Monday, June 4, 2018

Serving God Through Simplicity

Photo (c) Dovid Sears

By Rabbi Nachman Goldstein, Rav of Tcherin, zatzal
Parpara’os LeChokhmah on Likutey Moharan II, 5:13

Every Jew possesses a spark of Moses. This is the quality of da’as d’kedushah (holy knowledge). Nevertheless, it is forbidden to seek to increase one’s knowledge without restraint. Thus, it is written, “Do not inquire into that which is too wondrous for you....”[1] for it is impossible to grasp these lofty matters. Although the king’s son may be permitted to explore the royal treasury, there are places where even he may not enter.
The Zohar states: “Every Jew must serve God as a son and as a servant.”[2] As a son, one must explore the king’s treasury through da’as, personified by Moses; this is the capacity for holy knowledge that each person possesses. At the same time, one must remain a humble servant of God, performing the Divine will with wholehearted simplicity.
Whatever one’s spiritual level, there are realms of knowledge into which it is forbidden to venture, even with the quality of the “son,” which is the spark of Moses that we possess. Wherever one may stand, there are perceptions in the category of “that which is too wondrous for you.” However, a person on a higher rung, whose da’as is greater, would be permitted to enter these wondrous realms.
Paradoxically, only by restraining the desire for wisdom and choosing to serve God with simplicity can one acquire the ability to grasp the perceptions that formerly remained beyond his ken.
These perceptions were in the category of the profound mysteries that Moses could not grasp during his lifetime—particularly the mystery of the suffering of the righteous and the prospering of the wicked. This corresponds to the knowledge that transcended the seeking individual’s da’as. However, by serving God with simplicity he may attain perfect discernment, and the mysteries of Divine justice will be revealed to him. These perceptions correspond to the sublime level attained by Moses after his passing from the world.

[1] Chagigah 13b
[2] Zohar II, 111b.

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