Rabbi Zvi Homnick, Beis Moshiach
Two men walked into a bar and one of the men ordered a drink. When the bartender placed the glass of whiskey in front of him, he pushed it over to the other man and in a commanding tone ordered him to drink. After this scene repeated itself a few times, the bartender could not contain his curiosity and asked the men what was going on.
The man doing the drinking explained that his family had staged an “intervention” to force him to admit that he was an alcoholic. In order to prove to them that he was not, he committed to never taking a drink unless somebody else bought it for him and instructed him to drink it.
Turning to the other man, the bartender asked, “Why are you buying him drinks and telling him to drink?”
The man answered, “Are you kidding? He’s paying me good money…”
We concluded the previous installment with a question, “How can created beings that experience reality as if they are not a part of Him, not even like sons that are an extension of Him, turn themselves and the world into something they and it are not?”
Chassidus asks and addresses this very question from many different angles and on many different levels. Since we are in the middle of addressing the role of our generation (the “seventh generation” corresponding to the divine attribute of Malchus) in completing the process of turning our selves and our world into a “dwelling” for G-d Himself in “the lowly realms,” we will proceed directly to what the Rebbe explains is the “bottom line” of everything that Chassidus has to say on the topic.
As the Alter Rebbe explains in Iggeres HaKodesh, epistle 20, the act of creating “something from nothing” is exclusively the purview of Atzmus (Hashem’s very “Essence”). The “chain of worlds” detailed in the writings of Kabbala, which results from the process of contracting and filtering G-dly spiritual “light,” only leads to progressively lower levels of spirituality but does not “create” anything that did not exist previously.
In order to create a new physical reality, which both reflects and covers up the divine truth of reality that nothing else exists except for G-d, Hashem channeled His infinite creative powers of Atzmus through His “emanated” attributes. That is why there are some creations that express His attribute of Chessed (created on the first day of creation) and others that express His attribute of Gevura (created on the second day of creation), and so on. However, the actual “act” of creation is carried out by the attribute of Malchus, which gives expression to all of the higher attributes as well as the power that Atzmus has to create, “And G-d said, let there be light.”
Sounds complicated? Actually, in real life terms (at least when monarchies were still in power), when a king issues orders, he is expressing not only his will and his ideas and feelings as to what is best for his people (his personal “attributes”), he is also expressing his very self as king. In fact, to the average subject in his kingdom who is incapable of grasping what is in the mind and heart of the king, the only thing that comes through is the fact that it is an order of the king, and any deviation from the king’s orders is a betrayal of the king himself.
Then again, once the king expresses himself in words, it is easy to get caught up in what is being said rather than who is doing the saying, since in order to comprehend speech your mind shifts from “who” to “what,” from the singular (person speaking) to the plural (letters, words, concepts). So if the world is the spoken word of Hashem as King and Creator, how do we get past the physical plurality that is the “what” of the world and relate to the “who,” Hashem Himself? Obviously, we are supposed to do that through Torah and Mitzvos, as they are illuminated by the teachings of Chassidus.
But what about people whose physical minds and hearts are so desensitized to holiness and spirituality that they are not very moved by the deepest secrets of the divine and the knowledge that they possess an inborn super-love and super-bittul? What about those who were raised on these teachings and even openly question their relevance? The only answer is to reach for the ultimate l’chatchila ariber, the power of the lowest to reach for the highest, the power of Malchus to express the infinite creative power of Atzmus which the higher faculties and attributes cannot. Or as the Rebbe would repeat over and over again, “Action is the main thing.”
Through kabbolas ol, “accepting the yoke” of Hashem’s Malchus, committing to carry out every order of the King, simply because it is the order of the King, whether I understand it or not, whether I am feeling it or not, I am relating only to the King Himself. The only thing that matters is the “who” and not the “what.” My only interest in the “what” is only insofar as it serves the ultimate “who.”
By exercising Malchus over thought, speech and action, one reaches higher and relates directly to Atzmus, so that the “what” no longer covers up the “who,” and the infinite creative power of Atzmus is revealed. Once the cover-up is removed, the super-love and super-bittul of my G-dly soul can now shine through in a revealed way and channel that infinite creative power of Atzmus. It is that power which enables me to recreate my human mind and animal heart, as well as the world around me, into a “dwelling” for Hashem in which every “what” of existence expresses the “who” of the Creator.
“Action is the main thing” is not meant to be a limiting statement, relegating the avoda of the mind and heart to some relic of the past, a fascinating footnote in the history of Chassidus. Actually, the opposite is true, it is meant to free your true self as a “son of G-d” to fully express your super-love and super-bittul in an unprecedented manner that could not be accomplished in earlier generations, or in the words of the Rebbe, “to start living Geula already now.”
That ability becomes even more revealed when the kabbolas ol and exercise of Malchus is directed towards carrying out the directives of the Moshiach of the generation and to implementing the advice and guidance of the prophet of the generation, whose authority derives from the fact that Hashem Himself anointed him as king and granted him that prophecy…
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