Fuel Your Spiritual Light - נצבים

Friday, 23 September, 2022 - 1:43 pm

Fuel Your Spiritual Light 

The Tanya, the foundational book of Chabad philosophy, spends fifty three chapters explaining the statement in our Parsha that the Torah is “very close”, exceedingly  accessible to every person. Moses states: 

It is not in heaven, that you should say, "Who will go up to heaven for us and fetch it for us, to tell [it] to us, so that we can fulfill it?"

Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, "Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us and fetch it for us, to tell [it] to us, so that we can fulfill it?"

Rather, [this] thing is very close to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. (Deuteronomy 30:12-14)

Is it indeed the case that it is “very close” to serve G-d not only by taking the right action but also “in your heart”? Is it indeed easy and accessible for one to transform his heart from negative and destructive pleasures to the love of G-d? 

The Tanya explains that, for the overwhelming majority of people, the meaning of the verse is that we are able to develop enough control and inner motivation to to be in control of the most important aspect of our lives, the realm of action. The verse “in your heart, so that you can do it”, means that it is “very close” to generate enough emotional motivation to take control of our actions. 

But why is action primary? Is it only because we live in a physical world and therefore abstract spirituality is less important than tangible action? The Tanya explains that, perhaps counterintuitively, the most profound connection to G-d occurs only through action. 

The Zohar states that every human being is called upon to bring Divine light into the world. The Divine presence is the flame, the human body is the wick and the oil that allows the fire to exist is good deeds. Neither the soul nor its emotions can be the fuel for the Divine light. In order for a substance to become fuel it must become absorbed within the fire to the point that it loses its own existence. The soul can never reach that level of unity with the Divine. Only the energy we expend in doing a good deed dissipates and fuels the Divine flame, allowing us to become the luminaries bringing G-d to ourselves and to the world around us.

In the words of the Tanya:   

the soul of a person—even if he be a perfect tzaddik serving G‑d with fear and love of delights—does not, nevertheless, completely dissolve itself out of existence, so as to be truly nullified and absorbed into the light of G‑d to the extent of becoming one and the same absolutely, but the person remains an entity apart, one who fears G‑d and loves Him.

{By contrast}, the very energy of the body itself which is engaged in this action is absorbed in the Divine light and in His will, and is united with Him in a perfect union… thereby also the energy of the vital spirit in the physical body, originating in the kelipat nogah, is transformed from evil to good, and is actually absorbed into holiness like the divine soul itself. (Tanya Chapter 35)


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