09 July 2018

Making and Keeping a Connection to HKB"H

26 Tamuz 5778

We are told that to survive these turbulent pre-messianic times, we need more than ever to remain connected to HKB"H. But, that seems easier said than done. Tachlis, how do we connect to HKB"H anyway? Our tendency is to think it requires some kind of spiritual gymnastics, but the answer might surprise you.

The following comes from the book Immortality, Resurrection and the Age of the Universe: A Kabbalistic View by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, ztz"l...
...The Talmud provides a profound reason for the resurrection. At the end of time, man will be judged as a complete person, a full human being with both body and soul. A disembodied soul may be capable of a lofty perception of the Divine, but it is not a full human being. Any judgment or reward given to such a soul could never be complete.
Many people find this difficult to understand. Since man's reward is ultimately spiritual, what need will there be for a material body? Why should the world-to-come have a material dimension?
In order to understand this, we must introduce a related question: Why did God create the physical world at all?
This is not so trivial a question as it may seem. God Himself is certainly spiritual, and so is the good that He offers to His world. It is obvious that the purpose of creation is essentially spiritual. If so, then why did God create the physical world?
This point is discussed at length in our classical literature. In order to answer it, however, we must first introduce still another question: What precisely is the difference between the physical and the material?
The answer is really quite simple. The main difference between the spiritual and the physical involves the concept of space. Physical space exists only in the physical world. In the spiritual domain, there is no concept of space as we know it.
But, still, we speak of being far apart or close in the spiritual world. Our sages teach us that spiritual closeness involves resemblance. Two things that resemble each other are spiritually close, while two that differ are far apart.
This has very important implications. In the spiritual world it is impossible to bring opposites together. Because they are opposites, they are, by definition, poles apart.
Spiritual things, however, may still be bound to the material, much as the soul is bound to the body. If two spiritual opposites are bound to the same material object, they can be brought together, for in the physical world we can literally push two opposites together.
Thus, for example, man has both an urge for good and an urge for evil, the yetzer ha-tov and the yetzer ha-ra. In a purely spiritual sense, the two are poles apart, and without the material could never be brought together in a single entity. Angels, for instance, have no evil urge. It is only in a physical body that good and evil can be brought together.
Although they are at opposite poles spiritually, they come together in the physical man.
God and man are also worlds apart - "as the heavens are higher than the earth." This is even true of man's soul. On a purely spiritual plane, it would be totally impossible for the two to be brought together. All the meditating and philosophizing in the world would be unable to bridge this gap.
It is only here in the physical world that God and man can come together. This is why God created the concept of mitzvot, or commandments. The physical act involved in a mitzvah is intimately bound to God's will, for it is His will that we do a particular physical act. In observing a mitzvah we are literally binding ourselves to God, as is shown by the fact that the word's root means "to bind." Every mitzvah serves to bind us to God.
This, however, can only take place on the physical plane. It is only when both God and man are bound to the same physical act that they can be bound together. On the spiritual plane, there is no way for this to occur.
It was for this reason, essentially, that God created a physical world.
Now, we can understand why there is no such thing as silent prayer in Judaism, as even the "Silent" Amida must be spoken at a whisper that we ourselves can hear. Every 'spiritual' act must have a physical component to be effective in binding us to God.

Furthermore, one who is not commanded, or is commanded, but does not act out of obedience to the commandment, also does not make the connection. In both cases, while it has the physical act, it lacks the spiritual component of God's will.

Lots to think about.


  1. Excellent. Torah and mitzvot. The medicine for what ails us.

  2. I have read most of R Kaplan's books many times. He is a genius. I recently( last week met his son). Everything R. Kaplan says is pure emet.

  3. Rabbi Kaplan, ztl, was a genius and a great Kabbalist. Someone very unique for these times. He was too young, but his teachings were probably his main mission. That he lived in this modern era was a blessing for us. May he and all the other greats be meilitzim yosher for klal Yisrael in these momentous times.