Tuesday, October 07, 2008

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Enter His Gates

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving, His courtyards with praise, give thanks to Him, bless His Name ….”[i] These are not just instructions for how to behave when we enter His gates and courtyards. They are instructions for what to do in order to be able to enter His gates and courtyards. They are also descriptions of what happens to us when we enter.

When the Temple stood, we would come to Jerusalem for Pesach, Shavuot and Succot. We would come to be in the place where Hashem caused His Name to dwell. This means that we were to fulfill the mitzvahs of the day, and then, according to our merit, we would enjoy a certain degree of the radiance of His revealed Presence.

First, we would pass through the outer gates. Then we would come to the courtyards. This psalm tells us that in order to do this today, we begin by thanking G-d for all the good that He does for us. Thank Him again and again. Not just by saying the words, “Thank you,” but by bringing to mind all the good that G-d does for us. How many wonderful things can we list that G-d has given us? Our health, our family, our livelihood, the opportunity to find Him, and so on. When our minds are filled with genuine appreciation for G-d’s ongoing gifts, we are moving through the outer gates of His Temple.

Why are we to give thanks? Does G-d really need or want to hear us say, “Thank You”? We recall all of the good that He does for us and thank Him for these things in order to experience genuine appreciation. First, we merely say, “Thank You,” then when we think about how precious these gifts really are, we feel great appreciation. When we feel true appreciation, we are in a wonderful, but still early, stage in the elevation of our spiritual awareness.

Once we feel sincere appreciation, we can move higher by blessing His Name. How can we possibly bless G-d’s Name? G-d is the source of all blessings. He is the One Who blesses, so how can we bless Him? The word bless means to praise, adore, worship.

When we fill our minds with these wonderful thoughts, we move to the loftier place of blessings. When we bless and praise Him, we experience those blessings and praises. These holy thoughts do not simply go out to the Holy One. They reverberate in our minds and souls, and we actually feel them. Now we have moved into His inner courtyards.

Thanksgiving comes when we recall His deeds. Worshiping comes when we consider His nature.

Enter His outer gates with thanksgiving and His inner courtyard with praise. This is both the roadmap and the journey.

[i] Psalms 100:4

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