Be Practical, but Spiritual…..

November 24, 2019 at 1:13 AM , , ,
“….Because Avraham heeded my voice, and kept my restrictions, my commandments, my statues and my instructions…..” – Bereishit 26:5

״…עקב אשר שמע אברהם בקולי וישמר משמרתי מצותי חוקותי ותורתי…״ – בראשית כו, ה

We find that our father Avraham observed the entire Torah before it was given, as it is written, “Because Avraham heeded My voice, and kept My restrictions, My commandments, My statutes, and My instructions.” —Mishna, Kiddushin 82a


Avraham could not possibly have observed all the mitzvos in their physical form. In order to physically observe the mitzvah of wearing Tefilin, for example, the Tefilin must contain certain parshiyos, portions of the Torah, some of which speak about the Exodus from Egypt. As the Exodus took place more than three centuries after Avraham’s passing, Avraham’s fulfillment of this mitzvah could not have been identical to ours. Instead, our forefathers observed the spiritual equivalent of those mitzvos (Torah Ohr, Lech Lecha 11d). This means that the effects of their Divine worship in the spiritual realms were identical to those affected through the physical observance of the mitzvos, including the mitzvos that they could not physically fulfill.

The Torah’s teachings are not mere documentation of history; they serve as a guide for every Jew in his service of G-d. Accordingly, even we, to whom spiritual modes of Divine worship are not at all relatable, are supposed to follow our forefathers’ lead and fulfill the Torah through spiritual means.

How so? By being the inspiration and stimulus behind another person’s mitzvah observance.

When you encourage someone else to keep Shabbos or you speak with them about adding in Torah study, only the one whom you are trying to affect can actually perform his personal obligation to fulfill that mitzvah. Your involvement in that person’s mitzvah is spiritual – his observance is driven by the words you spoke and the motivation that you inspired, but it is impossible for you to physically do those mitzvos in his stead.

The spiritual observance of mitzvos by our forefathers teaches us that besides for observing mitzvos physically, i.e. the mitzvos that we ourselves perform, we must also engage in mitzvos in which our participation is only spiritual, by influencing and inspiring others to observe their obligations as well.

—Toras Menachem 5745 vol. 1, p. 575


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