Tuesday, July 10, 2007

nefila l'tzorech aliya and the purpose of G-d's concealment

(again, some of these posts are works in progress, so please bear with me...)
As discussed last week, in reality our entire existence is dependent on Hashem, and our neshomos desire nothing less than complete dveikus. G-d is the ultimate perfection, and by acting in G-d’s ways and becoming like G-d we share in that perfection and achieve dveikus. However, as symbolized by the moon, which is always smaller and incomplete in comparison to the sun, physical existence by definition blocks complete dveikus, otherwise we would have no independent identity. Olam=he’elam, concealment, or as the Ishbitza puts it on “vayapeil Elokim tardeima”, man must by existential definition be in a state of unawareness.

What is the purpose of G-d concealing himself from us? “Rotzeh adam b’kav shelo yoseir m’tisha kabin shel chaveiro” – a person is always more satisfied by something that is truly theirs more than a free gift or loan even of a better product. If G-d gave us the gift of perfection, meaning complete dveikus, without our earning it, that gift itself would be tainted by its being an unearned reward, “nahama d’kisufa”. Therefore, G-d placed himself in concealment and gave us an independent identity so that we may become like Him through our own efforts.

Why could Hashem not simply have made us happy with receiving the free gift of dveikus? The answer I think is because that would be a logical contradiction. If the ultimate purpose of man is to achieve dveikus by imitating G-d, the fact that G-d is an independent cause of His own actions and man is not presents an unbridgeable gap. It is the miracle of bechira that comes about because G-d chooses to conceal himself which presents us with the opportunity to truly imitate Him by acting on our own initiative. “Vayapeil…tardeima” is a “nefila l’tzorech aliya”, a fall that ultimate empowers man to rise to even greater heights.

3 comments:

  1. Dovid1:13 PM

    Derech Hashem says the same thing.

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  2. Yes, and I think it may be even clearer in Da'as Tevunos. Many seforim use these same yesodos (which only reinforces their truth), but I want to lay out the groundwork anyway to get to other stuff.

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  3. Bob Miller8:56 AM

    These translated quotes are found at http://www.azamra.org/Essential/courage.htm

    The purpose of falling – to go higher
    When the time comes for a person to rise from one level to the next, he must first experience a fall. The whole purpose of the fall is to prepare for the ascent. Try to understand this and you will realize how determined you must be in order to serve God. No matter how far you fall, never allow yourself to be discouraged. Remain firm and resolute and pay no attention to the fall at all, because in the end it will be transformed into a great ascent. This is its whole purpose.

    This applies to all the different ways one can fall. Each person always thinks that his own situation is so bad that this does not apply to him. People imagine it applies only to those on very exalted levels who are continually advancing from level to level. But you should realize that it holds true even for those on the lowest of levels, because God is good to all.

    Likutey Moharan I, 22

    * * *

    Each time a person emerges from one level in order to rise to the next, the unholy forces attack him again in the form of desires and fantasies, strange thoughts, mental confusion, distractions and all kinds of other obstacles. They stand in array against him, refusing to let him enter the gates of holiness.

    Many sincere people become highly discouraged when they find themselves suddenly confronted by all these desires and obstacles. They start to think that they must have fallen from their previous level because for some time they have not experienced them with the same intensity – since they were dormant.

    When this happens, you must understand that what you are experiencing is not a fall. The time has come for you to advance
    from one level to the next. This is why these same old desires and obstacles have reared their heads again. Whenever this happens, it takes great strength and courage not to lose hope but to overcome all the desires and obstacles again.

    Likutey Moharan I, 25

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