Let My People Know

An important factor is the elimination of one's self to whatever degree possible"


Every individual is enjoined to perform mitzvot; it is what one does as a servant of God and is called "worship". 

The kavanah, or heart's intention, is not that of toilsome labor, of course; one works with love and joy, with a willingness, an eagerness to approach God, or at least to do something for Him. 

Thereby, too, one aspires to add holiness to the world, saying, with the usual formula of the blessing: "Who sanctifies us with His Commandments."

As we are aware, worship is not only a matter of doing the right thing. 

The particular joy in doing something for God is just as meaningful. 

As the Magid of Mezritch said, it is like the music played by the inspired musician, the player himself becomes the instrument; he is obliterated in the "message." 

So is the prophet, who does not even become caught up in love or fear of God or any noble emotion, for he has no space in himself for anything but the testimony, the Divine Message, the prophecy which he has to bear. 

In every man there is this capacity, albeit, at one's own level, and one can always rise to a higher level. 

What is required is a certain sincere devotion and a feeling that this could be clearer, more genuine, more inward. 

Those who are unable to feel this strongly can nevertheless learn to raise themselves to a higher level of worship by application of whatever forces they can muster, whether intellectual, physical, or emotional.

The important factors are the elimination of one's self to whatever degree possible and the penetration of whatever light comes from above into the depths of the being, so that the realm of action is illuminated.

For most, the great difficulty comes at the crisis of transition, when one has to move on to a higher level of being.

It is fairly simple to progress within a given framework; agreeable satisfaction is gained with every overcoming of an obstacle, solving of a problem, whether in the mental sphere or the practical world or the emotional life. 

But when the rules are changed and the situation demands something more than what has already been mastered, when one has to make a leap into a wider range of values, there is a crisis. 

For someone who is competently familiar with Euclidean geometry, adjustment to non-Euclidean geometry requires an effort of some kind.

It is not easy to accept that the sum of the angles of a triangle is not whatone has learned, that the circle is not a circle, and that a line is not necessarily straight.

One has to rise to an understanding of the fact that what one has been convinced to be true is only a part of a more comprehensive truth; that it was only an incidental fragment, something that was correct within a limited scope.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From The Candle of God, p. 257, by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz