A full life

A teaching of Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev, from Kedushas Levi, Parshat Tetzaveh.

And you shall fill the hand of Aaron and the hand of his sons.  מִלֵּאתָ יַד אַהֲרֹן וְיַד בָּנָיו          Exodus 29:9 (1)

Wholeness is never found in the things of this world, for if you pursue material desires, you will always be wanting. Even if you have everything else you desire, you will still want for more honor or sex or something else, for it is impossible to have everything you want. Not so is service of the Creator: when you serve God you are whole in every way, for “Those who seek God have every good” (2). The joy of serving God is greater than every other, for when you cleave to life and service of the Infinite One, Who is whole in every kind of wholeness, then you too lack for nothing.

This is the meaning of our verse, you shall fill the hand of Aaron and the hand of his sons: God told Moses to be sure to bring Aaron and his sons to the level of cleaving to holiness, and then their hands would be full of every good, for they lack nothing when they felt the higher joy. So [the days of dedicating the Tabernacle] are called the Eight Days of Fullness, for then the Shekhinah dwelled among them and Her holiness filled them with delight.


1) This is often understood as a metaphor and translated as “you shall invest Aaron and his sons with full authority,” but the teaching uses the verse as written.   2) Psalm 34:11

Jeff says…

In the Talmud we have this picture of the World to Come from Rav: “In the World to Come there is no eating, no drinking, no propagation, no business, no jealousy, no hatred and no rivalry. Rather, the righteous sit with their crowns on their heads and delight in the radiance of the Divine Presence” (Berachot 17a). In other places this delight comes in a very specific way: through studying Torah in the “Heavenly Academy.” In this case, all of the mitzvot (represented by Torah study, which is “equal to all others” (Shabbat 127a)) aren’t ways to get into heaven “up there” but ways to create a heaven down here, in our lifetime. If so, as the Kedushas Levi points out, we have two choices: endlessly chasing pleasures which will never be enough, or delighting in God through the endless opportunities for service all around us, every day.

For related teachings from the Kozhinitzer Maggid, a student of Levi Yitzhak, click here and here.

This entry was posted in Concepts, Divine Service, Hasidic Masters, Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev/Kedushas Levi, Parsha, Tetzaveh. Bookmark the permalink.

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