Parshas Shlach-Excerpts from Likkutei Torah

 

Explorations of Excerpts:

1.      Why is Eretz Yisrael praised as the land of milk and honey?

2.      Why are the Mitzvos dependent specifically on Eretz Yisrael?

3.      Why did the Meraglim not desire to enter Eretz Yisrael?

4.      What does the architecture of Gan Eden appear like?

 

  1. Why is Eretz Yisrael praised as the land of milk and honey? What is the significance of milk and honey that it is the main praise of Eretz Yisrael?[1]

In it of itself, there is no great praise involved in mentioning that Eretz Yisrael contains milk and honey. Many lands contain natural wonders, and certainly it was not due to simply this nature of the land of Israel that Hashem decided to bring us to Israel; to drink cups of milk with spoons of honey. Rather, the physical blessing which the land of Israel contains in having an abundance of date honey and milk is a reflection of the spiritual greatness of the land. It is due to this spiritual advantage that Hashem desired to give us Eretz Yisrael, and this was its precise praise. What is the spiritual advantage of milk and honey? Milk derives from the Sefira of Chesed while honey derives from the Sefira of Gevurah. This represents that in the land of Israel there is an abundance of flow of G-dliness from the Sefiros into the land. The purpose of creation is to make a dwelling place for Hashem through the performance of Torah and Mitzvos. The land of Israel is the only land equipped with the ability to draw down the G-dly light through performance of the Mitzvos, and make for Hashem a Dirah Betachtonim.

 

  1. Why are majority of the Mitzvos dependent on Eretz Yisrael?[2]

The land of Israel is the only land equipped with the ability to draw down the G-dly light through performance of the Mitzvos, and make for Hashem a Dirah Betachtonim. The performance of Mitzvos in other lands has limited ability to draw down the G-dly light.

 

  1. Why did the Meraglim not desire to enter Eretz Yisrael?[3]

There exist two forms of service of G-d, one is learning Torah and the second is doing Mitzvos. Learning Torah contains certain clear advantages over the performance of Mitzvos, such as the quality of unity with Hashem that is experienced when learning Torah, as well as the conscious enjoyment one feels in being active in understanding G-d’s wisdom. This is in contrast to Mitzvos which provide a lower level unity, and do not contribute any conscious affect on the person performing it. Furthermore, Mitzvos involve the physical world and require a person to mingle with the materialism and coarseness found within it. The Meraglim wanted to pursue a life of pure Torah learning and spiritual service, without needing to demote themselves to the performance of physical Mitzvos, which, as explained touches a lower level. It is for this reason that they desired to remain in the desert, as in the desert they were exempt from performing many Mitzvos, and thus could pursue this form of life. In truth however the Meraglim made a grave mistake in their perception of the importance of Mitzvos. While Mitzvos certainly involve the physical world, which is a low state of spiritual refinement, nevertheless, it is specifically the performance of these Mitzvos that allow a person to fulfill the original intent of creation which is to make for Hashem a dwelling place below. Furthermore, the power and greatness of Torah learning is only effective when one precedes it with the performance of Mitzvos. It is impossible to release the G-dly revelation affected through Torah learning without the performance of Mitzvos, and hence not only were the Meraglim missing out on the effective tools for performing a Dirah Betachtonim, but were lacking in the basic necessities required for their Torah learning to be affective.

Another perspective: Alternatively, one can explain the Meraglims mistaken perception as follows: The Meraglim understood that the performance of Mitzvos in Eretz Yisrael has ability to draw down a level of G-dly light, called Or Ein Sof, into this world, and they felt that doing so would be counterproductive. The coarseness of the world was unbefitting for such a revelation, and they thus felt that drawing it down would jeopardize their existence and their continued ability to serve Hashem. It is for this reason that they did not desire to enter Eretz Yisrael and begin the performance of Mitzvos, and they thus stated to Bnei Yisrael on their return from the trip that “The land eats its inhabitants”, meaning to say that the new method of Divine service which we will greet in Eretz Yisrael will threaten our existence as independent beings who can serve Hashem. They therefore desired to remain in the desert and draw down the G-dly light only into the spiritual world of Malchus, in which their existence will not be threatened. In truth however they made a grave mistake, as the entire purpose of creation is for exactly this purpose, for the Divine light of Or Ein Sof to be delivered into this physical world and make for Hashem a dwelling place below.

In other words: The Meraglim were rooted in the level of Leah, the world of thought, and did not desire to enter Eretz Yisrael, and thereby lower themselves into the world of Rachel which is Dibbur. Leah, thought, represents a high spiritual level that involves Divine service of the mind and heart, without resorting to performance of mere physical tasks included within the Mitzvos. Rachel, which is speech, represents action, which is from a revealed perspective, a diminished form of spiritual service that does not involve one’s mind or heart and simply requires one’s power of action in its performance. The Meraglim made a grave mistake, as the entire purpose of creation is for exactly this purpose, for the Divine light of Or Ein Sof to be delivered into this physical world and make for Hashem a dwelling place below.

  1. The architecture of Gan Eden:

In Gan Eden reside millions upon millions of souls, and its structure must be made in a way that can host all these souls each on their own level. Gan Eden is built with many different buildings, called Heichalos, with each building containing many different compartments. Each Heichal offers a different revelation and experience to the souls and angels that are hosted there, and the chambers in each building contain different accommodations, all being varieties of the revelation offered in that chamber. Thus there is a Heichal of Chesed which contains many chambers of variations of Chesed; a Heichal of Gevurah which contains many chambers of variations of Gevura. [Lehavdil, this is similar to a line of Hotels in which each Hotel offers different luxuries and amenities. Although all occupants of that hotel receive equal service and use of facilities, the rooms of the hotel differ from each other.] The purpose of these chambers is to reveal the G-dly light in a fashion that is limited and catered to the intellectual capabilities of the souls and angels found within.     

 

  1. The purpose of Torah and Mitzvos:[4]

The main purpose of Torah and Mitzvos is to separate between the pure and impure, to refine the good from the evil. [Every physical object contains a mixture of good and evil, called Kelipas Nogah. The Mitzvos act as a cleaning vacuum which remove all the dirt and evil from the object thus allowing it to become a receptacle for G-d’s revelation.]

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[1] Likkutei Torah p. 72

[2] Likkutei Torah p. 72

[3] Likkutei Torah p. 72

[4] Likkutei Torah p. 73

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