Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Shallow and Deep

It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible. -- Oscar Wilde

This quote has resonated with me for years and I'm not sure why.

Hold Wilde's qwuote in your mind while contemplating the Jewish truth that G-d created the world because G-d wanted to make Himself a Dwelling in the Lower Realms, and it is our job to transform the world into this dwellingplace. "The foundation and root of the entire Torah," as is stated by Rabbi Zalman in the Tanya, "is to raise and exalt the soul over the body." Our job is not to escape the physical. Our job is to sanctify the material world. The way we do this is through mitzvot, and all mitzvot involve material stuff.

If you take the idea that the mystery in life is in the visible and think about our job being to take the material and sanctify it, well, it kind of goes together. Kind of. Anyhoo. Back to work.

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