The Journey of the Soul – Yirah 4
The Journey of the Soul 4
אֲדֹנָי שְׂפָתַי תִּפְתָּח וּפִי יַגִּיד תְּהִלָּתֶךָ
A-dnai sifatai tiftach, ufi yagid tehilatecha—
G‑d, Open my lips, that my mouth can declare Your praise
What of man? He is weak like a worm, overwhelmed with toil and an unending workload. Because of this, his mind is confused and his intellect thick and he gratefully slumbers in the beckoning arms of laziness. Through the siren call of base desires, he is stricken with blindness and confusion. How can he face his enemy and not fall slain at his feet in the heat of battle? What is the strategy to end the raging war against the evil inclination, and the secret to stop the spirit of desire that roars unendingly like a churning sea? Man’s only hope is to fortify himself with the Fear of the Almighty G-d and His Punishment. This fear is an impregnable fortress that can deliver him from every enemy and attack. It is mighty enough to bind his desires and prevent the evil intentions of his heart from bursting into a destructive rampage. Only it can serve as a valorous right arm to still the wild tempest of the evil inclination and allow man to emerge victorious in battle. All of this was revealed to us by the wisest of men, Shlomo HaMelech. It was he who taught us that the only effective weapon in the battle against the yetzer hara is the FEAR OF HASHEM, like arrow in an archer’s quiver.
Ohr Yisrael The classic writings of Rav Yisrael Salanter and his disciple Rave Yitzchak Blazer Targum/Feldheim Page 70
The word YIRAT in Hebrew links two English words. One is Fear. The other is Awe.
Iyov (Job) 28.28
וַיֹּאמֶר לָאָדָם הֵן יִרְאַת אֲדֹנָי הִיא חָכְמָה וְסוּר מֵרָע בִּינָה
And to man he said, Behold, the fear of the L-rd, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding. Iyov (Job) 28.28
The sum of the matter when all has been considered: Fear (Yirat Elokim) G-d and (everything from Alef to Tav) keep His Mitzvotav (Commandments).
Job chose to challenge G-d demonstrating his loyalty to G-d. As we studied before
Learning, studying Torah opens our hearts and minds to the TRUTH.
Fear (Awe) of G-d and the determination to turn from evil and do good are necessary prerequisites for the acquisition of wisdom and understanding.
So how does one acquire Awe of HaShem?
Everything is in the hand of heaven except the fear of heaven – All man’s qualities are fixed by nature, but his moral character depends on his own choice. Talmud Berachot 33b
If children are brought up with some spiritual training it is easier for them to understand right from wrong. When my grandson was young and participated in sports there were no winners or losers. Everyone got a trophy. That just teaches the wrong message. Some children today have no concept of right and wrong so they would not be afraid to do something that is morally wrong.
Is G-d a god of Judgement? YES!!! Look at the Torah. Adam and Chava were expelled from Gan Eden because they disobeyed the command to not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and because the fruit they ate was not theirs, they stole it. Enoch walked with G-d; G-d took him from this sinful world. Noach and his family were saved from a depraved generation who only thought of themselves and their pleasures. The world was destroyed because G-d Judged it to be unredeemable. Abraham lived during a time when Noach was still alive yet he had a heart that sought TRUTH. He was not satisfied with the answers he was given about who were actually the creator of creation.
We need to become like Abraham and seek Truth. Abraham began the world of Tikkum. Tikkum Olam means to fix or repair the world as we know it. The Torah contains both an internal and external aspect. The internal of the Torah deals with the spiritual worlds and our souls. These mitzvoth have the power to unify (repair) the spiritual worlds. They have the power to draw down G-dliness. The external deals with the physical world we live in. Each person and object has the potential of godliness. We are tasked with finding those sparks of godliness and elevating them by transforming evil to good.
If we have not fear of G-d why would we even care to start such a journey? Fear of punishment, Divine Judgement in this world and after death must be part of each and every moment we live. Only then can we understand and acquire awe of G-d.
In Parshah Lech Lecha Abraham was told to go, get out of from your country, and from your family, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will Show you. Bereishit (Genesis) 12.1
We must do the same. We must get out of ourselves and place ourselves in front of HaShem each and every day to do Cheshbon ha Nefesh. We must do an accounting of our soul for that day in order to acquire Fear and Awe of G-d.
Bereishit (Genesis) 9.2
And your fear – and dread Bereishit (Genesis) 9.2
Dvarim (Deuteronomy) 4.34
And in wonders(awe) – and in war Dvarim (Deuteronomy) 4.34
Blessings and Peace