by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths
Early in the morning, a man came up to me at the Kotel and politely asked if we could talk for a minute. In truth, it was my usual time for learning which I do not like to interrupt, but he asked so nicely, and he said it would only be for a minute, so I agreed.
He wanted advice for his spiritual service. I summed up his appearance and felt that he needed to better understand what a mitzvah does to the person who is doing it.
I asked him what would happen to an object, or person, if G-d would come right now and announce that the object or person was holy.
He mildly said that it would become holy.
I wanted more. "What do you mean that it would become holy? What happened to it? How would we treat it differently if we knew that it was now holy?"
Again, he mildly stated that we would respect it and treat it with love and honor. But, he was not really getting the idea of what it means when G-d makes something holy.
I asked him what blessing he says when he does a mitzvah. He said the words in Hebrew. Typical blessings begin with the words, "Blessed are You Oh L-rd our G-d ….Who has sanctified us with His commandments and…." When he got to the words, "Who has sanctified us," I made him stop and explain what those words actually mean. Finally, I got him to realize, if only to a small extent, just what is happening when we fulfill G-d's wish, and do a mitzvah.
"Those words say that G-d is making us holy when we do a mitzvah," I told him. He began to understand a little. I told him that his homework assignment was to understand these words. He was to stop and think about the meaning of those words when he says the blessings, and he was to try to understand that G-d Almighty is actually making him holy when he does a mitzvah.
I then excused myself and went back to learning. I had been leaning the Chumash (Five Books of Moses) when he came up to me, and I still held my finger on the place where I had left off. I returned to that spot and started reading the next line aloud. "You shall be holy because I am holy"!
We both laughed out loud. "Look at that," I said. "This is an obvious sign that you need to better understand how you become holy when you do a mitzvah. Why else, of all the things that we could have spoken about, did we talk about holiness?"
I will ask him next time, if he took those words to heart. It was no accident that we discussed becoming holy when you do a mitzvah.
BS"D - בסיעתא דשמיא