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Gotta do the work

Thursday, 30 January, 2020 - 10:16 pm

While the Torah comes from Heaven, it was given on this Earth.  It can be tempting to want to soar heavenward in our pursuit of spiritual fulfillment.  In many ways it is easier to get lost in a spiritual high or in a spiritual event.  It's less demanding and doesn't require the inner work we need to put in to truly create transformation.

While doing the day to day hard work of personal transformation and engaging with the physical reality may seem to be the work of the unholy, it is in fact the most holy.  It is a simple act of kindness, a small victory over our negative spirits and the small act of a mitzvah that achieves the highest of spiritual connections.

When The Torah speaks about the plague of darkness.  The Torah says that the darkness pervaded over Egypt for three days. Rashi explains; this is because while the darkness was at play the Jews sought out where the Egyptians kept their riches. So that when they left Egypt the Egyptians were not able to deny that they possessed these riches because the ews had already seen them and identified them.

There are two reasons the Jews needed to take these riches with them.  The first is to fulfill the promise that Hashem made to Abraham when He told of the Egyptian slavery "and afterwards they will go out with great wealth".  The second is that the wealth represented spiritual sparks and energies that were captured by the unholy forces that were Egypt at the time.

Accordingly, the Exodus and the removing of this wealth was a fulfillment of G-d's instruction.

Rashi is teaching us that when it comes to fulfilling Hashem's commandments, we have to work hard to seek out the spark and fulfill it on natural terms.  While Hashem set the stage in a miraculous manner, (as He always does), the Jews still needed to do the hard work of searching and seeking in order to fulfill their Mitzvah.

It's always rewarding to do the work when fulfilling a mitzvah.

Good Shabbos!

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman
Edited from an email by Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman 


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