The Jew's Mission:
Overcoming the World
Rabbi Y. Oliver
The Hebrew word for world, olam, is etymologically related to the word he’elem, concealment, for the nature of the world is to conceal the reality of G–dliness. The reason for this is that the world receives its sustenance from the spiritual energy of Kelipah, lit. “a shell,” i.e., a force that conceals the true reality of G–dliness.
Our world is “a world of physicality and gross coarseness. It is the lowest of all levels; nothing is lower than it in terms of the concealment of Hashem’s light, and the doubled and redoubled darkness within it. [This spiritual darkness is so intense that] it is filled with forces of Kelipah and of ‘the other side’ that are totally against Hashem and that say ‘I exist, and nothing else exists but me.’”
This also plays itself out in human experience. Since the Kelipah in this world is the “dregs of the coarse Kelipos ... all the events of this world are difficult and evil, and the wicked prevail in it.” (It is no wonder then that the soul only enters the body “against its will”!) Thus, we are warned, “All paths [in this world] should be presumed dangerous,” which Chassidus interprets to refer to the constant spiritual tests that the Jew faces. This necessitates a constant, daily struggle, lest this atmosphere harm the Jew.
This was true even in days of old, when sin was less accessible; it is all the more true in our degenerate times.
What gives a Jew the strength to succeed in this struggle? In our time, we have been granted the power to overcome these tests (see here) through studying Chassidus and practicing the ways of Chassidus (see here). Chassidus permeates a Jew with the awareness that “There is nothing beside for Him” and that until a Jew comes and elevates it, the world is “a place of death and impurity, may Hashem save us” (see here).
This enables the individual Jew, and the Jewish people as a whole, to accomplish their task: to elevate the world as much as possible (through Torah and Mitzvos) and in this way prepare it for its purpose, the Messianic Era, when all Kelipah will either be eradicated or elevated to holiness.
 Likkutei Torah, Shelach, 37d. Sefer HaMa’amarim 5710, p. 116.
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