with Rav Avigdor Miller
The Jew, a Sanctuary
Part I. We’re Holy
Everyone remembers the promise made by Hakodosh Boruch Hu to the Am Yisroel in this week’s sedrah: וְעָשׂוּ לִי מִקְדָּשׁ – And they should make for Me a mikdash, וְשָׁכַנְתִּי בְּתוֹכָם – and I’ll dwell in their midst (Terumah 25:8). Now, we don’t really think too much when we read the chumash and so we gloss over these words without too much thought but actually it’s an astonishing idea. That the Shechina – the One who created the entire universe from nothing and continues to maintain its existence – should come down and dwell in the midst of the camp of the Am Yisroel? It’s staggering !
But the truth is that what this possuk is telling us is even more astonishing than that! Because when Hashem said, “I will dwell among the sons of Yisroel,” He meant much more than merely, “I’ll move into the Mishkan and dwell there among you in the middle of the camp.” Oh no! That’s only the beginning; it’s much more than that! V’shochanti b’socham means: “I’m going to dwell b’soch kol echad v’echad – inside each and every one of the Bnei Yisroel.”
It means that besides for residing in the Mishkan, the Presence of the Shechina in the middle of the camp was a symbol of the kedusha that resides in each one of us.
Proof From an Authority
How do I know that? I have it on the authority of a certain person. When I tell you his name you might not think he’s an authority worth quoting, but I think he’s a very big authority. He was a very great Torah sage, a great genius and a tremendous thinker. And so why did I say you might not think he’s worthy of quoting? Because it’s none other than Korach! Korach was a very great man – he was everything that I said about him and much more and we should listen to his words carefully.
You remember when he was trying to convince Moshe Rabeinu of the righteousness of his position he made a statement as follows: כִּי כָל הָעֵדָה כֻּלָּם קְדֹשִׁים – The entire congregation, every single one of them is holy. וּבְתוֹכָם הַשֵּׁם – and in their midst is Hashem!
Now what was Korach telling Moshe, “Hashem is in their midst”? Did he mean that in the middle of their camp, there was a Mishkan?
That doesn’t make sense! How would that help his argument? Korach was telling Moshe, “Why are you taking for yourself all the authority? You’re taking all the good jobs – you are the leader, the melech, and Aharon your brother is the Kohen Gadol and us you leave out! We’re also somebody!” So what would it help Korach’s argument to say that “Hashem is in the Mishkan”? That’s no argument to prove that he is worthy or somebody else is worthy just like Moshe and Aharon are.
A Holy Nation
But the answer is that Korach is talking here not about the Mishkan; he’s talking about the people! וּבְתוֹכָם הַשֵּׁם – “In the midst of each one of us is Hashem.” That was the real argument of Korach: כֻּלָּם קְדֹשִׁים – “We’re all kedoshim, וּבְתוֹכָם הַשֵּׁם – because the kedusha of Hashem is in every one of us! Not just you and Aharon! Every single ben Yisroel and bas Yisroel deserve the greatest of honor because the Shechina resides in all of us.
Now that’s a concept that’s very difficult even to talk about! It’s difficult enough to talk about the Shechina dwelling in the Mishkan but that He dwells within us?! That we are holy because His holiness dwells within us?! It seems beyond our ability even to discuss. But that’s exactly what happened to the Am Yisroel in the beginning of our history – we became not only the chosen nation but the holy nation.
Everybody knows that from the beginning of time, Mankind always offered sacrifices. Adam brought korbanos – Kayin and Hevel and Noach too; it’s written openly in the Torah that they brought offerings. When Mankind still had some seichel – before they were bamboozled by ignorant writers and “philosophers” who belittled the offerings – everyone understood that bringing offerings was a form of expressing devotion to the Creator.
And yet we note that all of these offerings throughout the history of man were olos, burnt offerings; it means an animal was burnt in its entirety on the mizbeiach and the smoke carried heavenward the product of the combustion as if to feed, k’viyachol, Hakodosh Boruch Hu.
