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Keep Moving Forward

Bechukotai (Leviticus 26:3-27:34 )


“If you will walk in My decrees and observe My commandments and perform them” (Vayikra 26:3).

R' Simchah Bunim of P'shis'che pointed out that whereas the heavenly angels do not progress in holiness and remain forever in the state in which they were created, man should not remain static, but advance in spirituality every day of his life. This is what the prophet means: “If you walk in My ways and safeguard My charge I shall permit you movement among these immobile [angels]” (Zechariah 3:7).

God has enabled us to have “movement,” i.e., to grow in spirituality in contrast to angels that remain stationary.

R' Saadiah Gaon once lodged at an inn, and because the innkeeper did not know his identity, he was not accorded the honor due him but was treated decently like any other customer. Someone who did recognize him informed the innkeeper who his guest was. The innkeeper then apologized profusely to the Gaon.

"Why are you apologizing?” the Gaon asked. “You treated me very well.”

The innkeeper said, “But if I had only known who you were, I would have served you with greater respect.”

The Gaon became tearful. “Today I have a better understanding of God than I had yesterday. If only I had known yesterday what I know today, I would have served God with much greater fervor.”

Let us be truthful with ourselves. Have we progressed spiritually in the last day? Is every day of our lives one of spiritual advancement? If not, then we are derelict in our roles as human beings. We do have the capacity to grow spiritually, and it is wrong to not do so.

The fact is that there is no standing in one place. If we are derelict in advancing ourselves spiritually, this failure sets us back and we regress spiritually. We are constantly in movement. If we do not move forward, we are slipping backward.

The wording of the Torah is precise. It is not enough to simply observe the mitzvot. We must do so in a way that we progress in spirituality.

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