The unappreciated mitzvah
“הַהִתְבּוֹדְדוּת הוּא מַעֲלָה עֶלְיוֹנָה וּגְדוֹלָה מִן הַכּל”
“Secluded and improvised prayer [in ones native tongue] is the greatest asset and higher than everything else”
The Ramchal doesn’t even waste one page in his magnum opus, Mesilas Yesharim, before telling us that the entire purpose of the world is להתענג על ה’ ולהנות מזיו שכינתו, to delight in the transcendency of the Divine presence. In fact, this all-encompassing ‘life-purpose’ is an explicit mitzvah in the Torah as it says “וּב֣וֹ תִדְבָּ֔ק”, “you should cleave to Him”. This is called D’veikus, an out of body experience of oneness. In D’veikus, you’re bound with something much greater than yourself.
The Zohar states in many places that the 613 mitzvos are 613 עיתין, pieces of advice, in which one can elevate his soul to its Divine source. But it’s not just a mystical thing. The Talmud says (Berachos 21a) “ולוואי שיתפלל אדם כל היום כולו”, would it only be that we would pray all day!
“The biggest lie in Torah tradition is that [only] at the end of [performing] all the mitzvos, and all its stringencies is when you reach D’veikus” – Rabbi Doniel Katz
The truth is exactly the opposite. We have a direct relationship with Hashem. The mitzvos help us broaden, deepen, strengthen and intensify that supernatural relationship that we already have. I like to compare it to the time between Passover and Shavuot. The Arizal says that on the first night of Passover we attain tremendous מוחין, consciousness. Then we lose it, because our bodies are insufficient vessels to hold the light. The avodah (work) of Sefirat Haomer is Tikkun Hamiddos, to build the proper emotional fortitude to get back to the place that we already reached.
My friends, I don’t need to tell you that, since our Holy temple has been destroyed, we have lost the forest in the trees. We are so bogged down by mitzvah performance that we’ve almost totally lost the mitzvah experience. 😫
Take a stand! Don’t settle for the monotonous, boring, and unfulfilling mitzvah observance. We have the ability to connect within us. Maybe, as a suggestion, together we can create a powerful collective consciousness by trying to have a bit of extra intent when we make the blessing in the morning on learning Torah?
:בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ לַעֲסוֹק בְּדִבְרֵי תוֹרָה:
וְהַעֲרֵב נָא, יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ, אֶת דִּבְרֵי תוֹרָתְךָ בְּפִינוּ וּבְפִיּוֹת עַמְּךָ בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְנִהְיֶה אֲנַחְנוּ וְצֶאֱצָאֵינוּ, וְצֶאֱצָאֵי עַמְּךָ בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל, כֻּלָּנוּ יוֹדְעֵי שְׁמֶךָ, וְלוֹמְדֵי תוֹרָתְךָ לִשְׁמָהּ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה, הַמְלַמֵּד תּוֹרָה לְעַמּוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל:
Roughly translated – Hashem, our God, King of the universe, You are the source of all blessing, and You uplifted us with the mitzvah of studying Torah. Please make the words of Torah sweet in our mouths, so that we and all our future progeny know Your name and learn Your Torah for its own sake. You are the source of all blessing, Hashem, who teaches Torah to His nation, Israel. Amen!
Torah and mitzvos are sweet because we can transcend through them. It sure is not automatic, but it’s also not impossible. We can know Hashem’s name. That is a blissful state.