But never in history did it occur to anyone that a human being should eat from an offering. It would have been a sacrilege to even imagine such a thing! That someone should take what is dedicated for the table of the Creator and he should profane it by putting it into his mouth? It was out of the question!
A Revolutionary Idea
And then came the night of the korban pesach and a revolution occurred. On the night that Hashem took us out of Mitzrayim to be His nation the entire picture of history changed. What happened? We were commanded to eat from the korban Pesach. וְאָכְלוּ אֶת הַבָּשָׂר – The bnei Yisroel must eat the flesh of the sacrifice (Shemos 12:8).
But you shouldn’t think it was just a mitzvah and finished – you have to understand what’s doing here.You know that every offering requires that part of the entrails, part of the fats, be burnt on the mizbeiach. There’s no such thing as a korban without that – what kind of sacrifice could it be if there’s no burning up to Hashem? And yet in Mitzrayim, on the night of Pesach, we don’t find that they did that – there was no mizbeiach! And that’s a big puzzle. How can there be such a thing as a korban pesach if there was no place to burn the fats?
And the answer is this – it’s quite astonishing so pay good attention. When they put the korban into their mouths, that was the mizbeiach. When a Yisroel consumes a korban it’s like the fire of the mizbeach is burning it! And that’s the answer to how it could be such a thing now that never happened before, that a human being eats from a korban. Because a Yisroel is not a human being! He’s much more than a human being! That’s a very important lesson. At that time Hashem declared that the Jewish body is kodesh kodoshim. When they ate from the korban Pesach, that was the mizbeach, it was a fire of the Jewish spirit consuming the korban Pesach in their body.
Now, such a concept is extremely difficult even to talk about but there it is, black on white: We are commanded to put the korban pesach into our mouths and to chew it and swallow it because we are now a mizbeach. It’s a remarkable thing! Just like the mizbeach is considered kodesh kodoshim the body of a Yisroel is no less holy.
But not only it’s like the mizbeiach – the Jewish body is more holy than the Beis Hamikdosh itself. Suppose cholilah, there is a fire on Shabbos in the Beis Hamikdosh, do you have the right to put out the fire to save the Beis Hamikdosh? No!
But suppose there is a Jewish child lying in a crib, a crippled child. Rachmana litzlan, a sick child who can’t live much longer, and there is a fire on Shabbos that endangers his life, we would do everything to save his life. You can put out the fire, you can run to the drugstore, you can write a prescription, you can cook for him, you can do anything needed.
So we see that a Jewish life is more holy than the whole Beis Hamikdash with its mizbeiach and with all its appurtenances; with the sifrei Torah, and the aron habris and everything else – nothing is as kadosh as a Jewish body. As long as a Jew is alive and he has the cheilek Eloka mima’al, the portion of Hashem, within him, there is nothing more holy. We are not just another nation; we are an entirely different entity in the world. The Jew parted company with the nations of the world and became an entirely different kind of existence.
מִי כְּעַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל גּוֹי אֶחָד בָּאָרֶץ – Who is like Your people Yisroel, one nation in the world – it doesn’t mean a chosen nation, it means we’re the one nation, entirely different from all others. You peoples of the earth, your bodies are not sacred. You may have noble attitudes sometimes, why not? Every human being is capable of nobility; everybody has a great soul within him if he utilizes it properly, but Hakodosh Boruch Hu has rested His Shechina only b’socham, only in the Am Yisroel and even the bodies of every Yisroel is now kodesh kodoshim.
A Nation of Holy Habitations
And included in that is that our bodies became holy. That’s why from now on, we cannot put into our mouths just anything, unless it’s sanctioned by the Torah. Just like you cannot put an offering on the holy mizbeach unless the offering is approved by the Torah, our bodies are no less holy. That’s what the Torah (Devarim 14:21) says: כִּי עַם קָדוֹשׁ אַתָּה לַהַשֵּׁם אֱלֹקֶיךָ – You are a holy nation to your G-d and because of that, לֹא תְבַשֵּׁל גְּדִי בַּחֲלֵב אִמּוֹ – you can’t eat meat and milk together.
