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Baal Shem Tov

Someone once asked the Baal Shem Tov, how come when one feels close to God, sometimes they suddenly feel that God is distant and sometimes then God comes close?

He answered, this is like a father who wishes to show his child how to walk – initially he holds out his hands and the child goes towards his hand, which were close, but then the father pulls back, which gets the child to walk some more, and in this way he learns how to walk – similarly, if we were always feeling close to God…

The Tzaaddik works hard on His connection to God, but feels far – this is so like a parent who holds his hands back to encourage his child walking (first steps,) the Tzaddik will persevere and grow.

Just as initially a father holds the child’s hands – so happily the child walks, but as the father sees the child can – he lets go – so too initially God holds our hands…

If God fears we may be distant – why did He cause it? – It is known, a person has no pleasure from a constant pleasure – so just as if every day a person ate say steak, he would get bored of it – a father who is always with his son – rejoices more when his son who distance comes home.

As the soul comes from the essence of God it makes sense that being distant it would be aroused in such a longing, that it would seemingly expire (back into,) hence God caused there are certain physical pleasures, such as eating, sleeping etc. that we must engage in – this causes an open / closed (longing and returns, phases.)

One of the reasons we fall from our delight in God, is a constant pleasure loses its pleasure – so this is in order so we can renew the pleasure – for taking pleasure in God is the highest service.

The Energy runs towards and returns – the Neshomo coming from God, by nature would seek to envelope itself in Godliness, in Torah and Mitzvos, and would cease being an independent person – hence God caused that one should need to eat… drink… do some work (though the person has the attitude of being satisfied already) because this causes that now the intellect seeks to reconnect.

The Baal Shem Tov gives a delightful example of a store, that the owner gives the visitor a taste of everything – as the customer sees that things taste good, he wishes for more – says the shopkeeper, “this is not a free store” – similarly, first God gives one a taste – so he knows what he must seek.

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