Monday, June 19, 2017

Don't Separate From Your Source

The Sfas Emes teaches a fundamental principle. When we subordinate ourselves to God realizing that all our strength comes from Him, he gives us everything we need. When we separate ourselves from God, the source of everything we have, and try to take whatever we want, even what we have is taken from us.

The Sfas Emes understands this from the first Midrash in this week’s parsha.[1] The Midrash quotes a pasuk in Mishlei (18:19), “אָח נִפְשָׁע מִקִּרְיַת-עֹז .../A rebellious brother [is deprived] of a strong city …” Chazal teach ust that this pasuk is referring to Korach who rebelled against Moshe Rabbeinu. Because he rebelled, he was deprived even of the strength and honor that he had.

The Sfas Emes explains that the first words of the parsha, “וַיִּקַח קֹרַח/Korach took” imply rebellion against God. Onkelos thus, translates this as, “Korach separated himself” implying a separation from Moshe Rabbeinu and God. The Zohar explains that he took for himself.[2] One who subordinates himself completely to God has no need to take anything for himself since God gives him everything he needs. Korach’s mistake then, was that he wanted to take for himself rather than subordinate himself to Moshe Rabbeinu, from whence his honor came.

When he separated himself, even that which he had was taken from him because he cut himself off from the only source of his strength. We find this idea in a pasuk in Tehillim (84:6), “אַשְׁרֵי אָדָם עוֹז־לוֹ בָךְ .../Happy is the man whose strength is in You.” We also find in Yeshaya (27:5), “אוֹ יַחֲזֵק בְּמָעוּזִי יַעֲשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם לִי שָׁלוֹם יַעֲשֶׂה לִּי/If [Israel] would grasp my stronghold, he would make peace with me; peace, he would make with me.” By recognizing that God is the source of our strength we connect to Him and we attain peace.

The Sfas Emes explained in the previous ma’amar that the Creation is considered at peace when all parts of it elevate towards God, the One source of all. This happened for the first time on the first Shabbos, Shabbos Breishis and it happens to an extent on every Shabbos. Therefore, when we consciously recognize God as the source of everything we have, we are actively promoting an aspect of Shabbos and peace in the world. 

[1] Bamidbar R. 18:1
[2] Zohar 3:176a

ובמדרש אח נפשע מקרית עוז כו'. כי ע"י שפשע ומרד קרח בעיקר העוז והכח שהי' לו באמת רק ממרע"ה שהשפיע עליו בכלל ישראל להיות קדוש כמו שהי'. ומרד כמ"ש ויקח קרח ואתפליג כמ"ש בזוה"ק לקח לגרמי'. כי מי שנתבטל לגמרי לכח וחיות השי"ת אין לו מה ליקח. וע"י פרישתו ניטל ממנו מה שהי' לו כי כל אדם צריך לחזק עצמו בחיותו מהשי"ת כמ"ש עוז לו בך וכתיב יחזק במעוזי יעשה שלום לי שלום יעשה כו'. שעי"ז מברר חיות הפנימי ומדבק עצמו בהשי"ת. שהוא בשורש החיים שנמשך מהשי"ת לכל הנבראים בחי' שלום ושבת כנ"ל: