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Mysticism - In Memoriam of Mr. David M. Warren (Menachem Dovid ben Harav Yosef Z'L)
In his introduction to Parshat Pekudei, Rabeinu Bechaya offers an interpretation to a complex verse in Proverbs (15:16). “It is best to have a little fear of G-d than an abundance (of fear) and turmoil.”

Why is it “best to have a little fear of G-d”?

Rabeinu Bechaya explains “a little fear of G-d” based upon reason is better than “an abundance” of fear based upon emotion.

A common misconception is holiness and spirituality is based upon emotion. If a person feels a connection to G-d, then it must be so. If a person closes his eyes, meditates, and thinks spiritual thoughts, then he must be having a spiritual experience.

In truth, the individual is simply fooling himself.

The human soul is constantly striving to reach new spiritual heights but the body is lazy. Achieving true spirituality is hard work. So, a person’s evil inclination convinces him that one doesn’t need to work to achieve spirituality. That feeling spiritual is being spiritual. That when one feels he’s connecting to G-d, that feeling is real. After all, what is spirituality but an emotion?

And it’s exactly this line of thinking that King Solomon feared. Hence his warning in Proverbs – “It is best to have a little fear of G-d . . .”

How, then, does one achieve true spirituality? The only way is to accept the “yoke of the kingdom of heaven”. A person must subject himself to the will of G-d. And, the only way to learn the will of G-d is through Torah study because everything that G-d desires from us is in the Torah; it would be wholly illogical to think that G-d desires something from us but chose to not put it in the Torah or that it is in the Torah but has been concealed from our greatest Torah luminaries.

Yet, even here there is a trap. Remember, the body is lazy. Torah study is exhausting. So there’s a strong temptation to leap into the most complex and esoteric areas of Torah mysticism without having first developed a strong foundation. People are drawn to Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) and the Messianic Era. They seek a “kosher” mystical experience or revelation.

Once again, we need to remember King Shlomo’s warning – “It is best to have a little fear of G-d . . .”

If a person truly wishes to reach spiritual heights, he can only do so by subjecting himself to G-d’s will. And the only way to learn G-d’s will is through Torah study. By pretending otherwise or seeking non-existent shortcuts, a person only robs himself of the opportunity to grow spiritually.

Studying aspects of the Torah that are above and beyond a person’s ability to understand will only cause inner turmoil and distract a person from truly delving into the Torah. His fear of G-d will be grounded in emotion and his spiritual growth will be stymied.

In Parshat Pekudei, the Jewish people are given exacting instructions regarding the construction of the Tabernacle. After each section of instructions, the Torah says “as G-d commanded Moses”. Sixteen times in this Parsha alone, the Torah says “as G-d commanded Moses”. Why? Because the only way to build a dwelling place for the Holy One, Blessed is He, is to do “as G-d commanded Moses”. And the only way to make our hearts a dwelling place for G-d is to do “as G-d commanded Moses.
Shabbat Shalom


 
   
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