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The "Jewish Spirituality" mailing list is an outgrowth of several conversations in which people told me that they felt "alone" in their quest to develop their relationship with Gd. I knew they weren't alone, just from my own interactions with other people, and so I extended an invitation to the Jewish community of Rhode Island to join in a weekly mailing list exploring issues within their relationship with HaShem.
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Jewish Spirituality - Volume 15
Re: Volume 14
Topic: Re: Volume 14
By: Elaine Saklad
At 09:28 AM 6/16/00 -0400, you wrote:
>It's OK to be Dissatisfied
> From "Mesilas Yesharim"
I had a lot of trouble with this excerpt from Mesilas Yesharim. I've spent
some time trying to figure out exactly what made me uncomfortable, and I'm
having a hard time putting it into words. I know that I'm missing
something in my understanding, and that's what's causing my
discomfort. But here goes, with what I have so far:
It was pretty negative, to say the least, with regard to this world. He
seems to say that as far as the soul is concerned, this world is
meaningless, except in the sense of achieving for the next world. But what
about the accomplishments of the soul here? Doesn't that bring the soul
By: Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz
This comes from Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz's book, "Sichos Mussar," Maamar 16. The translation, and any errors in it, are my own:
It is written, 'And he [the Kohen Gadol] shall not come to the Holy Room at any time...and he will not die, for I will be seen in a cloud on the Kapporet [cover of the Ark].'
Rashi explained, "For my Shechinah is revealed there, and so he should be careful not to accustom himself to come."
There is a verse in Yechezkel, "When the nation came before Gd at the appointed times, people who came via the northern gate to prostrate themselves departed via the southern gate. People who came from the southern gate departed via the northern gate. They would not return back through the gate they entered, for they would depart opposite it."
The Chasid Yaavetz wrote (in his commentary to Avos 1:4), regarding this verse from Yechezkel, "For the blessed Gd was concerned that a visitor should not see the same gate twice, lest it become equal, in his mind, to the gate of his house, and lest the walls of the Temple become equal to his walls..."
Familiarity is the great enemy of every feeling of holiness and elevation. When a man stands facing the most elevated and lofty state, and sparks of holy fire are ignited in his spirit, familiarity steals into him and extinguishes the holy embers, one after another, until the fire is wholly crushed.
Who among us is greater than Aharon, the Kohen, the sanctified one of Gd? Before he could enter the innermost area he had to separate a "separation of sanctity" for seven days. Still he was warned, on penalty of the fullest severity of the law, "he shall not come to the Holy Room at any time," "For my Shechinah is revealed there, and so he should be careful not to accustom himself to come."
Even natural feelings, like friendship, are crushed and annulled by familiarity. Beyond this, disgust replaces that friendship, and the object of that friendship becomes ugly to him, and his soul is disgusted by it. This is the danger of familarity.
This is the essential work of a person - to renew his feelings from time to time, to guard his heart lest it be cooled in its service of Gd, and to keep his awe of Gd from becoming, "The much-studied law of Man."
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