• Shternie Bell

True Union

In a healthy relationship of two people, be it a marriage, friendship, business partner or other, each person maintains their individual thoughts, opinions, unique personality and preferences.

From a deeply rooted place, they join to create a new space, a third dimension where they come together and connect in a true union without losing their sense of self.

In the absence of this, two extremes can develop.

To one extreme, one individual dominates the relationship to the degree that they consume all of the focus and energy and the other individual is completely negated.

In the opposite extreme, each party maintains their individuality to such a degree that no third dimension can develop, their connection can only be superficial or transactional.

In our history as a people in our relationship with G-d, the extremes mentioned above take place. The two parties in the relationship, G-d and humans have seemingly little in common. G-d is an infinite and unlimited being, while humans are bound to the physical reality and confines of nature.

During the exodus from Egypt, the first extreme took place when through wonders and miracles, the divine was revealed while completely overriding nature and human possibilities (10 plagues, splitting of the sea). To the contrary, in our everyday life, the laws of nature seem to dictate everything, the divine relegated to the background.

At the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, a new possibility emerged; a union with the divine, on our terms as humans. The Torah is a divine book, containing the essence of G-d, yet in order to study it, human intellect and understanding must be applied.

An individual who approaches Torah study brings their unique personality, life story, perspective and cognitive abilities to the table. Because of the divine nature of Torah, when the ideas enter our mind an incredible phenomenon occurs.

This is described in the book of Tanya written in 1796 by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi: "Now this is a most wonderful unity; in the physical realm, there is no unity similar or parallel to it, that they should actually become one and united from every side and angle. This is the distinctive, infinitely great and wonderful superiority of the mitzvah of knowing and comprehending Torah over all the mitzvot... Since through the knowledge of Torah, the Torah is absorbed in the soul and intellect of the person and is encompassed within them, it is therefore called the “bread” and “food” of the soul... Through the knowledge and comprehension of Torah by the soul of a person who studies it well, with the concentration of his intellect, to the point where the Torah is grasped by his mind and is joined with him so that they become one, [the Torah thereby] becomes food for the soul."

Through Torah we can achieve this space of harmony where the human remains human and the divine remains divine yet they unite and become one during the time of study.

Congratulations! You just achieved this union in the time it took you to read and think about this idea.

Shabbat Shalom, Shternie


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