by Reb Gutman Locks @ The Mystical Software Development Center
Someone just wrote me this question about the Revelation. I answered, “The Revelation comes when seeing G-d’s Presence is truly our greatest priority, and we greatly exert ourselves to help another Jew.”
He wrote back, “Is altruism so essential that it leads to knowing Hashem?”
The egotistical person is worshiping an idol--himself. We learn this at Pesach (Passover) when we stress that ego is like gas. When gas is added to dough, it causes the dough to rise and to take on a bloated shape. This is not simply a moral condemnation. It is a physical and spiritual fact that exaggerated ego is simply bloated gas. This gas prevents us from seeing the Overall One, because it has us looking at our inflated selves. When we are looking at ourselves, obviously, we cannot see Him.
When one stresses his own self-importance, he is pushing away any possibility of the spiritual awareness of G-d. After all, if G-d is the “I AM,” then who is this man who is saying, “I Am”?
When we go out of our way, and even push ourselves, to help others, (especially Jews, because we are Jews), and especially spiritually, (because it is the spiritual result that we are seeking), we are denying the importance of the ego. When the other person is in the limelight, we focus on him. And if we try to help him, with no motive for anything in return, we are denying the ego its central place in our desires, and we elevate the other person.
When we do this, we begin to do G-d’s work in the lower world, and when we “help” G-d, G-d helps us. The spiritual door opens only from the inside. Our deeds place us in front of that door, but it unlocks from the Higher to the lower.[i]
But, even with all this effort, if we do not seek His Presence with all our heart, He will reward our kindnesses in other ways. He will send us other blessings, instead.
There is only one way that you can possibly test these words of mine. Go out of your way every day to at least to look for a Jew you can help. Prepare yourself; learn how you can elevate that Jew. You may find yourself carrying your tefillin with you, or a Shabbos candle kit. You might find yourself printing up cards with the Shema on them, to hand out to Jews you never saw before.
See what changes this brings to your life. I bet that you will have many more guests for dinner Friday night. I also bet that you will smile a lot more, too.
[i] Gemara Tamid 30b