Other places too: You can’t eat neveilah because you’re holy (ibid.). You can’t eat treifeh because you’re holy (Shemos 22:30). You can’t put into the holy place of your body what is considered unholy. And that’s why a Jew, when he guards the laws of kashrus, he should know it’s because he is sacred; because he’s a makom kadosh he can’t put something unclean into that holy habitation.
Now, these ideas may seem exaggerated when they are heard the first time, nevertheless, that’s Torah and that’s the attitude that Hashem expects us to gain and to live with as much as possible. As I said before a number of times, whether we are ready to accept that or not, that’s Torah and we have to think about this idea as much as possible. And the more we do, the more we’ll appreciate the words v’shochanti b’socham and the kedusha we have within us.
Part II. He’s Holy
Thanking for What?
Now, to explain this a little more, we’ll turn for a few minutes to shemoneh esrei. You know that all the brachos in the amidah are expressions of gratitude. That’s what boruch atah means: “I bend my knees in gratitude to You.”
The first brocha is thanking Hashem for being the shield of Avrohom and his descendants. The second brocha, we thank Him for techiyas hameisim. It’s a long list – nineteen thank Yous. Rofei cholei amo Yisrael; we thank Him for giving us health. Boruch atah Hashem mevorech hashanim — we thank Hashem that He blesses the land and gives us the produce to provide sustenance; we’re thanking Him for parnasah. Every brocha expresses gratitude for something.
Only that when we come to one of the blessings, we don’t understand: בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה הַשֵּׁם הָקֵל הַקָּדוֹשׁ – You’re holy, Hashem and we thank You, Hashem that You’re so holy. Now, if we’re thanking Hashem for that, so we understand that we’re being grateful for some benefit that we are receiving from Him. It’s puzzling however. What is the purpose of thanking Hashem because He’s holy?
Isn’t it a pity – we say it three times a day and don’t understand what we’re thanking for! It’s a frustration of the purpose of the brocha. You get up early in the morning to run to the synagogue – sometimes it’s still dark outside – and then again in the afternoon and again at night, and you don’t even know what you’re saying. “Thank You for being the Keil Hakadosh,” but you don’t know what you’re grateful for.
The Most Perfect
Now, if we’re going to understand this, the number one question we have to answer is what does the word kadosh mean? And so we’ll say that the word kadosh means, “perfect.”
What does “the perfect Hashem” mean? Anything good that can be said in this world, anything good that can be found in this world, any standard of good, is in Hashem. The most perfect standard of wisdom and the most perfect standard of power and kindliness and everything else, it’s all included in His perfection.
Now of course that’s immediately minimizing Hakodosh Boruch Hu because there’s no question that He is far beyond any perfection that we are able to discover in the world; He’s infinite in His perfection! But what can we do? We have to use language that human beings use; we cannot talk with any language other than ours and so the best we can do is to say kodosh means “perfect.”
If you came here just to hear that, believe me it was worth the trip. And you can put it into practice right away. By maariv tonight we should arm ourselves beforehand – when we come to that third brocha we won’t waste that brocha by saying meaningless words; at least one maariv, one time, you can think about what it means. Atah kodosh means “You are the most perfect one, Hashem. You are so vastly perfect that nothing – not only that we know about, but nothing that we could imagine – will ever even remotely approach Your perfection. Everything in the world is limited; everything has weaknesses and flaws while You Hashem are the One who is intrinsically perfect.”
Source of Our Perfection
Very good! We know now what the words mean but still we come back to our original question: It’s true, You’re holy, You’re very holy, infinitely holy but what are we thanking for? “You, Hashem, are perfect” may be a valuable subject for meditation —certainly it’s an important principle that illuminates the mind—but it seems to us that there’s nothing to be grateful for here. What are we thanking for?
