When someone who is not familiar with the Torah commandments looks at one who performs them, many questions arise.
The most common one is – why to go and be so anal about tiny nuances? If you seriously study Kabbalah, I’m sure that by now you know that 613 commandments are divided into 365 prohibitive and 248 positive commandments that correspond to certain parts of human body.
Each commandment has the power to draw Divine Light into this world as well as to affect spiritual worlds. For example, when someone puts Tefilin and Talit, he draws various lights from the spiritual worlds as explained in the writings of ARI and brought out by Ben Ish Chai:
* By putting Talles – connect to Yetzira
* By reciting blessing over Talles – attract light of Yetzira
* By putting Tefilin of hand – connect to Beriya
* By reciting blessing on Tefilin of Hand – attract light of Beriya
* By putting Tefilin of head – connect to of Atzilut
* By reciting blessing for Tefilin of head – attract light of Atzilut
There is dispute among sages whether we have the power to attract the light of Atzilut. Ashkenaz follows tradition that we can attract the light of Atzilut and therefore recite the blessing over the head tefilin, while sefardim accept the tradition that light of Atzilut isn’t attracted from below but comes from above and therefore don’t recite blessing on head teffilin.
When a person performs a commandment in corporeal world it has immediate affect throughout the whole five spiritual worlds, however if a tiny detail is left out the effect might not be the one that we’re interested in achieving. A rabbi forwarded me this interesting correspondence that I believe answers in a very simple way, why people focus so much attention in performing the commandments.
Question of the Week:
Why does the Jewish religion seems to obsess over insignificant details?
How much matza do we have to eat, which spoon did I use for milk and which
for meat, what is the right way to tie my shoelaces?
It seems to me that this misses the bigger picture by focusing on minutiae.
Is this nitpicking what Jews call spirituality?
(I actually already sent you this question over a week ago and didn’t
receive a reply. Could it be that you have finally been asked a question
that you can’t answer?!)
I never claimed to have all the answers. There are many questions that are
beyond me. But it happens to be that I did answer your question, and you did
get the answer.
I sent a reply immediately. The fact that you didn’t receive it is itself
the answer to your question. You see, I sent you a reply, but I wrote your
email address leaving out the “dot” before the “com”.
I figured that you should still receive the email, because after all, it is
only one little dot missing. I mean come on; it’s not as if I wrote the
wrong name or something drastic like that! Would anyone be so nitpicky as to
differentiate between “yahoocom” and “yahoo.com”? Isn’t it a bit ridiculous
that you didn’t get my email just because of a little dot? No, it’s not
ridiculous. Because the dot is not just a dot. It represents something. That
dot has meaning far beyond the pixels on the screen that form it. To me it
may seem insignificant, but that is simply due to my ignorance of the ways
of the web. All I know is that with the dot, the message gets to the right
destination; without it, the message is lost to oblivion.
Jewish practices have infinite depth. Each nuance and detail contains a
world of symbolism. And every dot counts. When they are performed with
precision, a spiritual vibration is emailed throughout the universe, all the
way to G-d’s inbox. If you want to understand the symbolism of the dot,
study I.T. If you want to understand the symbolism of Judaism, study it.