“In last week’s parshah, we learned about HaShem’s promise to the Jewish people if they kept shemitah,” Mrs. Stein reminded her class. “Parshas Bechukosai begins with a promise, too. Can you find it?”

“It’s right here in the first passuk!” exclaimed Mindy. “It says ‘And if you will follow My commandments, I will cause the rains to come down in their season.’ “

Mrs. Stein nodded as she pointed to Tzippy, who was raising her hand.

Morah,” Tzippy asked, “whenever we learn Chumash you always stress that the Torah’s words are fit for all people in times, not just for the people who lived a long time ago. I understand that HaShem’s promise of rain would be a great reward for keeping mitzvos for people who were dependent on the rain for their food. But today, if it doesn’t rain in one place, we can pump water from another place. How is the rain such a great reward for us?”

“First of all, Tzippy, even today with all our modern technology, we are dependent on HaShem’s blessings and His laws of nature. But your question has actually led to a deeper understanding of the passuk. Let’s look for a deeper meaning in HaShem’s promise. I’ll give you a hint. It’s in the word for rain.”

“I think I know,” Chaya called out waving her hand. “Rain is geshem, and that reminds me of gashmiyus.”

“Good!” said Mrs. Stein. “We can learn from this passuk that HaShem is actually promising us something very special. HaShem is telling us: ‘I have created the world with a clear plan — that it should be My home. I have filled the world with a lot of gashmiyus which I want you to use in the Torah way, to help make this world My home.’”

“But Morah,” Tzippy asked, “gashmiyus doesn’t always help us make this world HaShem’s home. Often, it gets in the way and causes us to forget about His plan and think more about the nice things we want for ourselves.”

“You’re right,” Mrs. Stein answered. “That’s how most of us see things now. But when HaShem promises us gashmiyus, it means something altogether different. He is promising us that He will give us the ability to see how gashmiyus does not get in our way of our making this world His home. This is what we will be able to see and understand when the geulah comes.

“We have an example of this from Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, whose yahrzeit we celebrate around this time, on Lag BaOmer. Do you remember the story I told you about how Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai caused a valley to fill up with golden coins? Imagine, a valley full of golden coins! There was so much gashmiyus, yet it all came from the holy tzaddik Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai!

“This is precisely the point. Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai learned and taught pnimiyus haTorah, the Torah of Mashiach. His study enabled him to see and live with gashmiyus just as we will see and live when the geulah comes. At that time, gashmiyus will not get in our way, but rather help us serve HaShem. Rabbi Shimon brought many blessings into this world: those golden coins, generous rains, and more. And these blessings came from his Torah study.

“This is the blessing HaShem gives us when we study Chassidus, pnimiyus haTorah, and fulfill the mitzvos. Our gashmiyus will not be separate from our ruchniyus, and both will be plentiful.

(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. I, p. 287)