The answer is that the greater Hashem is, the greater we are! Because Hashem chose us to invest with His kedusha, it means that according to His perfection so is the perfection of the nation He chose. And therefore we say, “Boruch Atah Hashem, We thank You Hashem for being ha’Keil hakadosh, the highest perfection we could imagine, because all that perfection reflects to our credit and our greatness. We’re thanking Him for v’shochanti b’socham, for putting within us an infinite greatness that no other nation can ever come close to; for a greatness that’s reflected upon us from Him.
Resembling Our Father
That’s why we’re called His children, because children resemble their parents. Banim atem laHashem Elokeichem – “You are My children,” Hashem says to us. Now that statement is a stunning statement. Of course today it’s meaningless because in America we’re accustomed to saying, “We’re all the children of Hashem.” That’s why the reform Jews get together with the NAACP, because they say we’re all children of G-d. But it’s ridiculous! It’s not Torah. You, the Am Yisroel, are children of Hashem and make no mistake about it. We don’t care what the world says, we stick by the Torah. “You are My children and nobody else.”
And children resemble their parents, you know. When the parents are more aristocratic, the children are also more aristocratic. When the parents are more gifted, the children are also more gifted. And who are we? We are children of the One who is perfect. If You’re our father and we’re Your sons, it means we are endowed with some of Your perfection. And the more perfect You are, the more perfect we are.
That’s why we’re so grateful! Nobody in the world that has a god as perfect as Hashem Elokei Yisroel. L’havdil elef alfei havdalos, even according to the fabrications of the umos haolam, they let slip now and then and they say something about their god that’s a little bit embarrassing. Now is not the place but I would like to show you in the New Testament how many places Yoshke Pandreh let slip statements that really are a bizayon for a decent person to say. Of course they have peirushim on it. They try to cover it up with falsehoods, with wrong peshatim, wrong peirushim on pessukim in Tanach, but all that shows is their ignorance and criminal intent to twist the pessukim.
We don’t worship any caricature of a god; we don’t worship a three-in-one shoe polish. Our G-d is One and He’s perfect and He’s forever – He never dies. We don’t worship a god that died. Maybe you think it’s a small remark, but it’s a big remark. Because once a god dies, you need excuses and new stories about how he’ll come back again – but it already spoiled the whole thing.
The Ventriloquist Prophet
So you’ll tell me Mohammed; Mohammed’s god didn’t die – but the truth is he was never born either. Because when we have a look at Mohammed’s god we understand that really Mohammed was holding a big puppet. He had a big ragdoll named Allah and that doll was saying everything Mohammed wanted him to say. Mohammed wasn’t a prophet – he was a ventriloquist; he was just throwing his voice through Allah’s mouth. The Koran after all, that’s what Allah is supposed to be speaking. Mohammed swore that every word comes from Allah but what it really meant is that he was holding a big puppet named Allah on his arm and he’s talking into his mouth. “Mohammed! There’s no prophet like Mohammed,” Allah said. But it’s all imagination and sheker; the ventriloquist was putting words into the mouth of the puppet.
Mohammad has shown himself to be one the biggest liars that ever lived, besides being one of the biggest boasters. Now don’t think I’m saying it merely because I’m a Jew. I can show it to you scientifically. I have a Koran that I keep in my bathroom, and I can show you many cases where this man lied through his teeth; he was megalah ervaso too! And it’s a shame that he is a founder of a religion.
Gift of Greatness
We don’t worship any puppet gods or dead gods. The Elokei Yisroel is the perfection of all good qualities – there’s nobody in the world that has a G-d as perfect as Hashem Elokei Yisroel. And the more perfect He is, the more perfect our nation becomes.
And therefore we say בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה הַשֵּׁם הָקֵל הַקָּדוֹשׁ; we thank You for that. We say thank You Hashem for being so perfect because the greater You are, that much greater we are. We are His people, and if He is holy, we are holy; if He is a million times more holy, so we are that much holier.
