uniting three paths

Most of my personal meditations are on the shema, there's always more to say and more to understand. Today I would like to share one of my more recent perspectives:
  1. The first perek of the shema is about cleaving to God. (mesirat nefesh, here there is no mention of any evil, at this level who have only good intentions.)
  2. The second perek, about Torah learning. (It starts off with hearing--Matan Torah. The evil mentioned here is for biur purposes via halachah. It mentions teaching your children)
  3. The third perek, about mitzvah observance. (It specifically mentions observing all the mitzvot, but if it didn't reference the most central mitzvah, tzedakka, it wouldn't fit; but it does mention the word ונתנו which is the root of tzedakka, as well as a palindrome which the Pirkei d'Rabi Eliezer mentions hints at the reciprocal nature of tzedakka, the giver receives more even than he gives.)
Whenever we are taking any action, it is good to unite these three levels in your kavanah, your intentions. Eating, for example, we are taking something within which is Godliness and we are putting it inside of us, so here is our cleaving to God. Next, we can connect it to everything we have learned about eating and when it is and isn't permissible, not to mention it will give us energy to sit and study Torah. Lastly we can rejoice in saying the berachot and in the fact that the food we are eating is kosher, and in so doing we have connected a simple action to all of the three levels of the Shema, as described here.

For bonus points, if you want we can relate it to: thought speech and action(these three are terribly obvious so I won't even do my usual roshei perakim); and then to olam (the world is a relationship with God) shanah (this word for year, literally means to learn) and nefesh (the nefesh is the part we are doing the mitzvot for, it has 613 parts each of which relates to a particular mitzvah).

Now for the trifecta, hesed gevurah and tiferet:
  1. Meditating on the kindness of God is the clearest and simplest (and strongest) way to cleave to God. קטונתי מכול החסדים the chassidic understanding of this verse with each kindness one is meant to grow more humble, making more room for God in his life. Is there another way to love God?
  2. Torah, the gemara says, is a cure for the yetzer harah. Through the fire of Torah we pare down all the potential in the world into what is beneficial and productive, that our children and ourselves should live happily bringing the seas (literally ימים) of wisdom in heaven down to this earth.
  3. Lastly, we have the little fringes that complete the edges of the total garment, the tzitzit emphasize an awareness of the whole, of being holy because God is holy. We are told to overcome our eye and our heart--not to fall whether through hesed or din, instead we must keep his commandments exactly, to be holy, to connect to God through the Torah, in manifest action, just as he took us out of egypt. Emet.
In utter knowledge of God, as a husband knows his wife, through thought, speech, and action, through wanting her, knowing/curbing her ways, and making her his, the three paths are united in something so much more complete than they were in their respective pieces.


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