Some highlights from last week's chaburah in R' Tzadok:
We began with the teaching of the Mei haShiloach (R' Tzadok's rebbe, the Ishbitza) on "VaYapel Elokim tardeima al haAdam", the deep sleep Hashem placed man into in order to create woman. The Ishbitza sees this state of "tardeima" as an existential condition; man lives in a state of unawareness to the true greatness of G-d that fills the universe. The Ishbitza explains that this state of spiritual sleep is to man's benefit. Were we fully attuned to G-d's presence we would be compelled to obey his command, but all spiritual benefit resulting from that obediance would be "nahama d'kisufa", unearned reward. Because man is asleep and unaware of G-d while in this world, he is granted the opporunity for choice and free will. (As an aside, the letters of the root of tardeima, R-D-M, can be rearranged to spell M-R-D, mered, the capacity to rebel.) This nefila, the fall into slumber, is ultimately l'tzorech aliya, for the positive good of coming to a self-awakening, a self-realization of G-d's presence, leading ultimately to the benefit of our rewards being earned. This introduction captures in a nutshell the essence of Ishbitz and R' Tzadok - the challenge to reveal light from darkness, to make the effrot to lift the veil from the world of tardeima and become more aware of the "true" reality of G-d's infinite presence.
R' Tzadok opens Kedushas Shabbos asking why the Torah prefaces every mention of Shabbos with the instruction to work for six days and then rest on the seventh - surely the mitzvah is observing the seventh day of rest, not the work of the six preceding days?! R' Tzadok's answer focuses on the description of man as "b'tzelem Elokim", created in G-d's image. G-d appears in Braishis in the role of Creator; man who is created in G-d's image is also endowed with the creative capacity to influence and change the world around him, which he does by exercising his free will. Just as G-d first engaged in six days of creation before arriving at the day of Shabbos, man as tzelem Elokim must first work and exercise his bechira through the six weekdays as prerequisite to experiencing the day of Shabbos. This is why in the Torah always forumulates the mitzvah of Shabbos in the context of "sheishes yamim ta'avod". Much like the Ishbitza's teaching that the existential state of tardeima calls on man to toil to come to G-d, R' Tzadok's sees the tzelem Elokim as calling man to avodah in order to come to the experience of yom haShabbos.
This week IY"H we will talk more about the avodah of the tzelem Elokim that leads to Shabbos, and specifically how and why talmud Torah may be the highest fulfillment of that role.
If you live in 5T, feel free to join us at 8:30, Tiferes Tzvi Yeshiva Minyan, 26 Columbia Ave. in Cedarhurst (time will change next weel after we move the clock).