Parshat Yitro Dvar Torah
By: Steve Kirschenbaum
Generally, there’s a Ruach, a spirit to things, and a Chomer, a raw physicality. There’s a Machshava, an intention, and a Masseh, an action carried out by man. It’s obvious to us that the Ruach is greater than the Chomer. The Machshava is greater and deeper than the Maaseh, just like it’s clear to us that the heavens are above the earth. Sof Maaseh BiMachshava Techilah. Right now, it’s clear to us that this is the hierarchy. However, at the end of days, there’s going to be a reversal of the system. All of what Geulah and Olam HaBah is about, according to Pnimiyus HaTorah, is the unification of body and soul to the point where the body is on a higher level than the soul. When a Jew infuses physicality with Kedusha, that’s more of a Chiddush than infusing a Daf of Gemara with Kedusha. Everyone understands the Daf Gemara is holy; but if one can demonstrate that exercising, eating some pizza, or going to work is holy, that’s greater Kvod Shamayim.
The Tachlis of life is to bring Kvod Shamayim to this world. While in a certain sense learning Torah is the greatest expression of giving Kavod to HKBH, it’s the greatest because it’s the most obvious. Even learning Shelo Lishma, Chazal say Mitoch Shelo Lishma Ba Lishma. The Etzem Davar is holy in and of itself. On the other hand, most people exercise, eat, or go to work to satisfy their own physical needs or pleasure. A person who can elevate the Gashmiyus ultimately attains the true Tachlis of the Briah. To elevate and transform the physical into the spiritual. Le’ased Lavo, that’s what we’re trying to achieve the realization that the physical can be elevated.
The Shamayim represents the world of Ruchniyus and the Aretz represents the world of Maaseh, physicality. HaShamayim Shamayim LaHashem Ve’ha’aretz Nasan Li’vnai Adam. The heavens are the domain of HKBH and the earth is the domain of man. The goal is that everything as it exists in the higher realms should manifest itself here below in the lower realms, in the physical world.
This is the VaYered Hashem El Har Sinai by Kabbalas HaTorah. Bringing the Torah down from the Shamayim and implanting it within the Aretz. When we learn that G-d desires a Dirah B’tachtonim, it doesn’t mean HKBH wants to dwell down here on earth as opposed to Shamayim. He’s Melo Kol Ha’aretz Kvodo. Ain Od Milvado. There’s no ‘up there’ or ‘down here’ for HKBH; He’s everywhere. A Dirah B’tachtonim means HKBH wants His light to shine even on the lowest of Madreigos, the lowest of places — to show that even here, in this lowly place, I’m in control. G-d is found even in those lowly places where it looks completely devoid of G-dliness. That’s the biggest Kvod Shamayim one can create.
The Beis Aharon, Reb Aharon Karliner, teaches that part of VaYisyasvu B’tachtis HaHar, that Klal Yisrael stood at the foot of the mountain, or more so, Kafah Aleihem HaHar Kegigis, that Klal Yisrael stood under the mountain, is a manifestation of this idea of bringing Elokus to the lowest of places. He writes that a Jew who’s on the lowest level is also connected to Kabbalas HaTorah. This is the point of Kabbalas HaTorah; you can even be B’tachtis HaHar, at the lowest point of the mountain. ‘Har’ signifies Galus. The numerical value of the four Galuyos (Bavel + Madai + Yavan + Edom) is Har. Tachtis HaHar means the lowest Galus in which a Jew could fall. Precisely in that place HKBH is showing that in a world where He seems hidden and there’s a perception of Hester Panim, He’s still in control. Therefore, the Tachlis is achieved when the earth is ultimately infused with Kedusha. The Shamayim is going to be on the receiving end of the Aretz. Emes Mai’eretz Titzmach, the Emes is going to go in the reverse and will sprout from the earth. The advantage of the Aretz over Shamayim will be recognized by all.
The goal is for the Emes to be Mai’eretz Titzmach. We know G-d is Emes as Chosmo Emes, the seal of HKBH is Emes. Can a person give Nitzchiyus to something which seems so finite; to take the finite Aretz and make it eternal? That’s the challenge. The Kotzker Rebbe and Sfas Emes both explain HaShamayim Shamayim LaHashem Veha’aretz Nasan Li’vnei Adam. Simply understood, the heavens are for HKBH and the Aretz is for lowly man. Says the Kotzker and the Sfas Emes, it’s really the opposite. We’re elevating something from a lower place and bringing it to a higher place. G-d says I have given you the Aretz, I want you to turn it into Shamayim; I made the Shamayim and I gave you the Aretz to uplift it to the heavens. This is true Kvod Shamayim.