Sunday, April 6, 2008
One Must First Know Himself in Order to Know Hashem
In Oros Hateshuva 15:9, Rav Kook says that as long as a person does not know his true, inner self, then he will be filled with confusion and uncertainty.
According to my rebbe's explanation of this idea in Rav Kook, a person cannot connect to Hashem, achieve Deveikus with Hashem, if he does not first really know himself. This is so because when one is trying to connect himself with Hashem, but if he does not know who he himself is, then how can he know whom he is actually connecting to Hashem?!
A person may collect many thousands of mitzvos. He can do a chessed here. Learn a Torah there. Daven a little here. And do a little hisbodedus there. But in the end, all he has is a random collection of good things. What he lacks is any nekuda merkazis, any central point, which unifies and directs all of his avodah. He has no briach hatichon which brings together all of the disparate parts of his life and himself that allows him to build the mishkan in his heart.
The person doesn't work on himself "derech binyan," the way one builds a building; step by step with one step built upon the one before. Rather, he is just chapping mitzvos whenever he feels the desire to do so.
The key to connecting to Hashem, then, is first to know yourself. Only by knowning one's true self can one know Hashem. My rebbe compared it to a journey whereby one gets to know his own neshama, his own true self, by going through a series of doors, that lead to deeper and deeper levels within himself. Each door that he enters represents truer and deeper levels of knowing himself better. But when he gets to the last door, what is written on it? "The Ribbon Kol Olamim, Baruch Hu." "The Master of All Worlds, Blessed is He." Memeila, automatically, when one understands himself, then every door he opens within himself ultimately leads to Hashem, the Chelek Elokah Mima'al Mamash, the neshamah of all neshamos, the Soul that animates all souls.
Learning exactly how to acquire this self knowledge is the subject of the Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh Sefer. But in particular, the new sefer by the same author, Da Es Atzmecha, focuses on acquiring this self knowledge that is key to achieving closeness with Hashem.
IY"H, with these resources, we should be zocheh to know ourselves and, thereby, to know Hashem.
(Picture courtesy of feelthebass.co.uk)
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