Finding holiness in the most unexpected places. * The transformative effect of unshakable belief in Divine omnipresence. * On the Tanya lesson for 3 Cheshvan 5784.
The key thought in today's Tanya lesson is the Alter Rebbe's profound defense of the idea that the Divine presence, or Shechinah, can be found even in realms considered impure or unholy. It's a thought that opens doors and minds, reminding us that holiness is not restricted to specific settings but is indeed ubiquitous.
In this Tanya lesson, the Alter Rebbe directly addresses critics of Chasidic thought. He discusses the Kabbalistic concept that the Shechinah is invested in kelipot, spiritual "shells" or realms of impurity. The Alter Rebbe cites Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, affirming that if Divine presence can vest in even the mundane dust of the earth, it can certainly vest in the souls of non-Jews. "Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?" says the scripture, reiterating God's omnipresence in both material and spiritual realms. The intriguing element here is the Alter Rebbe's stress on the simplicity of this concept. It's not a high secret of Kabbalah but a simple article of faith among Jews, passed down by saintly ancestors.
So here it is: even when we're in situations that seem devoid of sanctity, or when we're dealing with people who are far removed from spiritual pursuits, there's an underlying holiness that's waiting to be discovered. This idea transforms our daily interactions and elevates our perception of the world.
In resolving this notion, we turn to the text where the Alter Rebbe states, "it is a simple article of faith among Jews in general, handed down to them by their saintly ancestors, who walked artlessly with God." This is the power of faith—an unshakable belief that God's presence fills all spaces, material and spiritual. In knowing this, we can see the spark of the Divine even in the darkest corners and elevate them through our actions.
This teaching radiates positivity and a depth that goes beyond intellectual understanding. It provides comfort and resilience, especially when we hold to it in times of difficulty. It even gives us a hint of the coming Moshiach, for when we recognize God's presence everywhere, we take a step closer to a world filled with Divine knowledge.
In conclusion, let's relate this empowering lesson back to the current climate of fear and terror that affects Jewish communities worldwide. By internalizing the belief that the Divine can indeed be found in every nook and cranny of our lives—even in situations that seem hopelessly dark—we're infused with courage and hope. This awareness doesn't just offer comfort; it acts as a catalyst, hastening the ultimate redemption and giving us something active to do. Let this lesson embolden us to find and cultivate holiness wherever we are, thus accelerating our path to a redeemed and harmonious world