Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Spirit of the Law, Chapter 72:22

22) Near sunset one should gently tell the member’s of his household to light the Shabbos candles.

The source for this is the Mishnah which tells us to ask our household before Shabbos, isartem, if they tithed, eiravtem, and dealt with the eiruv. Then we are to remind them to light the candles.

The Komarna Rebbe explains that each person needs these two essential elements in order to merit the light of Shabbos in his soul.

First isartem. This means to imbue ourselves with G-dliness through a deep abiding faith in Hashem. On this level one truly feels that with every step he is with Hashem at all times. Clearly there are many levels to this emunah. One who works on attaining this will eventually be so filled with emunah that he will have imbued emunah in his ten essential strengths which represent the ten Sefiros. In this way he fulfills isartem, which can be explained as “have brought G-dliness into the ten.” To explain in simple terms this means that every pore of one’s being is filled with the joyous knowledge of Hashem.

The first step towards attaining this level is that one must truly yearn with his soul to truly serve Hashem. This leads him to use his wisdom, discernment, and understanding to understand how to remain with Hashem at all times. Through this feeling of imminence all of one’s natural tendencies towards kindness, and alacrity, are revealed as love and balanced fear of Hashem. Everyone who sees him is filled with a feeling of Hashem’s great magnificence and is influenced for the better. This combination of love and fear brings one the beauty of true dveykus and a true connection to the Torah. He will praise Hashem at all times and work to find the best method to declare Hashem’s kingship in the world with his every act.

But it is possible to explain this in a different manner. We can say that we must all tithe ourselves spiritually. Just as tithing literally means taking a tenth, thereby elevating the remaining produce and permitting it to be eaten, one elevates every experience through focus on declaring Hashem’s kingship. This level of Malchus is the entry point to every true level of divine service as the Tikunei Zohar explains. As Rebbe Nachman explains, the best way to imbue divinity in the mundane is to focus on the G-dly aspect of his endeavor. For example, when a person works for a living he should focus on the charity he will give from his salary and that he will be doing the great mitzvah of supporting his family, etc., through the money. In this manner one’s every instant is elevated to Hashem.

Either way, the Komarna explains that this element alone is not enough since one must also be among people, leading them to improve themselves by his example and helping them in any way he can. This is the second important essential, since the world eiruv literally means to mix, since the point of an eiruv is to make different rabbinical domains as one.

Through both of these steps “the candle will be lit,” one will be filled with the powerful light of Shabbos.

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