Let My People Know

"There are all too many instances where the person does not allow room for God at all and the Divine is pushed out"


In order for the Divine to be completely revealed to man, the instrument for receiving such salvation has to be slowly fashioned by time. 

Just as any radio broadcasting device needs a proper apparatus for its reception. 

The Torah fills the task of preparing man for this final redemption when the human soul, in its combined totality of matter and spirit, body and soul substance, will unite with the Godhead. 

To be sure, Torah is no more than an expression of Divine Wisdom and Will and in one's engagement with it, one is nullified in it. 

How does it produce its effect on man?

The answer (put in seemingly negative terms) is hidden in the statement, "And thou shalt not desecrate My holy name" (Leviticus 22:32). 

Do not make a gap, a vacuum, in the Divine Holiness. 

Wherever God's absolute unity and wholeness is not sensed, a hole is created; one's being becomes a gaping emptiness in the Divine Existence. 

And the more the "I"-ness of oneself asserts itself, the bigger the hole. 

It's as though every person occupies a certain space–length, breadth, and volume–all his own, and in life, this space grows or diminishes. 

Indeed, there are individuals of such dominating quality that they seem to push others out of their space. 

To be sure, all these individual amplitudes exist in God. 

But very much depends on the relationship between them, and as we know, there are all too many instances where the person does not allow room for God at all and the Divine is pushed out.

There is a rather odd story about a Polish nobleman who went to church, prayed before a crucifix, and finished his plea with a defiant threat: "And besides, remember that you're only a wretched Jew and I am a Polish aristocrat." 

But of course, even those who are not Polish noblemen often pray with a rather exaggerated picture of themselves. 

"Don't you realize that you're being addressed by the distinguished Rabbi of the largest congregation in town?" 

This self-importance, alas, is not just an anecdote. 

How much does our prayer or study involve an inflated consciousness of the "me" as performer? 

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From The Candle of God, Chapter 3, by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz