14 Tamuz 5779 / Wednesday, July 17, 2019 | Torah Reading: Pinchas
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Higher than the Angels    

Higher than the Angels

Hashem has a multitude of angels that do exactly what He wants and never make mistakes. But, the angels lack our vital component that is the real source of Hashem's gratification…


Many people think that with all the gadgets and technological enticements, they can't dream of getting close to Hashem. Wrong! Hashem receives total gratification only from a person who uses his free will to choose and seeks Him despite all of the evil influences of this world and its temptations. Can you imagine the joy Hashem has when a person opens a Gemara instead of opening up a film clip on YouTube? Unprecedented!


Rebbe Nachman says that Hashem receives delight and satisfaction from His creation: “Hashem, may He be blessed, foresaw the pride and delights that He would receive from [the people of] Israel… and because of that He created the entire world” (Likutei Moharan I 17).


Hashem delights in the fact that a person chooses Him and accepts Him as his or her King, although they could do otherwise with their free choice.


If people possessed no free will, what delight would the Creator have? By analogy, a person chosen from among a number of candidates feels satisfaction and delight; but if he is chosen because there is no alternative, he feels no delight. On an infinitely different level, if Hashem's goodness were revealed to all, obviously everyone would choose Him, and He would have no satisfaction and delight. The Creator wants people to choose him precisely when He is concealed. That is what gives Him true satisfaction.


Therefore, when a person is wallowing in darkness and surrounded by evil, yet he desires Hashem, he gives greater delight to Him than the delight that comes to the Creator from a great tzaddik who chooses goodness when he encounters darkness and obstacles.


The holy Zohar teaches that Jethro was a chief priest, the supreme authority over every form of idolatry. When he came to the children of Israel and spoke with Moses after the Exodus from Egypt and he said, “Now I know that Hashem is greater than all of the gods” (Exodus 18:11), the glory of the Holy One, blessed be He, was elevated above and below (Zohar: Yitro 67b).


Rebbe Nachman says that the main manifestation of Hashem's greatness will come about when all the nations of the world will know that there is a God Who governs and rules over everything (Likutei Moharan I:10).


From the above we learn that Hashem derives tremendous gratification when evil turns to good, when people throw away their various idols and turn to Him. From here, we come to an amazing conclusion:


The evil inclination is wonderful, because when we overcome it, we give huge gratification to Hashem.


If a person had no evil inclination, he would be like an angel. Hashem has a multitude of them. They possess nothing outside the will of Hashem, and they serve Him with awe and fear. Nevertheless, Hashem has no satisfaction from them. His satisfaction comes from a human being who has the ability to choose between the good of the Creator, which is the true good, and evil that appears as good, which is a counterfeit good that is really total evil, like chocolate-covered poison.


A person is placed in a world filled with temptations, fun, excitement, distractions and aspirations, so that out of the midst of all of this, he'll have the opportunity to choose Hashem.


There are many delights that a person can attain without effort. Nevertheless, if he chooses to exert himself and toil in order to come close Hashem, he attains the highest spiritual achievement. Why? Coming close to Hashem requires much self-sacrifice end entails difficulties that are exactly opposite to a person’s nature. And it is precisely when he nevertheless chooses the true and eternal good of Hashem that His Name is sanctified and His goodness and compassion are recognized.


Therefore, a person’s spiritual level is in accordance with the extent that he or she overcomes their evil inclination. Every tzaddik had an evil inclination that he worked to overcome—that is how he became a tzaddik. Had he lacked an evil inclination, he would now possess no importance and no significance.


Once, Rabbi Natan was encouraging one of his students about some matter, and offered the patriarch Isaac as an example. The student asked, “How can you compare me to Isaac?”


Rabbi Natan replied, “Do you think that Isaac didn’t have an evil inclination? If he didn’t, how did he have the merit to become Isaac?” (Siach Sarfei Kodesh 1:403).


Jacob become great by out-wrestling Esau's angel, the evil inclination. We are all Jacob's offspring; in our DNA, we can overcome the evil inclination too, if our desire is strong enough.

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