Day 21 of the Omer

אָמְרוּ רַזַ"ל: אַל יִפָּטֵר אָדָם מֵחֲבֵרוֹ אֶלָּא מִתּוֹךְ דְּבַר הֲלָכָה, וּפֵרְשׁוּ הוֹד כְּבוֹד קְדוּשַּׁת אֲבוֹתֵינוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ הַקְּדוֹשִׁים, אַזַא דְּבַר תּוֹרָה וואָס מאַכט אִיהם — דעֶם העֶרעֶר — פאַר אַ מְהַלֵּךְ. עִנְיַן הַהִלּוּךְ הוּא לַעֲלוֹת מִדַּרְגָא לְדַרְגָא בְּעִלּוּי אַחַר עִלּוּי, מַעֲלַת הַנְּשָׁמוֹת עַל מַעֲלַת הַמַּלְאָכִים, דַּעֲלִיָּה זוֹ הִיא בְּיוֹתֵר עַל יְדֵי עֲבוֹדָה בְּפוֹעַל טוֹב, טאָן אַ טוֹבָה אַ אִידעֶן בְּגַשְׁמִיּוּת בִּכְלָל וּבְרוּחָנִיּוּת בִּפְרָט.

Our Sages state:1 “One should not take leave of his friend except amidst words of halachah (Torah law).” According to our holy Rebbeim, this alludes to the kind of Torah teaching that propels the listener and transforms him into a mehalech2 — one who strides from level to level, and from peak to peak. In this dynamism lies the superiority of souls over angels, [who are described as3 “those who stand”]. For the soul’s ascent is facilitated by positive activity, such as doing a favor for a fellow Jew in material matters, and especially, in spiritual matters.4

Probing Beneath the Surface

Angels are not static; they, too, are continually ascending from level to level. Nevertheless, they are described as “standing” because their progress is relative; the rung to which they ascend is comparable to their previous rung. Souls are described as mehalchim because their ascents are radical; the peaks they reach are immeasurably higher than their previous ones.

What propels souls to make such progress? Their descent into this material world and the challenges they face down here.

This material realm is charged with the infinite power of the Creator that constantly energizes it.5 Through observing the Torah and its mitzvos on this plane, we can tap this unbounded potential.