June 10, 2017
by Rabbi Mendel Kessin
Synopsis is not necesarrily in Rabbi Kessin's own words
When we think of the activities of a tzaddik or holy person, we tend to think in terms of his doing mostly mitzvos. This, however, is not the whole picture. Rabbi Kessin presents a paradigm shift in the way we think about avodas Hashem / service of God.
The neshamah/soul and its power to be mezakeich / purify the body & the universe
- The neshamah/soul is, at first, imprisoned in the body in that it cannot be mezakeich / purify it
- The neshamah / soul is freed to be mezakeich / purify the body during Olam Habah / The World to Come
- Doing ratzon Hashem / God’s will stores credit towards the magnitude of zikuch / purification the neshamah / soul will be able to enact.
- Stages of transition to Olam Habah / The World to Come:
- Mashiach Ben Yosef / The Messaiah from the Tribe of Joseph will subdue all evil in the world.
- Mashiach Ben David / The Messaiah who is a Descendant of King David will destroy all the evil. From the beginning of his reign until the year 6,000 from creation the dead will be resurrected (Techiyas Hamesim)
- First 1,000 years (after the year 6,000 from creation) the physical universe will no longer exert its physicality, and the universe will undergo zikuch / purification while the body remains inert (This is called Chad Choruv – the One Thousand [Years] of Desolation).
- For the next 2,000 years the body undergoes zikuch / purification
- In the 9,000th year Olam Habah / The World to Come begins
How mitzvos / the commandments are mezakeich / purify
- Mitzvos / the commandments are interactions with the physical world in a way prescribed by Hashem / God
- By doing a mitzvah / commandment, you suspend your own will in deference to the will of Hashem / God, testifying that ein od Milvado / there is nothing but God
- Hashem / God then credits you with the potential for zikuch / purification to the magnitude of your actions and intentions.
- All of halacha / the Jewish codes of law define interactions with the physical worls as prescribed by Hashem / God
Both mitzvos / the commandments and voluntary actions l’sheim shomayim / for heaven’s (God’s) sake can accomplish zikuch / purification
- There are 2 series of positive tikun / rectification devices:
- Mitzvos / commandments, which are mandatory
- Necessary survival activities where you have in mind to use them to serve Hashem / God better. These are optional
- A true tzaddik / holy person does everything for Hashem / God. He or she can be said to be God-conscious
- Between these 2 tikun / rectification devices, it is possible to serve Hashem / God 24/7
- A tzaddik does not think in terms of mitzvos / commandments and aveiros / sins. Rather he or she thinks about God more than they do about themselves
- Even if a mitzvah / commandment is easy to do because of a self-interest, one may receive a little schar / reward anyway since it was likely done at least slightly for Hashem’s / God’s sake
- We need to work on moving further from self interest and closer to thinking about Hashem / God