And so we begin to understand now at least something about the gratitude we have to Him for His of kedusha; it’s a great gift, one of the greatest benefits that Hashem could confer upon us—v’shochanti b’socham, that He placed within us something of His kedusha ki’viyachol—and we can be infinitely great too.
His Holiness is Superior
Now, what that means certainly must be explained because we’ll never understand what the infinite perfection of Hashem includes. All we can say is that He certainly does have greatness and glory and His greatness and glory are infinite. He has wisdom and His wisdom is infinite. He has perfection of every kind and His perfection is infinite. And because Hakodosh Boruch Hu is bli gvul u’bli tachlis, because He is infinitely great, so what He put into the Am Yisroel by means of v’shochanti b’socham is also infinite.
Now you might think it’s an exaggeration but pay attention to the following statement that you heard already from me. There’s a possuk that says, קְדֹשִׁים תִּהְיוּ – You should be perfect, כִּי קָדוֹשׁ אֲנִי – because I am perfect (Vayikra 19:2). So the Medrash says, Yachol – I might think kikedushasi, that a Yisroel can be as holy, as perfect, as Hashem, that our holiness is the same as His holiness. Talmud lomar ki kadosh ani – I am holy. Kedushasi lema’aleh mikedushaschem —My holiness is superior to yours.
Do you hear such a thing?! Such a hava aminah?! Yachol! I could think to say that maybe we are kadosh the same as He is kadosh! Who could have thought such a thing?! But it states there that the Am Yisroel is so holy that Hakodosh Boruch Hu found it necessary to say He is superior to us.
Which means that every Jew has such potential and greatness that if we could understand who he really is, we’d be so amazed, we would think it’s divinity itself! No matter how you’ll imagine the perfection that’s concealed in the potentiality of the Jewish soul, no matter what you’ll say, you’re always understating it! There’s so much kedusha there that there’s a possibility we might think, kikedushasi, it’s equal to the holiness of Hashem. So Hashem has to come along and say, “No. I am superior to you. You’re infinitely holy, but I’m something even bigger than that.”
It doesn’t mean that you’re already perfect but it means that you possess within your soul a capability for endless perfection. V’shochanti b’socham means that Man has within him potential for infinite nobility, infinite glory, infinite wisdom, and infinite perfection. Of course, nobody will live long enough to bring forth all of the qualities of kedusha that are concealed within his neshama. But as long as you live you continue to have that opportunity to draw forth that reflection of Hashem’s infinite perfection. And it’s such a kedusha that if you could live forever you would be capable of drawing forth endless greatness.
Part III. Gaining Holiness
Who Is Holy?
Now, before we go further we should clear the decks for action and understand that being a kadosh doesn’t mean you’re a holy man who fasts. It doesn’t mean a person who dresses like a tzaddik or says a lot of Tehillim. Could be those things are included, I can’t tell you, but what a kadosh actually means is a person who is ambitious to become more perfect. קְדֹשִׁים תִּהְיוּ,says Hashem. “Each one of you should make yourselves more and more perfect, כִּי קָדוֹשׁ אֲנִי, because I am holy. It means that I want to see each one of you bring forth as much as you’re capable of, the greatness that I stored up in you.”
Now what does Hakodosh Boruch Hu do to help us realize some of this greatness in practice? After all, He made this world and He made it for us and therefore we understand that the conditions in the world are so designed to give us endless opportunities. And as long as we’re willing to be aware constantly of our potential, we’ll be able to bring forth that infinite kedusha – only that we must be willing to cooperate with His plan and utilize the opportunities.
A World of Tests
The Mesillas Yesharim says, “Kol inyanei haolam nisyonos hem –everything in the world is for the purpose of testing us.” Kol inyanei haolam doesn’t mean some things; kol is everything. A husband is a test for a wife, a wife is a test for a husband. Children are tests. Parents are tests. Neighbors are tests. The weather is a test. The sun is a test. The moon is a test. The sidewalk is a test. There’s nothing in the world that’s not a test.
