With an Eye on Eternity - Chapter 3
With an Eye on Eternity
This Book in One Big Document
The universe was brought into existence primarily because the Creator desired to create man so that he might have the opportunity to become close to Him and thereby enjoy true goodness. This purpose was incorporated into the world by providing man with the option of choosing to follow one of two courses: the road of good or the road of evil. Man was endowed with the ability to choose whichever of the two roads he desires. When he chooses the good through his understanding and desire and rejects the wrong, then this true and everlasting good will be given him.
All other creations in our universe were created only because Highest Divine Wisdom saw a need for them to exist in order to fashion a complete universe. In such a universe, man would find himself in the aforementioned circumstances, making it possible for him to serve G-d and thereby achieve genuine good. What specific need there is for the world to contain the multitude of various creations is not known to us. However, what has been handed down to us from our Sages z"l is that the main element of the universe is man. It is specifically for him that all of these creations were brought forth into the world, and the essential purpose of man's creation was solely that he might attain genuine, everlasting good.
The true essence of good and evil is as follows. The Creator established in the world Holiness and Spiritual Pollution. The definition of kedushah (holiness) is the state of being close to the Creator. Tumah (spiritual pollution) is the state of being distant from Him. Kedushah is an emanation, an influence which the Creator channels down to one who is worthy of it and which rests upon him in the form of holiness. Tumah is a state of distancing: the Creator distances Himself from a man or an object, and by withdrawing, He conceals Himself from him.
For this particular purpose the Creator created certain spiritual forces, forces from which darkness and spiritual pollution emanate [and are channeled down to our world.] Wherever this spiritual uncleanness enters, the kedushah retreats, and at the same time the light of the Creator becomes concealed. These are called "the forces of tumah."
The Creator invested man's actions with the power to draw from the sources of the upper world and to bring down (a) the light of the Creator's emanation of holiness (kedushah) and the light of His goodness, or (b) pollution and uncleanness. The Creator designated a set of actions through which kedushah is transmitted and commanded man to engage in them continually; these are the general body of mitzvohs. He also earmarked a set of actions through which pollution is drawn down, and He commanded man to abstain from them; these comprise the general body of Torah prohibitions.
The essence of genuine good lies solely in the attachment of manto Hashem. We have explained that it is the mitzvohs which bring down the emanation of Hashem's holiness and the light of His goodness; therefore, this is the medium through which His genuine good can be attained. He who exerts much effort to sanctify himself through the emanations of Hashem's holiness is the one worthy to be attached to Him and to enjoy true good. He who is heavily involved in those actions and deeds which are associated with the spiritual pollution, which was mentioned previously, is unworthy of attaching himself to Hashem and will be thrust aside from Him.
The emanations of kedushah or tumah are made up of numerous levels. Paralleling these levels are also many respective levels of good which are acquired through involvement in good deeds or in being thrust aside because of bad deeds. These comprise the essential differences in status that one finds between one man and another, as will be explained later.
One must realize that just as the option was given man to bring down for himself [from the fountain-head of the upper world] holiness or pollution, so were his actions empowered with the ability to bring down to the universe as a whole, holiness or pollution. It follows then that the universe as a whole becomes perfected or spoiled through man. The tzaddikim are deemed meritorious because they benefit the whole world. And on the other hand, there falls grave liability upon the reshoim (the wicked) because they ruin the whole world.
Each time one of the creations of the lower world acts, its movements affect corresponding forces in the upper world. Through this particular upper world forces there is effected a channeling down of specific emanations. If an action executed here below falls into the category of those obligations which we are commanded to fulfill (the mitzvohs), then the force to which it is linked above will be stirred and reinforced, and through it an emanation of Holiness will be channeled down from the Creator. The quality and quantity of the emanation will be commensurate with the degree of ardor manifested [in the fulfillment of the mitzvoh]. If the action belongs to the category of Torah prohibitions (issurim) it will then produce a blemish in a parallel, upper-world force which is a function of the make-up of the negative deed. Consequently, the light of Hashem becomes distanced and concealed. In its place one of the opposing forces of tumah will be stirred, and the influence of holiness will become concealed. At this point a flow of spiritual "slime" will be drawn down; its quantity and potency is based upon the extent to which it was stirred.
In a similar vein, through teshuva (repentance), the blemish is removed, and the forces of tumah lose their power to channel down influence. The emanation of kedushah then returns and is transmitted appropriately.
This Book in One Big Document
The Kest-Lebovits Jewish Heritage and Roots Library
and is distributed by Feldheim Publishers
© 1994 Rabbi Yehudah Lebovits
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