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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Yom Kippur Thoughts

Pre Yom-Kippur thoughts. The Maggid of Mezritch writes (צוואת הריב"ש, עמ' י-יא):

ואני בוטח בו שהוא ברא כל העולמות בדבריו יש מאין והכל מאין נגדו והוא משגיח עליהם לתת להם שפע וחיותם וכ"ש שיכול להוריד לי כח וישגיח בחסדיו גם עלי ויצילני שלא יבטל אותי יצה"ר בשום דבר בענויי שיאמר לי שאני חלש ונתייבשו המוחין שלי וכן כמה פיתויים

I trust in Him – that He Who created all the worlds through His word Ex Nihilo and compared to Whom all of existence is nullified and He watches over them [the worlds] to give them their sustenance – All the more so that He can grant me strength and in His mercy watch over me and that He shall rescue me so that my evil inclination will not afflict me by saying that I am weak and that my intellect has dulled and other similar enticements.

This basic idea in chassidus is quite revolutionary in its implications. It straddles quietism and activism simultaneously seeing man as that creature in the world which can passively receive and behold divine Will while at the same time seeing man’s personal strength and activity as the correct manner in which to channel that Will. Many people see teshuva as a process which weakens man’s will and forces him to come to terms with his own failings and his true insignificance in the world. The approach of the Mezritcher is the exact opposite –any view which causes man to acknowledge his own weakness is a result of the evil inclination. Each of us must become strengthened and aware of our abilities to channel the light of Hashem into this dark world. This task will not be achieved through acknowledgement of weakness but rather by a strengthening of the divine component of our will.

May we all merit to gain more strength this Yom Kippur. May Hashem forgive all the sins of the Jewish people and may this year be the year of our final redemption.