Latest update: June 1st, 2012
“Upon approaching a mitzvah, the mitzvah is always full of the light of life of all of the worlds – every mitzvah is filled with letters, big, incredible letters from among all of the 613 precepts which are, in turn, interdependent on each individual precept – from all of the life of the worlds which is in the secret of faith.”
What happens in the soul when a person approaches a mitzvah? A mitzvah of the Torah is also filled with pulsating letters and a stream of Divine inspirational force. The commandments themselves are fountains of life, as the Torah says, “These are the mitzvot which a man shall do and live.” The mitzvot are the channels which enable letters to flow from their Divine source to the soul. The life-force in the mitzvot adds vitality to the life-force in man. They are the circuits and conduits of life. And they too, like the letters, are microcosms of existence, bursting with the energy that G-d supplies to the world.
When a Jew performs a mitzvah, he receives a new dose of energy and life. When the letters of his soul collide and combine with the letters of the mitzvah, an explosion occurs. Like a nuclear fusion of atoms, new life is released to the soul and to all of the worlds. The union of the soul and the mitzvah is what gives the world its constant renewal. And because each individual mitzvah is integrally connected to all of the 613 precepts of the Torah, when we perform one mitzvah, we release the power of them all in a chain reaction which sends waves of Kedusha and light throughout the universe. This is the mechanism which brings life to the world. Thus, our Sages have taught that if the Jews were to stop learning Torah, God forbid, for even a moment, the whole world would come to an end.
The interrelationship between all of the 613 precepts of the Torah offers both tremendous potential and problems. Because every mitzvah is integrally connected to every other, the performance of a mitzvah can only be perfect if all of the other mitzvot are performed. This can be likened to a symphony made up of hundreds of notes. When they are all played together, they blend into a pleasing harmony. But if one note is flat, or missing, the harmony of the whole is destroyed. This is true in the life of an individual, and in the life of the nation. When a person is only performing a portion of the 613 mitzvot, his life-force is lessened. Similarly, if the Jewish nation as a whole is missing the full range of mitzvot, either because of spiritual weakness, or because of Galut, the entire life of the nation is crippled, and Divine goodness appears in the world in a dim, shattered light.
“The light of the God of life, the light of the life of the world, lives in complete harmony in the glory of every mitzvah.”
In the observance of a mitzvah, the soul meets with the light of God. This is the meaning of the Yichud prayer which some Jews say before performing a mitzvah. The mitzvah is the vehicle which unites God and His Presence with all of Clal Yisrael. A Jew cleaves to God, not only through abstract meditation, but through the performance of the practical mitzvot as well. When we perform the commandments, we connect our lives to God’s will, and to the Divine life-force which He implanted in them. This is the path to true life, through cleaving to the Divine life-force in the mitzvah, as we say upon reading the Torah: “Those who cleave to Hashem your God are all alive today.”
“As soon as we approach a commandment’s performance, all of the living letters which constitute our essence expand – we grow bigger, and become stronger and more forceful in the light of life and sublime existence which is resplendent and rich with the wealth of universal holiness and with the light of Torah and of wisdom, and all of the universe is renewed with light and life. The judgment of the world turns meritorious because of our deeds; light and truth, good will and inward satisfaction grace every face.”
About the Author: Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Creativity and Jewish Culture for his novel "Tevye in the Promised Land." A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon.The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.
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