Friday, February 26, 2010

*This* Shall Be Done for the Man Whom the King Wants to Honor - Reb Itchie Mayer on Tetzaveh

Here is Reb Itchie Mayer Morgenstern's Torah on Parshas Tetzaveh, with English excerpt and full text in both English and Hebrew in pdf form. You can send an e-mail to this address to subscribe to receive Rav Morgenstern's Torah in your e-mail box every week.
This is the level that the tzaddikim reach—of throwing themselves heart and soul into their avodah, and at the same time feeling certain and utterly secure in the fact that everything is done by Hashem alone, without it being contingent on their effort at all. This is the level of the “crown of crowns”—כתר כל הכתרים—which has the initials ככ"ה, as in, "כָּכָה יֵעָשֶׂה לָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר הַמֶּלֶךְ חָפֵץ בִּיקָרוֹ"—“So shall it be done for the man whom the king wants to honor.”[1] The tzaddikim bind together the external avodah of effort with the internal avodah of serene dveikus which is the level of the fiftieth gate. Although they are constantly in the state of the fiftieth gate of prayer and dveikus, they do not fall into the danger of abandoning the effort of Torah study in its plainest sense. The oil is to be crushed “for the light, and not for the menachos.”

We see this dual state in Mordechai HaTzaddik. Inside, he was always in the state of, “And Mordechai knew all that was happening.”[2] He knew within himself that there is nothing but Hashem, and his every movement and thought was only directed in prayer and dveikus to his Creator. He knew that the battle is to be won, “not by might and not by power.” But that is the internal avodah. From outside, he donned sackcloth and ashes and threw himself into the avodah of self-sacrifice. And the two are not mutually exclusive; the light of dveikus is what gives the tzaddik the energy to burn with a continuous flame in his external avodos.

It was to this unification of avodos that Hashem referred when He commanded Moshe Rabbeinu, “And you shall command the children of Yisrael,” you shall bind for them the internal and external aspects of avodah. Like you, they must know that everything is done by Hashem alone, and He does not require our contribution. At the same time, the building up of the Shechinah does demand effort on our part, that we should “crush” ourselves for the sake of the Shechinah and the Torah. The fact that the tzaddik can hold both of these avodos together in his mind and intentions is not self-contradictory—both are needed for the completion of avodah. The external effort creates a vessel so that the freely-given light of Hashem can enter. “Those who blacken themselves for Me [with effort by going to learn early and diligently] will find Me.”[3] “Whoever blackens himself for the sake of Torah will merit to shine in the world to come.”[4]

[1] Esther 6:11
[2] Ibid., 4:1
[3] Mishlei 8:17
[4] Sanhedrin 100a; Zohar II:140a
CLICK HERE to get Toras Chochom on Tetzaveh.

CLICK HERE to get Toras Chochom on Tetzaveh in English.

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