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The Creation is a fusion of complementary forces

1:2 World's 3 Pillars

1:2 World's 3 Pillars

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1:2 World's 3 Pillars
The Creation is a fusion of complementary forces

The world stands upon three things - upon Torah, upon divine service, and upon acts of kindness. (Avot 1:2)

World of Concealment

The word for "world" in Hebrew is "olam", which is related to word "he'elem", meaning "concealment". The world was created in such a way that G‑dliness is buried and concealed within it. Only by removing the concealment will the light of G‑dliness hidden within it be revealed. Every person has the mission and obligation to remove concealment through his service to G‑d

Every person is obligated to say, "The world [in Hebrew, "ha-olam"] was created for me". Do not read this as "the world", but "the concealment" [in Hebrew, "he'elem"]. Every person has the mission and obligation to remove concealment through his service to G‑d.

How does he do this? Regarding this, Shimon HaTzaddik used to say, "The world stands upon three things…" - "the concealment remains until removed by three things - Torah, divine service, and acts of kindness". Then the inner light is revealed.

[Rabbi Yosef-Yitzchak Shneersohn, Ma'amarim 5700, p.160]

Standing Firm and Enduring

The world "stands" - in such a way that it is supported solidly - on three things. Through Torah, divine service, and acts of kindness G‑dliness will be revealed here in this world to the same extent that it is revealed in the highest world, the world of Atzilut.

[Rabbi Shmuel Shneersohn, Torah Shmuel 5636 p. 338]

Man is a microcosm

Since man is a microcosm, the three things on which the world stand also apply on an individual level. On the verse, "He has redeemed my soul in peace", the Talmud states: Said the Holy One, blessed is He, "Anyone who occupies himself with Torah and acts of kindness, and who prays with the community is regarded by Me as having redeemed Me and My son (Israel) from among the nations of the world." (Berachot, 8a)

By occupying himself in all these three things, a Jew merits his own personal redemption. He is redeemed from among the nations of the world, and from the foreign elements within him. Moreover, he sustains the entire world, by causing it to follow the will of G‑d.

[The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Ma'amar Padah b'Shalom 5742]

Torah, Divine Service, and Acts of Kindness

The soul of a Jew descended from its lofty perch above into a deep pit - into this material world, where it became clothed in a physical body. This descent is for the sake of a later ascent. The three things upon which the world stand are a combination of elevation from below to above, and drawing down from above to below…

When a person occupies himself with Torah, divine service, and acts of kindness, he elevates his soul, raising it to an even loftier level than it was on before.

In a general sense one could say that Torah affects all those matters which have to do with the brain, divine service (prayer) affects all those matters which have to do with the physical body, and acts of kindness affect all of the Jewish people, and the entire world.

[The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Ma'amarim 5744 p. 184]

Acts of Kindness, Divine Service, and Torah

The three things upon which the world stand are a combination of elevation from below to above, and drawing down from above to below, as follows:

Divine service - The purpose of the sacrifices, and also prayer, which is a substitute for the sacrifices, is to raise things up from below, to supernal holiness in the essence of the Holy One, blessed is He.

Acts of kindness - This includes charity and good deeds, through which supernal holiness is drawn down into the world.

Torah - There are two mitzvot in relation to the Torah: 1) the mitzvah of reading the Torah out loud, which elicits a revelation of the infinite G‑dly Light (Or Ein Sof) from above; 2) the mitzvah of learning the Torah in depth, which raises a person to the highest level.

[The Tzemach Tzedek, Derech Mitzvotecha]

Three Things - One Purpose

In fact, Torah, divine service, and acts of kindness constitute a single subject - serving G‑d, and in no way is it sufficient to serve G‑d in only one of these ways. Nor may one of them be without the other. One may not study Torah without doing mitzvot (on the contrary, the greatness of Torah is that it results in the performance of mitzvot!). Similarly, Torah cannot exist without prayer, for "anyone who says, 'I have only Torah', does not even have that". It goes without saying that prayer and mitzvot cannot be without Torah.

We can illustrate this idea by way of an analogy from the body and the soul. The body without a soul is merely called flesh, while the soul without a body is only a soul. Only when combined do they form a man.

This is also true of supernal revelation: there must be lights (i.e. illumination from above), vessels (that which manifests and reveals supernal illumination), and the fusion of both of them.

In the spiritual service of a Jew in Torah, divine service, and acts of kindness, three "rectifications" are brought about - the rectification of light, vessels and their fusion. This brings about completion and perfection, so that even light which ordinarily transcends vessels will also illuminate vessels.

[Rabbi Yosef-Yitzchak Shneersohn, Ma'amarim 5704 pp. 244, 250]

Rabbi Yekutiel Green has published many explanantions of Chassidic texts, especially in English, presenting concepts to those with minimal background.
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