Now, that has to be explained because why does Hashem need all these tests? A chemist has to make tests. Doctors have to make tests. They don’t know unless they make tests and even after they make tests they also don’t know much. But why does Hakodosh Boruch Hu need tests? He knows everything already! Even though we have free will, the Rambam explains that Hashem knows the future anyhow. So what’s the purpose of all these tests?
The answer is that nisayon doesn’t mean test. We call it a test but nisayon comes from the word nun sin alef; naso or nisa, to lift up. Nes means a banner, something that’s on high. Ve’Elokim nisah es Avraham meansHashem lifted up Avraham by means of a test. By putting Mankind to test, Hashem brings forth the greatness that is buried inside of our neshamos; the tests bring forth from us the potential kedusha in a measure far beyond what we possessed before.
A World of Opportunities
And so, we’re learning now that everything that happens is for the purpose of eliciting the perfection that’s hidden within you. Of course, it takes some thought, some preparation, to see how you can achieve perfection from this event or from that object or this happening but there are always opportunities in our lives to choose greatness.
How many opportunities? They’re endless! Children can utilize their parents and parents can utilize their children. Parents are a tremendous opportunity for perfection for children. When children make it their business to honor their parents properly and even when the parents are not there they’re thinking about them, they’re becoming more and more perfect.
A fellow Jew, every Jew, is an opportunity for you. Every Jew is a nisayon for you. It’s a waste if you see a Jew pass by and it makes no impression on you. A Jew passed by! Man or woman, boy or girl, a mikdash is passing by; an infinite holiness is passing by. And so, when you see a frum Jew and you’re able to muster a certain amount of respect for that person you should know you’re passing the test. It’s a nisayon; it’s a test that is bringing forth the greatness from within you and youbecome more and more kadosh because of that.
For a man, of course, the sefarim on the shelves are a nisayon. They’re for the purpose that we should utilize them. When people pass by and never take a sefer, they’re missing one of the most important nisyonos of this world. Opening a sefer and reading the words makes you a kadosh. The holiness of the sefer comes from the letters and enters into your neshamah. Saying the words is even better. Saying divrei Torah with your mouth certainly makes you more kadosh.
Of course when a person learns such subjects that elevate his mind more easily – let’s say he learns Chovos Halevavos and Sha’arei Teshuvah and Mesillas Yesharim, no question he becomes kadosh. Every minute his neshamah is rising higher and higher. He can even feel it, how he’s changing. When someone attempts to improve himself by learning, by gaining understanding; by learning mussar, or by practicing self-control, that’s an elevation. Of course, learning halachos is very important; learning lamdus, very important. Whatever it is, sefarim are a ladder for a man to ascend to greatness.
The Jewish Family
Now, a woman’s way is not the man’s way. A woman becomes perfect from her family. She brings up her children and she puts effort into them; not just effort – she puts kedushah into them. A mother can train the children with emunah and yiras shamayim, like Dovid Hamelech said about his mother (Tehillim 116:16). Shlomo Hamelech also said his mother taught him (Mishlei 1:8). Yes, besides for bringing him up, Shlomo’s mother elicited more and more kedusha from her son every day. A mother’s role, because women love children more than men do, is much greater in the home than her husband. By means of raising the children al pi Torah a mother brings forth the kedushah in her children and herself at the same time.
A husband and a wife of course are one of the great opportunities to gain perfection. A husband and a wife supply tests for each other all the time and the purpose is to bring forth more and more kedusha as the years go by. Men and women many times have a tendency to disagree and nevertheless each one tries to be gentle, each one tries to speak politely; each one has self-control and they try to yield to each other as much as possible.
It’s not easy; it’s not easy at all but there’s no question that the Shechinah dwells in the home according to the efforts of the participants and a lifetime of such practice makes them kadosh. It’s not easy but the rewards are infinitely great because the Shechinah dwells not only in their homes, but in their bodies.
