The Arizal is said to have shared that his teachings stemmed originally from an experiential insight regarding the simcha there is in doing mitzvahs. The tremendous flow of that experience provided us with the commentaries on the Zohar given by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. Dovid HaMelech lived the Zohar, and we experience Dovid HaMelech’s lifetime work when reading tehillim.
What was it about the simcha of doing a mitzvah that provided such a flow of Torah into the world?
In Parshas Balak, we see clearly that there is an opposing force in the world. What is the purpose of this opposing force?
In that opposing force is concealed Infinite Light. The reason Hashem desires a world we are told is that He wants a dwelling place. He wants His Infinite Light to be manifest in a world in order to bestow pure good upon the world. In order for this to happen, and in order for the world to not be nullified by that Infinite Light, Hashem creates an opposing force called nature. He builds within each person a nefesh elokis, a spark of Hashem Himself, designed to draw the Infinite Light from nature fromi its concealment into this world. The nature of a person meeting the nature of the world provides the way that the Infinite Light may reach this world.
What blocks us from submitting to His Plan is that He creates us with an intellect that is sensitive at a survival level with our natural existence. Yet He gives us a Torah that tells us the highest thing is mesiras nefesh, to give up one’s very life to sanctify His Name. Our intellect, whose imagination and understanding is based on perceived pleasure, matures when we bring an expanded consciousness of Hashem into the world.
The more aware we are that Hashem is doing everything and that we are here to fertilize the world with Torah, avoda, chesed and mitzvahs, the more we are able to put into perspective the heartfelt challenges that flow through us on a constant basis.
Shall we insist that our natural feelings be spared and our natural propensities accommodated? Are we here to make the world into a place where we are comfortable and feel loved and valued based on nature? And if the answer is yes, do we believe this is something mankind directs or do we believe it is something mankind engenders when we bring Torah, avoda, chesed and mitzvahs into the world?
The more we are able to see ourselves as the channel through which Infinite Light concealed in our inner chaos may flow into Torah, avoda, chesed, and mitzvahs and thereby bring something new, a new light, into the world, the better of an attitude we will have when we are experiencing our niggly downward pulls and inneber void. We are able to walk to the light with free will. We need emunah in Hashem as well as emunah that He creates and activates our nefesh elokis, a spiritual soul that has the capability to be that channel. A nefesh elokis needs a body to perform the Torah learning, the prayer, the chesed, or the mitzvah. In this way, Infinite Light from the world above this is able to flow into this world. And what is the agent for this darkness? Nature. The Yetzer Hara that is in charge of nature is the doorway through which this new light squeezes into this world when we rise above our natural will and bring that kedusha in the hands of the Soton into the world as the soul of a mitzvah.
May we comprehend deeply that what we chew on that aches us is Infinite Light that we are built to extrapolate into the world through our avodas Hashem, and may the confidence we have in the Torah and the teachings of the Arizal help us see ourselves as the beloved people and vessel for Hashem’s desire to have a home in this world. And may our effort be pleasing to Him and a merit for all mankind, showing that we love Him and are in awe of Him,and submit to His Will with all our heart.