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Shabbat Parashat Shelach | 5769
Ein Ayah: When to Raise One’s Head; Embarrassment as a Cleansing Agent
(based on Ein Ayah, Berachot I, 165)
Gemara: One bends his knees at the word “baruch.” He straightens his body at the mention of His Name, as it is says: “Hashem makes the bent-over erect” (Tehillim 146:8).
Ein Ayah: The path to shleimut (completeness) requires one to first bend over (suppress) several bad powers. Therefore, the way to shleimut is to enter through the narrow pathway. However, that is only when a person is lacking in his status. When he reaches the goal, which is true knowledge of Hashem, he will feel that by adding work, all of the powers of his spirit grow and become more powerful, since they were turned into good powers. Thus it is true that humbling oneself and breaking some of his power is needed in the service of Hashem. However, this is only in regard to preparing oneself to reach the ideal state. The goal, though, is to reach a point where one gives off the light of Hashem with great power and joy, when all the powers of his spirit will stand up straight with much might and wonderful, elevated vigor.
That which the pasuk says, “Before My Name he lowered himself” (Malachi 2:5) is talking only about before His Name, when one is at a point on the path where he must conquer the bad powers that are preventing him from reaching the shleimut of knowledge of Hashem. It does not say that he lowers himself “in Hashem.” Rather, another pasuk says, “I will make you powerful, as you know My Name” (Tehillim 91:14). The root of the matter is that man’s spirit is essentially good, and any good thing can provide it with more vigor. His bad parts are just “by chance” due to the darkness of his body. Therefore, when one has already conquered these external problems, the more strength he adds the better. Weakening the spirit, which those who lack wisdom think must come with fear of Hashem, is not the highest level. Rather, the highest level is the vigor of the spirit and its dependency on the living G-d.
Embarrassment as a Cleansing Agent
(based on Ein Ayah, Berachot I, 169)
Gemara: Whoever sins and is embarrassed is forgiven for all of his sins.
Ein Ayah: When bad things become powerful and are incorporated in the essence of one’s spirit, the sinner is unable to feel any embarrassment because the bad fits in with his lowered self-honor. Therefore, such a corrupt soul is not fit to stand among the holy to see the pleasantness of Hashem, for there is the storehouse of goodness and “evil will not live with You” (Tehillim 5:5).
However, when a person elevates his spirit above the lowliness of corruption, he will be embarrassed by his bad actions and the pain of embarrassment will cause him to more completely despise bad and desire the good he is missing. Even if he is yet to strengthen the good, the bad has already stopped being so naturally entrenched in his spirit. Under such circumstances, his sins are forgiven because the feeling of good embarrassment that is aroused in the spirit spreads to cause him to despise all evil. Therefore, his spirit is already fit to be among the righteous and holy. The remaining evil that clings based on actions must be removed by punishment and affliction, which Hashem will mercifully do, but the root of the spirit will be saved. It is different for a brazen person who knows no embarrassment and for whom evil is an acquired matter. He will not be cleansed like souls that have chance stains of evil. He needs a change in the soul’s nature, for which gehinom (hell) is designed. Therefore, the brazen are set for gehinom and the embarrassed are set for Gan Eden (Avot 5:20) to enjoy Hashem and His goodness.
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This edition of Hemdat Yamim is dedicated to the memory of
R ' Meir ben Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld
Hemdat Yamim is endowed by
and Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l.