Tuesday, September 29, 2009

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Mixed Up

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

We keep getting mixed up in this world. A pure soul is taken from the world above and shoved, against it's will, into the physical world and a physical body. A body that has constant needs (air, water, food, warmth, protection) and wants (good food, nice clothing, nice home, etc). In the midst of this constant need and constant want, the pure soul years to connect, to reconnect, to reach towards Hashem. And all that physicality just gets in the way.

So the Torah gave us mitzvot, a way to elevate and connect to Hashem utilizing those needs and (some of) those wants in a holy way. But still, that pure soul has to strive from within a physical container, a container that has it's own life (the nefesh habahamious - the animal soul) and an intense desire to continue that life and serve...itself. If one reaches the level of a tzaddik, one may harness that intense desire somewhat as one harnesses a horse, and use it's strength to reach higher and farther.

But for the rest of us, even our mitzvot are often shaded by those physical desires. Are you buying a nice esrog (for the holiday of Succot) for the mitzvah, or for the status? Is your yom tov meal in honor of the yom tov, or because you really like a good meal? Lets be honest, even if it's properly for the former there's a touch of the latter involved as well. It's not a shock, "the tzaddikim are few in every generation". The rest of us are just trying our best (at least occasionally).

Fortunately as we strive towards mitzvot we gradually refine the physical container, at least a bit. It becomes more used to kedushah and a bit less sensitized to the grossed bits of physicality, which allows us to strive a bit more.

Most people think the descriptions above apply just to the individual. However, they also apply to communities and to organizations. Each is made up of individuals, striving to do mitzvot and also fulfilling the needs and (some of) the desires of the physical. Sometimes these drive organizations into negative paths, and parts of the community impacted by negative drives.

Even the best organizations and best communities have negative aspects. This is not an indictment, just something to be aware of. For like every Jew is filled with mitzvot but slips now and again (G-d protect us), those slips and negative desires impact at the community level as well.

Because it's a mixed up world. The reach for holiness have to be forced through the physical. And that leads to...some negative impact. We may not like it, but that's the way it's supposed to be.

...So we all have a chance to do even better, with Hashem's help, tomorrow.

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