Wednesday nights - Rav Benzion's Tanya shiur..........Please continue to daven for the good health of the Rebbe (Yechiel Michel ben Devorah Leah) and Rebbetzin (Feiga bas Sarah).

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Worm is Not a Person

This past week (Sivan 30 5771) the Rebbe spoke at Shalosh Seudos.

In the process to taharah, a cedar branch, a hyssop and a crimson thread are thrown in to the fire. Chazal say that the cedar, among the tallest and strongest of trees, represents arrogance and conceit. The hyssop, a lowly weed, and the crimson thread representative of a worm, are examples of humility and lowliness.

The Rebbe spoke about haughtiness and humility and their places in avodas Hashem. He quoted the Baal Shem Hakadosh that the parah adumah is m'taher t'meim and m'tamei tehorim. The Baal Shem Hakadosh says that when the yetzer hara comes at you with gaaveh (tumah), you answer him with humility (tahor). When he tries with misplaced humility (tahor), be m'tamei it with gaaveh. Hence, the cedar and hyssop belong in the ritual of cleansing oneself. Sometimes we burn the gaaveh and sometimes the humility.

But, the Rebbe asked, why is there an additional expression of humility, the worm?
The worm is always drawn to dead or dying matter; it feeds on its own dung. When we rehash our iniquities over, and over, and over again, we are like the worm, attracted to death and decadence. There is no way to move forward to better things, to be what we know we can become, if we keep coming back to the things that we have done that are dead. Dovid Hamelech said he was a worm and not a man, אנכי תולעת ולא איש. What he was saying was, "When I am a worm, I can't be a person!"  "ווען איך בין א וואָרעם בין איך קיין מענטש נישט"

The worm also goes into the fire. The worm must be expunged from our approach to avodah if we mean to restore kedusha and purity of service. Always look ahead, never dwell on past mistakes. Keep flying!

Anyone who can help me piece together the rest of what the Rebbe said would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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