Now there’s a new way of serving God
(Read Part I HERE)
At the beginning of Am Yisrael becoming a nation, the whole order of drawing closer to Hashem had to occur in a similar way to the exodus from Egypt. But, we didn’t manage to stay the course, so Hashem created a ‘new order’ of serving Him, and that began with the festival of Purim.
The meaning is that now, we have to start with the ‘order’ of spiritual rectification that was set down at Purim for how to serve Hashem, and by doing this, we’ll manage to get back to Pesach.
That doesn’t mean that Hashem somehow cancelled out the spiritual rectification associated with Pesach. Rav Natan explains that this means that now, we have to start over with the spiritual rectifications of Purim, and then afterwards we’ll be able to continue on the path of Pesach. We need to try to understand what we’re being told a little clearer.
Pesach is a very high way of serving God
At its root, the festival of Pesach revealed an extremely lofty form of serving Hashem, both communally as a nation, and to each one of us as individuals. This is a higher spiritual path than the one that was subsequently set out on Purim. Purim was a step-down, a descent from that high spiritual level, when Hashem lowered His spiritual expectations of us.
Hashem sent us down to this world because He desired for us to serve Him from this lowly place of hester, hiddenness, where we are surrounded by challenges and difficulties.
The angels also serve Hashem, and they also have prayers, songs, melodies and spiritual unifications – the angels have all of these things.
The holy books tell us that the angels are fire, which is why they are called seraphim (‘burnt’), because they are burning with all their holiness. In this world, so many times we get to the time to pray, we take the siddur (prayer book) – and baruch Hashem that we can even manage to mumble the words!
It’s very hard for us to connect to Hashem
So often, this is what happens when we try to pray: we simply read the words. In the reality that we find ourselves in, it’s very hard to connect to God. And that’s when we have to remind ourselves that our world has been like this from its inception.
Hashem created our world by ‘hiding’ Himself, and He did this because He desired the spiritual service that could only be performed in the lower, lowly worlds.
The light of teshuva
Someone brought me a book by the first Rav Kook, called ‘Orot Teshuva’ (the light of teshuva), which contains a number of awesome secrets about teshuva. Rav Kook says there: A person wants to make teshuva, and then he faces terrible miniot (obstacles), because his nature, his desire and his character traits don’t really make it possible for him to make teshuva. And yet despite this, he grasps hold of the idea of making teshuva.
What this means is that he doesn’t let go of his wanting to make teshuva, and his thinking about making teshuva.
In the future, it will be revealed that in that place where a baal teshuva stands – that place that was full of enormous difficulties, and enormous obstacles to drawing closer to God, yet the baal teshuva didn’t give up on his teshuva – no-one else can stand.
Because a baal teshuva is considered to be a tzaddik, and there is no way of measuring the size of the spiritual insights he will attain in the future, because of the difficulties he’s experiencing now.
Translated and adapted from Rav Ofer Erez’s writings in the Ohr HaDaat newsletter #121