Shabbat Parashat Terumah | 5770
Ein Ayah: Sanctifying the Community
(based on Berachot 3:40)
Gemara: How do we know that a yachid (one davening not as part of a minyan) does not recite Kedusha?
Ein Ayah: The content of Kedusha (the prayer of sanctification) is that through it, a person will be elevated to the highest point of shleimut (completeness) and make his goal not his own needs but the needs of the honor of the Master of the Universe and His sanctity. As long as a person makes his own advancement, even spiritual advancement, his main interest, he is not included in sanctification. This is because sanctification is the elevation toward that which is intrinsically good and straight because this is what the pure intellect dictates. In contrast, regarding one’s personal shleimut, the desire is also related to self-love, so that one does not to do it based on intellect but rather based on natural emotion that all people have. True sanctification, toward which every one should focus his intention, has to do with fulfilling his Master’s wishes; if he does so, he will be one who does Hashem’s will in the most complete way.
The main way of serving Hashem on the highest level is to elevate and bring merit to the community/nation and to improve it in many specific ways. Whoever has this sort of service of Hashem lead him throughout his life truly elevates himself in sanctity, as then his goal is not related to self-love. This is why a yachid does not recite Kedusha, as an individual cannot by himself reach sanctification without a group with whom to try to improve and through whom he can reach this level. All matters of sanctification require at least ten people, which is the minimum number for there to be a situation of masses and a community.
Furthermore, [coming together as a group] shows a recognition of Hashem’s sanctity, which means that he is separate from all else and complete in the fullest possible sense. In this way, Hashem cannot be related directly to His creations. Those who are just “possibilities to exist” cannot be compared to He who must exist. Since Hashem is not missing anything, on a certain level, it is impossible to talk about serving Him. Therefore, the highest level of service is to consciously elevate His other creations. When a person realizes this elevated truth he will put all of his focus on Hashem’s honor, accomplished by raising the level of the community, thereby doing the will of the Creator, who wanted the community to be complete. In fact, Hashem gave power to the straight of heart to actualize the potential of Hashem’s creation for shleimut.
For the above reasons it is possible to reveal Hashem’s sanctity in regard to His service only in public, which requires a minimum of ten. It should be no surprise that the source that ten is the critical number is from the “evil congregation” (the spies). From the evil we can come to understand the righteous. If the goal of the evil were only to make things bad regarding their own lives, the rules of judgment would not be so harsh with the sinner who ruined his own soul. Since people were created in a manner that enables them to impact on and be impacted by the community, the depth of evil one can reach has to do with his negative impact on others. As it says in Pirkei Avot (5:1), Hashem will pay back the wicked who spoil a world that was created with Ten Sayings. This is why Hashem had little patience for the worst of those who ruined things for the nation (the spies). From here we learn that the source of good and justice is also related to the public realm, as it says “Hashem stands in the congregation of the Lord” (Tehillim 82:1).
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