By: Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui
From the time of creation, G-d intended that we should be persecuted and sent into exile. Right from the beginning of the bible, the four major exiles are already indicated, and it is in the last book of the bible that is most connected to this period of exile and descent, towards the last portions of the bible, that the ultimate redemption for the entire universe is spoken about.
This confirms the rule that it is the lowest of situations that connect us most profoundly with the highest and deepest of intentions and ultimate goals. The higher a stone on a building, the further it falls from its base, the deeper it entrenches itself in the ground. When we see a stone so far from its source on the ground, we know, it must have fallen from a very high source.
The further back the stone is pulled in a sling, the more power is being transferred into it.
It is clear that not being in our own land and being scattered all about is a result of not heeding the admonishment and rebuke of the prophets. However, after the fact since everything comes from an All Merciful and kind G-d, the process is not only a punishment but as well an opportunity to discover holy sparks, otherwise unnoticed diamonds, to accumulate in our repertoire, that would never have been discovered had we not been sent into exile.
In mysticism there is a principle that teaches, the physical world that appears to deny G-dliness and deceives us constantly of its source has sparks of G-dliness hidden in it from places that are much higher and more powerful than the outwardly spiritual phenomenon. A person is able to connect with G-dliness through the opportunities in a physical world being used for spiritual purposes in ways that are higher and deeper than can be reached merely through spirituality alone.
When we use food to energize our bodies to serve G-d, we take hard earned money and give it to support a G-dly cause, a transformation of our lives and a connection with G-d is reached beyond any spirituality in itself could ever take us to.
When a person lost his way because he wasn’t careful before he set out on his trip to do due diligence, or a person made foolish choices and ends up in a dark tunnel, he should take the blame and feel guilty. However, he should not for even a moment think that this is where it ends and all is lost.
It is in the descent and in the exile, it is when a person is in a dark tunnel and has fallen down, what seems so far and distant that the deepest and greatest discoveries and opportunities can be encountered.
Great spiritualists would instruct their students to be happiest in times of difficulty because it was necessarily then, that they would be able to gather the greatest of good, by anticipating this truth in a joyous frame of mind.
Once the two Tzadikim, G-dly brothers Rabbi Zushe and Elimelech (about three hundred years ago) were thrown into prison for being Jewish. When they woke up in the morning, one of the brothers started to cry realizing where they were. The other brother said, “the same G-d we serve outside the prison, who tells us to accept everything in joy, tells us to serve Him with whatever we are able to inside the prison. Let’s dance and sing for the chance to serve G-d in a way we never did before.”
When the guards saw how happy they were and discovered the reason, he took away their “new opportunity” to serve G-d and they were free once again from their current hardship.
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