Uncomfortable Day 1: Start At The Beginning
This video is part of the series Uncomfortable
Transcript, references and audio version available below Yehoshua’s Reaction.
Making my way through this world and maintaining a personal connection with Hashem has been a struggle for as long as I can remember. There are so many distractions, its almost too loud that we can’t hear ourselves think. I remember being a teenager, struggling with dedication and devotion to basic Mitzvos. Its so hard to connect, its too complicated to see through the world of Olam Hazeh. Even putting on Tefillin and Keeping Shabbos I performed on a very shallow level almost doubting the point of it all. It’s such a vast world we live in and we feel lost in the shuffle. Mitzvos at face value are not necessarily always fun and especially if we struggle with the meaning it becomes almost pointless.
I began to tap into the meaning of a world behind our world, a world of Bitachon and Emunah and the struggles to live a life that is bound with Hashem’s will doesn’t get any easier. It just gets more rewarding and fulfilling. We as human beings look at our needs like a weakness but Hakadosh Baruch Hu’s needs are an absolute virtue.
When R’ Manis dropped that concept of Hashem needing our Mitzvos; my first reaction was absolutely not… Are you kidding me? The Almighty G-d needs my Mitzvah? preposterous! He is so much greater than that!
But then it began to sink in… Wait a minute, suddenly certain questions make sense, why do we have to get up and put on Tefillin? Why do we work with undying efforts to bring Shabbos into our homes?
If Hashem has been keeping Shabbos since the world was created and it took until Mattan Torah for us to be worthy of keeping it as well then it’s His treasure, by us uplifting it and beautifying it, does it make Hashem’s existence more special? So when I kept that Shabbos 5 years ago and I felt like there was no point to it, could I have not been more wrong? Did Hashem need that from me? If A million Jews kept Shabbos that week, but one precious soul didn’t does that mean that therefore Hashem’s Shabbos wasn’t complete?
Now stop and think about it, if every Mitzvah you are going to do for the sake of our creator fulfills His needs as a G-d. How special is that? How much more meaningful is that?
But this goes against everything I was ever raised to believe in this world. We do Mitzvos = get Schar. We do Aveiros = it is a sin. This is a whole deeper level than anything I’ve ever thought about. It can potentially change how I view my relationship with Hashem. It can make my life so much more meaningful. This is one thought I’m chewing over and over.
Note: Please be advised that these reactions are unedited.
Transcript & References
“בראשית”…בשביל התורה שנקראת ראשית דרכו ובשביל ישראל שנקראו ראשית תבואתו.”
“‘Beraishis’…The entire purpose for Creation is for the Torah and the Jewish people.”
-Chumash Beraishis 1:1, Rashi and Ramban.
“אני [לא] נבראתי [אלא] לשמש את קוני.”
“The entire purpose of my creation is only to serve my Creator.”
-Talmud Bavli. Tractate Kiddushin, 82b.
If you start off with, “This is my life, I’m here, I want to make the most out of my life, and I decide that the most you can make out of life is to do Mitzvos and serve the Aybershter”, so then when you’re doing a Mitzvah, you’re doing Him a favor. And He owes you, because you gave up part of your life for Him.
But if you start at the beginning, “It’s not my life”, so then when you’re doing a Mitzvah it’s your Zchus.
“מגיד דבריו ליעקב חוקיו ומשפטיו לישראל…מה שהוא עושה אומר לישראל לעשות.”
“He tells His words [Torah] to Jacob, His statutes and His ordinances to Israel.”
“What He does, is what He tells Israel to do.”
-Midrash Raboh. Shemos, Parsha 30:9.
“אמר הקב”ה למשה מתנה טובה יש לי בבית גנזי ושבת שמה ואני מבקש ליתנה לישראל.”
“The Holy One, Blessed be He, told Moshe: “I have a wonderful present in my Treasure House and its name is Shabbos. I wish to give it to the Jewish people.”
-Talmud Bavli. Tractate Shabbos, 10b.
First, there’s a Mitzvah. A Mitzvah means, for example, like Shabbos: “Ki Sheshes Yomim Osa Hashem Es Hashomayim Vi’es Ha’retez U’vayom Hashvivi Shovas Vayinofash.” (For [in] six days the Lord made the heaven and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day.) It’s His Shabbos. Now, at Matan Torah, He gave us the Mitzvah of keeping Shabbos. So first there’s Shabbos, then, we’re given the Mitzvah of Shabbos.
So how important is Shabbos to Him? Infinitely! He doesn’t mess around, when He wants something it’s all the way…So Shabbos is His Shabbos, “Es Shabbsosai Tishmoru”, Keep My Shabbos. Shabbos is holy to Him, Shabbos is important to Him, He needs Shabbos! And He keeps Shabbos, the questions is, why does He give us Shabbos?
“עשה מצוה אחת הרי הכריע את עצמו ואת כל העולם לכף זכות וגרם לו ולהם תשועה והצלה. שנאמר וצדיק יסוד עולם זה שצדק הכריע את כל העולם לזכות והצילו.”
“If one performs one mitzvah, he tips his balance and that of the entire world to the side of merit and brings deliverance and salvation to himself and others. This is implied by [Proverbs 10:25] “A righteous man is the foundation of the world,” i.e., he who acted righteously, tipped the balance of the entire world to merit and saved it.
-Rambam. Mishneh Torah. Laws of Teshuva 3:4.
Obviously, He’s giving us Shabbos, not Malachim – He doesn’t ask a Malach to keep Shabbos, He asks us to keep Shabbos – because when we keep Shabbos, it’s meaningful, it changes the world, and it changes us. So obviously, the Mitzvah was given to have an effect on the world.
But what is a mitzvah to begin with? Or to put in different words, the Aybershter gives us the Mitzvah to make the world better, but how does a Mitzvah make the world better?
“רמ”ח מצות עשה הן רמ”ח איברים דמלכא.”
“The 248 Positive Mitzvos are the 248 Limbs of Hashem.”
-Tikunei Zohar. Tikun 30. (74d).
“אנכי נוטריקון אנא נפשי כתבית יהבית.”
“‘Anochi’ is a Roshei Teivos, its 4 Letters stand for the 4 words ‘Ano Nafshi Ksovis Yehovis’ – I am giving you My soul in writing.”
-Talmud Bavli. Tractate Shabbos, 105a.
In other words, if Shabbos, or any other Mitzvah was not essential to the Aybershter, like a piece of Him, if the Mitzvah was not essential to the Aybersheter, then why would doing it have a powerful effect on the world?
Or in different words, the Aybershter gives us the Zchus of doing a mitzvah. Why is it a Zchus? Because it’s something personal to the Aybershter, it’s something valuable to Him, it’s something that He needs, because of its G-dly Divine nature, and He lets us do it, that’s a Zchus! But if He really didn’t need it, and it wasn’t very important to Him and He lets us do it, what’s the Zchus? You’re giving Me your Shirayim [leftovers]?
Yes, the Mitzvah is about Him, not about us.
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