this frightening? And, if I do not get them fixed, then what will happen?

No. They are not scary, not in the least. They are awesome; wonderfully, amazingly, awesome. For a timid seeker, seeing G-d’s reach indeed can be scary. But for those who love and seek His Presence, His reach is invited, yearned for.

There is lower level fear and there is higher level fear. Lower level fear does make you frightened. You are concerned as to what might come. It is scary, dread.

Higher level fear is awe, mind-blowing awe; the trip that takes you away, beyond concern, beyond mind, soaring into His great majesty. Let it roll! Bring it on. I love Your tremendous, never-ending power. And if it takes me off the planet, there is no better way to go!

Obviously, it is not our wish to leave the planet before our work is finished here, for if we did, we would have to come right back again to finish it. But if His glorious bliss is willing to sweep me away, I am eager to go. Remember what happened to Eliyahu the prophet?[i]

A frightened person can not say these things. He is holding on to his lower perspective, to all those things that emotionally tie him to this place. He is afraid of being swept away, of losing his possessions, and even greater, his identity. Of course, someday he will see all those things fall away. As he waits for his last breath, his concern will not be for the family he leaves behind, or for his wealth. It will be for his soul and where it is going to go.

That we have such wonderful mitzvahs as tefillin and mezuzahs that are living spiritual tools should be precious to each of us. They should be treated as they really are, as holy objects. Treat them with love and respect, and they will elevate your life.

[i] 2 Kings 3:11

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