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Hayom Yom: Tackling Life's Tasks - 3 Elul

Hayom Yom: Tackling Life's Tasks - 3 Elul

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הַמַּאֲמִין בְּהַשְׁגָּחָה פְּרָטִית יוֹדֵעַ כִּי מֵהַשֵּׁם מִצְעֲדֵי גֶבֶר כּוֹנָנוּ, אֲשֶׁר נְשָׁמָה זוֹ צְרִיכָה לְבָרֵר וּלְתַקֵּן אֵיזֶה בֵּרוּר וְתִקּוּן בְּמָקוֹם פְּלוֹנִי. וּמֵאוֹת בְּשָׁנִים אוֹ גַם מִשַּׁעַת בְּרִיאַת הָעוֹלָם הִנֵּה הַדָּבָר שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לְהִתְבָּרֵר אוֹ לְהִתְתַּקֵּן מְחַכֶּה לְאוֹתָהּ הַנְּשָׁמָה שֶׁתָּבוֹא לְבָרְרוֹ וּלְתַקְּנוֹ, וְגַם נְשָׁמָה הַלָּזוּ הִנֵּה מֵאָז נֶאֶצְלָה וְנִבְרְאָה הִיא מְחַכָּה לִזְמַן יְרִידָתָהּ לְבָרֵר וּלְתַקֵּן אֵת אֲשֶׁר הוּטַל עָלֶיהָ.

A person who believes in Divine Providence knows that “the steps of a man are made firm by G‑d.”1 [A person goes to] a particular place because his soul must refine and perfect something there. For hundreds of years, or even from the very beginning of creation, the object that must be refined or rectified waits for that soul to come and do that task.2

Similarly, this soul itself, from the moment of its emanation and creation, awaits the time that it will descend [to the physical world] to refine and perfect that which has been assigned to it.3

Delving Deeply

In a verse describing wanderers lost in the wilderness, the Psalmist writes:4 “Being both hungry and thirsty, their soul languished within them.” The Baal Shem Tov invites us to look beyond the plain meaning of the verse, and teaches5 that when a person experiences hunger or thirst, that is only an external reflection of the subliminal hunger and thirst within. Though he may be conscious of nothing more than the insistent demands of his stomach, it is his soul that is languishing within: his soul is yearning to refine and elevate the sparks of G‑dliness that are embedded within the food and drink before him.

The soul of every man is bidden to sift its allotted portion of the materiality of this world6 — the portion that this individual will encounter, by the workings of Divine Providence, in the course of his passage through life. This lifelong mission, to refine and elevate those G‑dly sparks that are hidden in his share in the world, is felt by both the soul and by the objects it is intended to refine.

Footnotes
2.
See also the entry for 15 Adar I.
3.
Igros Kodesh of the Rebbe Rayatz, letter #1850, Heb. Vol. 6, p. 407.
5.
Keser Shem Tov, p. 25b (and p. 110 in edition of 2004).
6.
The commonly-used phrase is chelko baolam — lit., “his share in the world.”
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