In our service of Hashem – symbolized by the mishkan in these parshios – we utilize the material world to commune and connect with Hashem. In this letter, the Rebbe gives a clear and concise explanation of how this is possible. The letter, written originally in English, is from the archives of the Rebbe’s trusted secretary Rabbi Nissan Mindel.
By the Grace of G-d
2nd Sivan, 5711
New York, N.Y.
Greeting and Blessing:
With the approach of Shovuoh, the Festival of our Receiving the Torah, I want to send you a brief message, although I am greatly overburdened with work. This ought to indicate to you how highly I value the work of your group for advancement in both the knowledge of the Torah and the practice of its precepts.
Being G-d given, the Torah has infinite aspects. The purpose of this message is to point out to you one of the most important aspects of the Torah.
To many the Torah may be a means to gain reward and avoid punishment. Others consider the Torah as a guide to good living. I will give you my view after brief introduction.
The world is a creation by G-d. As such, it can have no common denominator with its Creator. This cannot be amplified here, for lack of space, but it should be sufficiently clear anyway.
The world consists of a variety of creatures, which are generally classified into “four kingdoms”: minerals, vegetation, animals and mankind.
Taking the highest individual of the highest group of the four mentioned above, i.e. the most intelligent of all men, there can be nothing in common between him who is a created and limited being, and G-d, the Infinite, the Creator. No analogy can even be found in the relative difference between the lowest of the lowest ‘kingdom’ and the highest of the highest, for both are created things.
However, in His infinite goodness, G-d gave us a possibility of approach and communion with Him. G-d showed us the way how a finite, created being can reach beyond his inherent limitations and commune with G-d the Infinite.
Obviously, only the Creator Himself knows the ways and means that lead to Him, and the Creator Himself knows the capacity of His creatures in using such ways and means. Herein lies one of the most important aspects of the Torah and mitzvot to us. They provide the means and the ways whereby we may reach a plane above and beyond our status as created beings. Clearly, this plane is incomparatively above the highest perfection which a man can attain within his own created (hence, limited) sphere.
From this point of view, it will no longer appear strange that the Torah and mitzvot find expression in such simple, material and physical aspects as the Dietary laws, and the like.
For our intellect is also created, and therefore limited within the boundaries of creation, beyond which it has no access. Consequently, it cannot know the ways and means that lead beyond these bounds.
The Torah, on the other hand, is the bond that unites the created with the Creator, as it is written,” and you that cleave to the G-d your G-d, are all living this day.”
To the Creator – all created things, the most corporeal as well as the most spiritual are equally removed. Hence the question, what relationship cans a material object have with G-d? has no more validity then if it referred to the most spiritual thing in its relationship to G-d.
But the Creator gave us possibility to rise, not only within our created bounds, but beyond, toward the infinite, and he desired that this possibility be open to the widest strata of humanity. Consequently, He has conditioned this possibility upon ways and means which are accessible to all, namely, the Torah and mitzvot.
From this point of view it is also clear, that no sacrifice can be too great in adhering to the Torah and mitzvot, for all sacrifices are within the limits of creation, whereas the Torah and mitzvot offer an opportunity to rise beyond such limits, as mentioned above.
It is also clear that no person has the right to renounce this Divine opportunity by professing indifference toward reward and punishment. Such views are but the product of his limited intellect which has no right to jeopardize the very essence of the soul, for the latter, being a ‘Spark of the Divine,’ is above the intellect of any argument it can produce, to deter him from the utmost perfection which he is able to attain.
I wish each and every one of you and your respective families an enjoyable and inspiring Yom Tov with lasting effects throughout the year.