Growth Through Happiness
Outside the home too. You should know the outside world is made in such a way to attract us to certain ideals. That’s why when you see a beautiful day, a blue sky, beautiful trees, you should think it’s for the purpose of bringing forth in you a certain appreciation of the greatness of Hashem, the chasdei Hashem. “Hashem, what a beautiful world You gave me!” It’s a lifetime career to learn how to appreciate the kindliness and the wisdom of Hashem all around you.
When you see happiness in the world, when you enjoy certain things, use that to elevate yourselves. You enjoy your sleep? Say, “Thank You Hashem for my good sleep! Thank You for my pillow.” You should enjoy your health and thank Hakodosh Boruch Hu for it. It’s all made for the purpose of nisayon; it’s a test to bring forth the perfection within you.
Growth Through Mitzvos
Mitzvos! We can’t leave that out! Of course a mitzvah makes a person kadosh; every time you do a mitzvah you become more kadosh. An old Jew is more kadosh than a young Jew. He did more mitzvos and it adds up; the kedusha that you gain each time doesn’t go lost.
That’s why we thank Hakodosh Boruch Hu, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו – We thank You for giving us a great gift of becoming more kadosh by means of fulfilling your commands. We’re so happy, so grateful for those opportunities!
If you utilize the mezuzah, that’s a great addition of kedusha. Don’t just pass by the mezuzah like people pass by and give it a kiss. Think about what’s inside. Hashem echad! It means Hashem is everything! He’s the Creator. He made the world out of nothing and He’s Elokeinu, He’s ours. He proclaimed that He belongs to the Am Yisroel. The Master of the universe is ours! Think these thoughts as you pass by a mezuzah.
When you put on your tefillin, think about what’s in the tefillin. It’s very important. And tzitzis! Not only when you put them on. You see your husband or your son, even a little boy walking in the street, you see he has tzitzis, think about it. It’s a nisayon for you and if you don’t think about it you’re failing the nisayon. Take a look once in a while at the tzitzis – yours or someone else’s – and think: וּרְאִיתֶם אֹתוֹ וּזְכַרְתֶּם – You should see them and remember the mitzvos. Think of shatnez, think of taharas hamishpachah, think of shemiras halashon, think of ribis. Whatever it is, think of something. Of course, you’re surrounded with tzitzis on all sides, it’s a big job. But a little bit, once in a while think about that. That’s the purpose. Because when people think these thoughts, they’re bringing out the greatness inside of them.
Evoking the Greatness
Now this subject you should know is only the beginning; it’s just a hakdamah to a very great system of training for how to attain the perfection of veshochanti besocham because there’s no end, no limit, to what you can achieve.
Everybody should know that he has an endless store of perfection within himself and people who live their lives without this attitude of yearning for perfection are making one of the most tragic errors in their lives; it’s a big misuse of continued existence. If you don’t attempt to become better and instead you’re satisfied to continue as you always were, it’s a tragedy. What’s the purpose of continuing to live if not for the purpose of becoming better and better?
And that’s what Hakodosh Boruch Hu is waiting for because He has put into man this infinite perfection for the purpose that it should be utilized. Hakodosh Boruch Hu breathed into you His kedusha and by your efforts to solicit the greatness within, you’re bringing it forth from potentiality into actuality and that is the success of creating a personal Beis Hamikdash. You are evoking from within yourself the infinite kedusha of Hakodosh Boruch Hu and you’re fulfilling the great program of life: Vi’asu li mikdash veshochanti besocham.
Have A Wonderful Shabbos
Let’s Get Practical
Seeing the Holiness
When the Mishkan was built in the midbar we learnedthe eternal lesson that Hashem dwells within the body of each Jew. A Jewish body is endowed with the potential for endless holiness and each mitzvah, each opportunity for greatness, brings out more of that holiness. This week, three times each day when I see a frum Jew I will reflect on the fact that Hashem dwells within him and he is infinitely holy.