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Constant Awareness - תצוה

Thursday, 10 February, 2022 - 8:20 pm

Constant Awareness 

Is love constant or fleeting, stable or fragile? 

In our relationship with other people and our relationship with G-d, love is like a flame of fire that surges and retreats. A relationship, therefore, requires not only love but also devotion, not only desire but also willpower. 

This is the inner meaning of the "tzitz", show-plate, which the high priest wore on his forehead. As the Torah describes:   

And you shall make a show-plate of pure gold, and you shall engrave upon it like the engraving of a seal: Holy to the Lord."

And you shall place it upon a cord of blue wool and it shall go over the cap, and it shall be opposite the front side of the cap.

​​It shall be upon Aaron's forehead, and Aaron shall bear the iniquity of the holy things that the children of Israel sanctify, for all their holy gifts. It shall be upon his forehead constantly to make them favorable before the Lord. (28:36-38)

Like every aspect of the Temple, each of the high priest's garments represents a lesson in our Divine service. The tzitz represents our awareness of the presence of G-d. Every moment of the day, and every experience we engage in, is an opportunity to fulfill our Divine service, imbuing the world with holiness.

The Kabbalah explains that there are two levels of awareness. The first level of awareness is achieved through the cognition of the brain, when one meditates in prayer about the greatness of G-d. This cognition gives birth to the emotion of love within the heart. Yet, the love produced by intellectual contemplation can cease when the mind focuses on other matters throughout the day. Thus, the awareness of the understanding and the love it produces will not be "constant" throughout the day. 

The second level of awareness is the power of will that emerges from a deeper place within the soul. Even when one does not feel love, one can awaken the will to be devoted to a beloved. The will is represented by the forehead, which covers the brain and the mind, and represents the devotion, the will to connect, that is present even when the love is not felt.  

"It shall be upon his forehead constantly." The commitment that emerges from the will enables the person to be connected to G-d throughout the day, even when the love is not felt as passionately as it is felt during meditation and prayer.

Adapted from Torah Ohr Parshas Tizaveh 


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