Friday, September 5, 2014

Ki Teitzei

In this week’s parsha we have the prohibition of not wearing clothes of the opposite gender. Rashi explains the reason as to prevent comingling for the purposes of licentiousness. Reb Noson however in his Likeutei Halachot is m’dayek on the passuk to bring a deeper idea. The passuk states “there shall not be a man’s garment to a women and a man shall not dress in a woman’s garment…” Reb Noson explains that spiritually speaking, “garments” refer to a person’s seichel which clothes and surrounds his neshama. Specifically the seichel corresponds to whatever level of understanding Hashem that person has reached via their Torah learning and avodah. A person who has reached a certain level of comprehension of heaven can obviously understand the levels below his current one as well. However if he tries to reach too high above his current level he may find he taps into a revelation that is too much for his personal kelim to handle which can have a very damaging affect. Therefore a person has to constantly be working on themselves via davening, mitzvot and learning so as to always be building stronger kelim to eventually take on the next higher level of divine light.

Kabbalistically speaking, when talking about any two different levels of spirituality, the upper level is referred to as the “male” while the lower is referred to as the “female.” Reb Noson says the passuk is actually speaking in code, referring to two different levels of spirituality. Someone who is on a lower level is in the aspect of “female” and the Torah is warning them not to shoot too high for a level above their reach, i.e. “male seichel” before they are ready for it. Therefore it specifically says “there shall not be a male’s garment (higher seichel) to a women (lower seichel)” because this person is not yet ready to attain it. However when describing the second case the language is changed to “ a man (upper seichel) shall not dress in a woman’s garment (lower seichel).” Reb Noson says that the Torah doesn’t need to warn one who has achieved a higher level not to reach for a lower level as it’s obvious that such a level is already within their grasp. However it says not to dress oneself in it – i.e. not to involve oneself in a lower level because even though one is able to do so we should always be working to achieve new heights in our spirituality – not go lower.

May we merit to constantly elevate ourselves in our relationship with Hashem in a safe and measured way.