Thursday, February 16, 2017

How Special We Are

Audio Version By Rabbi Sholem Perl
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The Haftora for parshas Yisro, is Yishayahu's vision of the spiritual realm, know in Chasidic and Kabbalistic teaching, as the world of Briya.

The connection to our parsha, is that our parsha speaks of the giving of The Ten Commandments, when the Jewish people experienced a similar vision and perhaps even greater.

Every name of Hashem has a different level of holiness and is connected to a different spiritual realm. The greater the name, the higher the realm.

In the Haftora, Yishayahu sees Hashem, here referred to with the name Adnai (Ado-nai), sitting on a throne, and the angels, called Serafim, are praising Hashem. Serafim are the angels of the world of Briya, and the name of Hashem they experience there, is Adnai (which is a lower name than the Tetragrammaton, that we don't pronounce, but say Adnai instead).

He sees the "Serafim standing above Him."  Meaning, that they are standing above the level of Adnai. If these angels are from the world of Briya, how can they be above Adnai, when that is the name they are privy to, shouldn't they be with Him?

These angels know, that there is a higher level of Hashem to be experienced and they yearn for that. Therefore they are above, as the Baal Shem Tov's says, "In the place where a person's will is, that is where he is." Since the Serafim want to be above, they are.

Although we are talking about angels, the Baal Shem Tov's teaching is about a person. A person's thoughts are very powerful, even when he is physically in one place, in his thoughts, he can be somewhere else, and just like the angels, he is really there.

We see this in Jewish law as well. On Shabbos, one may walk 2000 cubits (approximately 3000 feet) out of his city. If he wants to go further, he can make an eiruv techumim, in which he puts food at the 2000 cubit mark, making this spot his official residence. Now he can go another 2000 cubits from that point. Though he will physically spend Shabbos in his real home, in the city, nevertheless, since in his thoughts he is at his eiruv, he is considered there.

The implications of this idea are tremendous. First, our thoughts are real, and thinking about someone, affects that person. This is why I appreciate it so much, when people tell me that they are thinking of me. Just like when you look at water, you see your reflection. So to the thoughts and feelings you have for another are reflected back at you by him. So your positive thoughts make a difference.

To take it a step further. Every Jewish person, in his essence, wants to be with Hashem. Even if a Jew is totally lost from his faith, deep within the recesses of his soul, he wants to be with Hashem and do His will. This means, that a Jew is always with Hashem, and therefore you must never give up on him, no matter how far you think he is.

The Haftora continues. Yishayahu heard the angels call to one another to pray, and they said together, "Holy holy holy is the G-d of hosts, the whole Earth is full of His glory." This is a verse we say several times a day, in our prayers. What is the meaning of this verse to us? Why say holy three times? What is the meaning of the earth is full of His glory, shouldn't they say that the Heavens are full of His glory?

The Midrash tells us, that it is like a parable of countrymen who made their King three crowns. What did he do with them? He put one on his head, and the other two on his children's heads. So too, every day the Heavenly hosts put before Hashem three holys, saying, "Holy holy holy." What does He do with them? He puts one on his head and two on the Jewish people.

What does each holy represent? The are connected to the words in the Shema, "With all your heart, with all your soul and with all your means." The first one is on Hashem's head. It is the recognition, that there is something higher. It is connected to the heart, which yearns to reach and connect to higher levels of Hashem. The second and third are on our heads. It is our ability to draw G-dliness down and make the physical holy, through studying Torah and doing mitzvahs. The study of Torah is connected to the soul, being the spiritual part of our service to Hashem. The mitzvahs are connected to our means, being the physical part of our service to Hashem.

The angels recognize, that our Torah study and mitzvahs down here, are most important, and that it draws Hashem's glory into the physical. This is why they say, "The whole Earth is full of His glory."

on another level, since Hashem chose us from all of existence and gave us neshamos, which are a part of Him. Therefore, we one with Him, we are His representation in this world, we are His glory.

Now that we are aware of how special every Jew is, we can understand the continuation of the Haftora. Yishayahu realized, that he saw a very holy sight, and said, "Woe is to me! For I am lost, because I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a nation of unclean lips." He was later punished, for speaking disparagingly about the Jewish people. Because the leader of the Jewish people, should know the value of a Jew, and never speak badly of one, let alone the whole nation. This is written in the Tanach, as a lesson to us, not to speak badly of another Jew.

To make the point, Hashem sends him on a mission to the Jewish people. As if to say, "Even if they don't seem to be the way you think they should, never give up on them, because the value of every Jew is immeasurable."

This is why Hashem chose to take us out of Egypt, and gave us the Torah at Mount Sinai. Because we are that special.

It is because of this, that we are able to make such a big difference in the world, and accomplish the mission that we were chosen for, to fill the whole world with Hashem's glory. Which we will witness with the coming of Moshiach. May he come soon.

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