filling empty voids

The Noam Elimelech teaches (Parashath Ekev) that there are two components to the performance of the mitzwoth. The first is the action, the physical performance of the mitzwah. The second is the thought involved. The thought is inherently a recognition of anavah, humility.

Humility, he explains, is referred to as 'ekev' which hints at lowliness for it is the hebrew word for the heel, but ekev also hints at constancy. Humility is a constant avodah, we need to focus on and be aware of our humility and take strides to strengthen it at all times. It must pervade our every act.

This is in keeping with Rebbe Natan's teachings in Likkutei Halachoth about how we must connect each of our limbs to the humility and emunah of Mosheh Rabbeinu, in order that we may completely receive the Torah. (mentioned previously in 'bread of humility')

This past Shabbath, the seventh day of Pesah, I explained among other things an understanding about the word Har - mountain. We see that often Har is associated with negative connotations. (Tehillim: I look to the mountains, from whence will come my aid?; Talmud: Tzaddikim see that their yetzer hara was like a great mountain.) Yet we also see that Har Sinai is where the Torah was given, just as Har HaMoriah is called Har HaTov - the good mountain, by Mosheh Rabbeinu.

How can we understand this discrepancy? It seems to my limited understanding that the word Har represents something that is full. The fullness can either be from Kedushah, or Heaven forebid the opposite. If we don't fill a vaccum with Kedushah, the other is inevitable.

Which begs the question, how do we ensure we are full of Kedushah? The midrash explains that Har Sinai was the place where we received the Torah because of its great Humility. Similarly we know that Mosheh Rabbeinu merited to receive the Torah because he was exceedingly humble. The midrash Otiot d'Rabbi Akiva teaches that the letter Aleph, was chosen to begin the ten commandments because it didn't complain when the Torah was begun with a Bet. So we see that all the elements of matan Torah, were exemplary in their humility.

So too, the Noam Elimelech is teaching us, if we want HaShem to be present and take part in our mitzwoth, then our humility must be at the forefront of all our actions. This, I believe, is the essence of the teaching of the Baal Shem Tov (which we first mentioned in 'helping us (all) along') that the performance of the mitzwoth is beyond us and it is only out of the great kindness of HaShem that he gives us the ability to complete the mitzwoth, doing all the heavy lifting (as it were) himself.

In fact, the Noam Elimelech goes on to explain that in exchange for our performance of the mitzwoth through action AND humility, HaShem gives us also two things: the ability to perform the mitzwoth, (Something we have a better understanding and appreciation of thanks to what we just addressed) and goodness in this life. (It is known that the reward for mitzwoth is only in the next world, but out of love for our performance of mitzwoth HaShem (in His infinite Kindness) gives us kindness in this world.)


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