15 February 2008

Shabbat Shalom!

More thoughts in keeping with the theme of the previous two posts...
Excerpt from Rav Pinchas Winston's commentary on Parashat Tetzaveh:

...There is a lot of curiosity about Kabbalah today, what it is and what it can do to empower a person. However, the real point of Kabbalah is to provide a Jew with a glimpse of the hidden world of Creation, the inner mechanism that makes it all work, in order to better equip a person that he take responsibility for his actions, and to recognize the signs early on before things don’t go the way they ought to go. It is the true blueprint for Creation so we can see why and what can go wrong.

Armed with such knowledge, one’s vision of reality is different. It’s almost like putting on special glasses that provide x-ray vision. As a result, a person is able to get a glimpse of the hidden world of Amalek, and see what he is up to even before he brings his war to the actual battlefield. This is what gave Mordechai his ability to see what Haman was before he came into power, and the foreknowledge with how to deal with him, avoid Haman's plans to destroy him, and eventually do away with Haman himself.

This is because we are living in Amalek’s world only on the level of Pshat. Therefore, by ascending the mountain, Moshe Rabbeinu rose above the reality of Amalek, and worked to elevate the Jewish people. By holding his arms upward, the Jewish people were only victorious when their vision of reality became elevated to a higher spiritual plane, neutralizing the power of Amalek.

In this way, both Chanukah and Purim represent the same idea: victory over the enemy comes not from without, but from within. For, the process of going from Pshat to Remez, and then to Drush, and finally to Sod is the same as going from Nefesh to Ruach, and then to Neshamah, and finally to Chiyah. The deeper one penetrates Torah, the higher the level of soul they access until they become so spiritual, they move themselves out of the reach of Amalek completely.