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Proper intentions can elevate anyone above the spiritual level of even the most righteous.

4:6 Simple Honor

4:6 Simple Honor

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4:6 Simple Honor
Proper intentions can elevate anyone above the spiritual level of even the most righteous.

Rabbi Yosay said, "Whoever honors the Torah [using the word 'et', indicating a direct object] is himself given honor by men, and whoever dishonors the Torah is himself dishonored by men." (Avot 4:6)

…We can understand this by way of a story which occurred in the days of the Arizal: Once there was an uneducated man who knew [no Torah] except the alef-beit who came one Yom Kippur to the synagogue. [There] he saw the community praying with fervor and song, and he knew nothing [he didn't know at all what to do]. At seeing this, he became very embittered and began to cry profusely. In his heart, he said, "I'll say the alef-beit, then repeat it over and over – and the Holy One Blessed be He should arrange the letters [for me] into the liturgy of the prayers.

After Yom Kippur, Elijah…appeared to the Arizal….

After Yom Kippur, Elijah, of blessed memory, appeared to the Arizal, and the Rabbi asked him which of the Yom Kippur prayers were received and elevated on high first before G‑d. [Elijah] said, "In the synagogue in which you [the Arizal] pray."

And [the Arizal] asked him, "Who was the leader [i.e. their primary strength]?"

And Elijah answered him that the abovementioned man was the leader of the entire "house of Joseph". The Rabbi was very astonished and investigated, looking into the affair, until the matter was made known to him of the [above uneducated] man, who only said the alef-beit and how G‑d must have arranged the letters according to the fitting prayer liturgy.

And this is what "Whoever honors the Torah…" refers to - even a person knows nothing except the alef-beit. And this is hinted at by the use of the word "et" [spelled alef-taf, indicating a direct object], meaning from alef [the first letter of the alef-beit] to taf [the last letter]. [Even] this person [when he honors and stands in awe of the Torah] is "given honor by men", in that his prayers ascend higher and higher – even above the holiest of the land, who know the secrets and unite the supernal worlds with all the proper meditations, like the holy Arizal himself.

Translated from Zacut Avot, by Baruch Emanuel Erdstein.

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