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Thought for the Day: Drawing on Metaphysical Resources in This World to Achieve Eternity

I sometimes like to listen to music while I am driving.  Not enough to actually buy CDs, so I have the radio tuned to a country western station.  The nice thing about country western is that the lyrics are usually reasonably about "down home values" and/or losing the same.  (You know what happens when you play a country western song backwards?  You get your dog, your job, and your wife back.)  Unfortunately, though, radio is really a sales media that hooks you in with music. If I hear an ad, then I just turn the radio off; better luck next time.  This morning, though, before I could get the radio switched off, I heard one line from an ad campaign: "All men are created equal; then they get dressed."  Holy hashgacha!  That was just what I needed to understand a G"ra I had learned with my Mishlei chavrusa this morning.

The G"ra is on Mishlei 6:20, for those of you who want to look it up yourself; which I highly recommend.  It's one of those G"ra's that is using the Mishlei as a jumping off point to explain something very fundamental about reality.  The relationship between Torah and mitzvos, the G"ra explains is analogous to the relationship between chachma (wisdom) and bina (understanding).  Torah and chochma work behind the scenes motivating and rendering decisions.  Mitzvos and bina are the tools to actually express those decisions.  Similarly, a person is comprised of a spiritual, hidden component, and a physical and revealed component.  The spiritual is, obviously, the neshama.  The physical, however, is not just the body; it is also the clothing and place of residence.  All three of those, notes the G"ra are needed to get one's job done in this world.

At this point, one might ask, "So what's the difference between a goy and a Jew?  We both have souls, bodies, clothing, and residences.  True enough, but the difference between a goy and a Jew is something like the difference between little computer in your cell phone and a super computer.  They look very similar and a super computer can run all the same programs as that little guy in your cell phone; though maybe not as effectively, as it wasn't designed for that.  A Jew was designed and built for a wholly different purpose than the goy; a Jew is designed for holiness -- infinite potential.  To be effective, though, the Jew needs to access those potentials; he needs to hook them up the power source, as it were.

The G"ra says that pasuk that begins, "With seven per day I praise You..." (T'hillim 119:164), is referring to the seven mitzvos with which we connect our physicality to their source of k'dusha: t'fillin (2) on the body, tzitzis (4) on the body, mezuzah (1).  Use those and you are catapulted from just part of the system to a vehicle that connects actions in this world to eternal reward in the next.  Ignore those and you are a tragically sad waste of potential.

The G"ra also notes that the mitzvah of arba minim is also seven; shades of the Shelah HaKodesh.  In case you are wondering why tztitzis counts as four even though it is only one mitzvah while t'fillin shel rosh counts as only one even though it is four boxes... I have a m'halach in that.


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