"Moshiach is ready to come now-our part is to increase in acts of goodness and kindness" -The Rebbe

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The interdependence in the echelons of creation

There are four levels of creation, in ascending order: domem—inorganic objects; tzomei’ach—plant life; chai—animal life; medaber—mankind (for more elaboration, see here).

Why did Hashem create mankind in a way that he must eat in order to survive? Moreover, food comes from domem, tzomei’ach, and chai. Why should mankind be dependent upon the creatures at lower echelons than his own?

The answer to this will become clear when we understand the true purpose of eating. The food that we eat becomes transformed into blood, and blood is the key to life, as it is written: “The soul is blood,”[1] for life is maintained through the continuous circulation of blood through the body. Thus, our physical life comes from the food that we eat.

Once the food is converted into blood, the blood gathers in the liver. From there it is distributed throughout the body, giving energy to the mind and the heart and so enabling the person to function as a human being. Since it is the human being’s intellectual and emotional abilities that differentiate him from the lower echelons of creation, when products of the three lower echelons are eaten and absorbed into the body, which gives sustenance (not only to the lower human faculties, but also) to the mind and the heart, the three lower echelons are elevated to the highest level of medaber.

In this way, domem, tzomei’ach, and chai realize their purpose, for the purpose of everything is to become subsumed into the level above it. Thus, the purpose of domem is to become subsumed within tzomei’ach; the purpose of tzomei’ach is to become subsumed within chai; and the purpose of chai is to become subsumed—along with the elements of domem and tzomei’ach which now constitute it—into medaber.[2]

Moreover, since the soul needs the body to express itself in the world,[3] and the body can only serve this purpose when it is healthy, and food makes the body healthy, the food is not only elevated to the level of medaber, but when the Jew uses that energy to serve Hashem, the food becomes infused with the holiness of the Torah and Mitzvos that the Jew is using the food to perform.

To be specific, food enables one to serve Hashem with the heart, by becoming inspired with passionate love to Hashem in prayer. It also enables one to use one’s mind, including the intellect of the Divine Soul, to understand Hashem’s greatness.[4]

This is the meaning of the concept of birur, “refinement” discussed in the writings of the Arizal—that the food is transformed into the person.

This is one reason that Hashem made medaber dependent upon the creations of the three lower echelons—so that he will do his job of refining them.

Based on Torah Ohr, s.v. Yegalei lan taamei.
[1] Devarim 12:23.
[2] Sefer HaIkkarim 3:1.
[3] Tanya ch. 37.
[4] Siddur Im Dach.

This post was dedicated by:
~Reb Kasriel ben Yehudis and Chana Feige bas Reizl (my parents, tzu langeh, gezunteh, zisseh yoren) in honor of their 36th wedding anniversary.
~Reb Menachem Kovacs, who requested that this message be attached:
"Zachor: to mark the 6th anniversary of the expulsion of the Jews from Gush Katif and the Northern Shomron; we continue to pray and work for their restoration and for the Ge'ula Shlayma. Thank you."
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