Monday, October 6, 2008

Moshe & Rebbe Nachman - Remembering the Purpose of Life

In the 2nd piece in in the Mei Hashiloach in Parshas Vayelech, the Izbitzer comments on the pasuk in Devarim 31:2, "לֹא-אוּכַל עוֹד, לָצֵאת וְלָבוֹא," [where Moshe said about himself that he] can no longer go and come. He points out that Moshe is saying about himself, on his last day of life, that he had reached the highest level of perfection that he was capable of reaching in life and could therefore no longer ascend to any higher level. That is why he had to die at that time, since the whole point of life is to grow to higher levels in Deveikus with Hashem. He was no longer able to ascend, and so there was no longer any point in him living any more.

Along the same lines, Rav Nasson brings down that Rebbe Nachman said said the same thing about himself, in Sichos HaRan, Siman 179, quoted in the Likutei Halachos Chumash, on the above-quoted pasuk. He quoted Rebbe Nachman as saying about himself, "I want to take off my coat (my physical body) already because I cannot stand staying on only one level." He also brought down that Rebbe Nachman said that he had to die because he was already holding at a level above which he could not attain as long as he was still enclothed within a physical body. Therefore, he was longed, in a very strong way, to shed his body and ascend.

What we can gain from such lofty levels by these Tzadikim is the awareness, going into Yom Kippur, that our purpose in life is not just to enjoy life or just be be frum. It is to continue growing in avodas and Deveikus BaShem. Our lives have no purpose and are not worth living if they are not directed toward this purpose.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. And, as Chazal say, "Na'utz techilas b'sofan v'sofan b'techilasan," ends and beginnings are intertwined. This means that, just as it says in Lecha Dodi, "Sof Ma'aseh b'machshava techila," the end result is always first in thought. One must begin his life (which one does every day, as the expression goes, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life") with the goal of life in mind the whole way through.

May we merit to remember that the purpose of life is to keep growing and not stay static in my and your relationship with Hashem and through remembering this, live lives which lead to that result!

-Dixie Yid

(Picture of the purported Har Nevo courtesy of picasaweb)

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Menashe said...

Interestingly enough, almost all of the chassidus chabad I have learned has drilled into me that the point of avodah is not dveikus in itself but in being mkayim the ratzon haelyon davka by making a dira btachtonim down here in the lower worlds. Even if this means that we fail to grow spiritually. That this results in growing spiritually is the likely consequence but not the fact a preparation for this avodah is shying away from the physical (ie. chinuch, yeshiva and kollel largely separated from tzarchei gashmius) but the climax is the stage that comes after this.

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...


No argument regarding shying away from the physical in general.

But as the the Ramchal says in Derech Hashem & Mesillas Yesharim, Deveikus is the point. Though one achieves that by making one's life a Dira B'tachtonim. When I make myself a merkava to as great an extent as possible, a kli of Ratzon Hashem & hashro'as hashechina, i.e. Dira B'tachtonim, that's one and the same with Deveikus. How can you have one without the other?

You might say one could just do ratzon hashem without having a spiritual mindset or actually think of G-d, but this wouldn't really be a full Dira b'tachtonim if you aren't doing it 100% b/c of Hashem. Right?

-Dixie Yid