“The mitzvot have no purpose, material or spiritual, beyond the single aim of attachment to God”

"The practical mitzvot are not a device for attaining spirituality, love of God, and other spiritual aims.

 

In fact, the mitzvot have no purpose, material or spiritual, beyond the single aim of attachment to God.

 

And God is neither material nor spiritual but equally distant from both matter and spirit.

 

The question of whether a person believes in God or denies Him is not of any greater 'concern' to God than whether a person smokes on Shabbat.

 

Furthermore, as far as genuine attachment to God is concerned, it is the body that holds the greater potential for such attachment, because, among other things, the vast majority of the mitzvot are phys ical deeds.

 

The prevalent assumption that the spiritual is better suited to achieve attachment to God stems from the failure to distinguish between attachment and a feeling of attachment.

 

The two are not syn onymous; indeed, they can be far apart and at times even opposites.

 

Attachment is an objective truth: a person is one with God, and it makes no difference whether the person experiences an uplifting of the spirit at that time or not.

 

If the criterion is how one feels, if one's feelings determine what is good and what is bad, what is true and what is false, what is right and what is wrong, then this is not attachment to God but attachment to oneself!"

 

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz


From Opening the Tanya by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

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