Reflecting on last week's Torah portion, Korach had some good points. In fact, they were so spiritual and so futuristic that they were difficult to argue with. The famed Hassic Rebbe, the Seer of Lublin, was a descendant of his and referred to his complicated ancestor as the "the Holy Grandfather Korach". How do we understand this man who was at once so elevated and so dangerous?
In the work "Tal Oros", Rabbi Yaakov Meir Shpielman explains that it's possible for a person to be tempted by a much higher version of himself and crash. I think that might have been what happened to Korach. Instead, of reaching to organically grow into the next spiritual level just above his head, he jumped levels and crashed!
The takeaway lesson is that jumping to our highest ideal self is not always so ideal. Sometimes, we will grow much better in the long run if we work honestly with the "lower" spiritual level we are really holding at. With slow and careful work in the right direction our lower selves will become more sensitized to our long term spiritual goals and be more cooperative with the process.
Self honesty is best!
This past Shabbos blessed the upcoming Jewish month of Tammuz. Each Jewish month radiates with a different permutation of God's holy name spelled "Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey". The permutation for Tammuz is "Hey-Vav-Hey-Yud", the name in reverse. This holy name is alluded to in a verse in the "Book of Esther" retelling the evil Haman's rage filled utterance, "All this is not enough for me ...!"
The last letters in the Hebrew words of his utterance are "Hey-Vav-Hey-Yud". Clearly, Haman was highly dissatisfied with his portion in life.
In an address relating how to use the spiritual energies of Tammuz in devotional service, the late Lubavticher Rebbe explained the parameters on the phrase in "Avoth", "Who is wealthy? One who is happy with his portion in life."
He explained that the recommendation to be happy with one's portion in life, only applies to material possessions. It does not apply at all to spiritual attainments. One needs to strive higher and higher to access and attain ever greater reaches of his/her spiritual potential. So even the evil Haman's rage filled utterance, "All this is not enough for me ...!" has a place in life, though not in the way Haman intended it, but, in a very different direction - to be dissatisfied with our past spiritual attainments. Through such dissatisfaction, we become ready for more and open up to new spiritual growth.
So we are entering a month which offers us so much, but, as Proverbs cautions, "You found honey, eat moderately, lest you become full and vomit." (25:16)
It's a month of tremendous spiritual growth potential, but, at the same time, unlike Korach, seek stability along with the growth. Stability might seem like a "growth slower" to some. However, in the long run it will yield the best fruits.