Monday, 2 June 2008

The Alter Rebbe - I want nothing...

"I don't want anything.
I don't want Your Gan Eden (Paradise).
I don't want your Olam HaBa
(World to come).
I only want You!"

The Alter Rebbe - Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liady (1745-1812) was focused on just one thing. G-d Himself. It seems that modern Torah methods continually focus our attention on improving ourselves - all in the name of greater rewards - Paradise after we leave this world, the World to Come - after this, and many other pleasureable states.

What are we doing in this world after all? Isn't it all about doing the right things so that we can have it all be good for us once we leave this world? How often are we caught up in pointless conversations with "great leaders" who continue to drum into us the terrifying events destined to occur to us after leaving the world - all because we simply did not behave correctly.

Chabad Chassidus is all about Hisbonenus - Contemplation. It's about spending some time each day contemplating on what really counts. Perhaps, "what-really-counts" is actually something far deeper than we seem to think it is. Perhaps we need to shift our focus onto Something Else? Perhaps, with a focus on Something Else, we will automatically be aware of what it is that we need to do in the world. Naturally, the duties incumbent upon us are those things related to Torah learning, Mitzvah observance, and prayer. They're all about interacting correctly with others, with ourselves, and with G-d Himself. This is not a free-for-all world where we may do as we please without any "after-effects."

But are we perhaps being too tied down to books... instead of Something Else?

The Alter Rebbe - a new soul - knew, that without One Thing, there is nothing else. (Or perhaps, this nothing else is this One Thing!)

It's not about Gan Eden. It's not about the World to Come. It's not about anything at all actually. It's about G-d Himself. There is nothing else to desire but Him. Once a person is able to appreciate this, truly, completely and internally, the euphoric experience of such feelings are so strong, that in fact, one might actually get his wishes. This is known as Kelot HaNefesh in the language of Chassidus. The total consummation of the soul within G-dliness. It is such an awesome state, that one person is mentioned in the Gemara as having attained it. Ben Azzai. As he entered into the deepest secrets of Torah, cleaving to G-d with complete Devekus, he could no longer bear to be in this world any longer, and simply expired into the realms above.

Was he looking for Gan Eden? Was he searching for the World to Come?

He was searching and longing for nothing else... but G-d Himself... and so measure for measure, this is exactly what he received.
There is no picture for today's posting. In order to cleave to G-d, we can only contemplate one thing - - Nothing! It is this that we must desire. Nothing... but G-d Himself!

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