Parashas Ekeiv 5779 – The Essence of the Person

The Pasuk says: “And now Israel, what does the Hashem your God demand of you? Only this: to fear Hashem your God, to walk only in His paths, to love Him, and to serve the Hashem your God with all your heart and soul”.
Pasuk 12 makes it sound as it’s very simple to accomplish all of it. However, is there a person that can Love something he Fears? How then Hashem asks us to fear him and to Love him, these are diametrically opposite feelings, hard to conciliate.
Pasuk 16 provides us the solution: “Circumcise the foreskin of your hearts and don’t stiffen your necks”. We need to decipher the coded message Moshe is providing in order to be successful in the path of Hashem.
Chazal teach us that there are 4 forms of life: ”Inanimate” i.e. stones, “Growing” i.e. plants and trees, “Animals” and “Humans”. Though the Zohar adds a fifth called “Adam” that can be translated as a person or a man, or it could simply refer to Adam, the first human. It’s obvious that each category is more important than the other, a Plant reflects more life than a rock. An animal more than a plant, and a human has an advanced intelligence and emotions. He also has speech faculty which is the most evolved communication skill in nature. This makes him by lightyears more important than an animal. Though what’s the difference between “Human” and “Adam”?
The Zohar says that the Bnei Yisrael were created with the letter “Yud” while the gentiles were created with the letter “Heh”. In fact, in every language a Jew is call is referred to the letter “Yud”, in German Yud means Jew, “Yid” in Yiddish. The English origin of the word “Jew” is Juda, which refers to the letter Yud. So, what difference does it make being created by one letter or the other?
The Zohar explains that there’s a fundamental difference: those created with the letter “Heh” are under the influence of the Asters. However, Bnei Yisrael since they were created with the letter “Yud” the have the ability to elevate themselves above the Mazal, the Asters”. In other words, it’s not a given but a potential.
One more point before we decode the words of the above Pasuk. Every nation or civilization who harmed the Jews, has either disappeared or became impoverished.

All besides one, Germany! Amalek. Their punishment will be after Mashiach comes. Going back to our point: Gentiles were created with “Heh” and the Bnei Yisrael with “Yud”, those 2 letters together create the name of God with which He created this world. Anyone trying to eradicate the Jews amounts to erasing the name of God. Therefore, they’re in return eradicated or plagued. In other words, the very existence of the nations is only possible through the existence of Am Yisrael.
Bnei Yisrael were blessed to have a “Neshama” a Godly sparkle. When the Neshama is “activated”, a person is above this world and in the true realm of Hashem. Meaning, that other creatures won’t and can’t harm him. His life is directly managed by Hashem without any intermediary, since he entered the category of “Adam” and is above the “Human” category. Let’s explain the mechanism:
Every lifeform has a level of spirituality, otherwise there could be no life. The very life is engendered by the spirituality inhabiting the materialistic shell. When a blessing is said before consuming food, the spiritual part of the food is elevated and directs all the nutrients to their right places in the body and the harmful part is discarded. Then, the spiritual part is bonding with our Neshama to elevate it. The more careful a person is to say the blessings the more light and spirituality bond with his Neshama, elevating him ever closer to Hashem.
Now we can answer our questions: Life is a path, and the Pasuk describes it. Firstly, we must fear Hashem, then perform Mitzvos, they will provide light and spirituality to elevate our Neshama. Then the love to Hashem will follow a consequence. The closer we get to Hashem the closer we want to be.
This is the secret of Yaakov’s [our forefather] dream. The bottom of the ladder was standing on the ground in this world, but it’s top was reaching the Heavens. A person is required to climb one rung at the time, and as he elevates himself, he gets closer to Hashem and gets more blessings and light. This, in turn, fuels his desire to get even closer, and as he gets closer, he seeks even more the proximity of Hashem. The closer he gets the fonder he becomes of Hashem.
Now we also understand the meaning of the commandment to “circumcise your heart’s foreskin”. A “living” individual will constantly experience an inner fight between his materialistic and spiritual forces. However, if he committed to lead a life as describe by Hashem, at time of weakness his heart will lift him up to keep battling for his spirituality. Though, a person that does not commit, when tested, his heart will guide him in the wrong direction.

By Rabbi Shimon Fridmann – Din Torah Of North Miami Beach

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