A GLIMPTS OF LIGHT
1. FEAR OF HEAVEN:
1:1 “Raishis Chachmah Yiras Hashem, The Beginning of Wisdom is the Fear of Hashem.” (Proverbs 1:7)
This simple posuk contains the entire key to avodas Hashem. Let us begin by contemplating about what it means to make a beginning. When you start from scratch with something, how you begin sets the foundation to everything that comes thereafter. Shlomo Hamelech, who was the wisest of all men, is telling us here that if you want wisdom, forget everything you already know. Go back to the basics he is informing us. If you don’t fear Hashem, you haven’t even tasted what wisdom truly is about. All you have learned up until now is simply meaningless. It isn’t true knowledge at all. The entire goal of knowledge therefore, must be in order to increase ones fear of heaven.
1:2 “The end of the matter, all having been heard, is to fear Hashem, and keep His commandments, for this is the whole of man.” (Koheles 12:13)
If you have a vessel without any holes, you will have the ability to pour any substance into it and it will not leak out. It is having Yiras Shamayim (fear of Heaven), which gives a person a whole vessel. Without Yiras Shamayim, you can pour and pour but with even one hole in the vessel everything will simply seep out.
1:3 “Better a little with the fear of the Hashem, than great treasure and confusion therewith.” (Proverbs 15:16)
A person can accomplish great things in avodas Hashem but if one lacks the necessary fear of Hashem that should be manifested in their heart; they will constantly fall into confusion. It is fear of Hashem that enables one to contemplate their lowliness compared to Hashem’s infinite greatness. Confusion stems from having too much pride in oneself. A person only has pride due to a lack of fear of the Omnipresent One.
1:4 “I have set Hashem before me always; because He is at my right hand I shall not falter.” (Psalms 16:8)
If you place yourself in the right surroundings it will be much easier to grow and not be effected by negative influences. Part of serving Hashem is making a wall around oneself in order to not falter. We are standing constantly before the Omnipresent One but non-the-less, we must still in a practical sense, set Him before our eyes. To do this, we must strive to be amongst those who are close with Him. Generations ago even the simple man had levels of Yiras Shamayim that few of us today have attained. This is because they made it a self-imposed obligation to feel attached to Tzaddikim. In this way, even in their simplicity, they never faltered. The Tzaddik is radiating with tremendous levels of kedusha because of his close attachment to Hashem. It is not difficult to draw from this light should one make a conscious effort. Since the Tzaddik is always attached to Hashem, by fixing yourself to him, you will thereby be placing the fear of Hashem in your heart.
1:5 “The fear of Hashem is his treasure.” (Yeshayahu 33:6)
It’s not love of Hashem, or trust in him, but rather fear of the Hashem is compared to possessing a treasure. To fear Hashem is to know Him. When a wealthy person talks about his riches he doesn’t mention his coins of silver and copper. Rather all he talks about is his gold. Fear of Hashem is like the gold in the treasure box, though the other coins might be important and there might be more of them, it is the gold ones that attract the most attention. Hashem is telling us to fear Him and this is the main treasure.
1:6 “The fear of Hashem is pure; it endures forever.” (Psalms 19:10)
Today everything seems to contain some mixture of chemicals in order to preserve its shelf life. When it comes to fear of Hashem, you don’t need to add artificial additives like your used to doing. Let the fear of Hashem be a simple and pure. This alone will make a profound impression on your heart and thereby it will stand by you preserved forever.
1:7 “And Hashem has wrought so that men should fear Him.” (Koheles 3:14)
Every action that takes place in the world is in order that fear of Hashem should be known. Unfortunately, we blind ourselves from this simple realization. If only we could each live a life bound by the understanding that each movement comes from Heaven. Somewhere in our subconscious is true fear of Hashem. It is our goal in life to bring this to fruition.
1:8 “Lift up your eyes on high, and see Who has created these.” (Yeshayahu 40:26)
Part of the mistake of Ben Azai was that when he saw the awesome greatness of the angel Metatron, he thought of it having power in its own light. This was wrong as its entire power is derived from Hashem, and he could not accomplish even the simplest of deed if Hashem were not sustaining and acting through him. Rabbi Akiva on the other hand, when he entered the Pardes, the “Heavenly Orchard,” he clung to the belief of Hashem’s Infinite power. This being so, he entered and left in peace. When we leave this world and come before Hashem for our final judgment, we will see who truly was behind every test and situation we encountered while in a physical body. It will then be clear to us who created everything. Let us not wait to the final judgment day to realize ‘who created these’. Instead, ‘let us lift up our eyes’ on high with a pure fear of Hashem today.
1:9 “Come, children, listen to me; I will teach you fear of Hashem.” (Psalms 34:12)
The posuk could have just said, “Come, children; I will teach you fear of Hashem.” Instead, the words, ‘listen to me’ are added in order to stress the importance of teaching this principle to children while they are young. It is common for parents to assume certain principles will be understood naturally by their children and can wait till they are older. This is not so with fear of Heaven, we must teach this right away to our children and especially teach it to them during their youth
“Hashem knows the thoughts of man.” (Psalms 94:11)
Each and every thought a person has comes entirely from Hashem. A negative thought appears in order to be cast aside and pushed away. Positive thoughts on the other hand, come in order to be embraced by a person. A person’s thoughts are very much affected by what they see, hear and touch. One has to make sure to provide themselves with an atmosphere that will have a positive effect on this process. The mind is constantly flowing and if we bind ourselves as much as possible to fear of Hashem, our very being will be ignited like fire to perform the will of Hashem.
Klal Yisrael, My holy nation, for some reason you haven’t been listening to what is going on around you. All the signs and wonders that I have done should certainly be enough to recognize my Oneness and power. Why do you choose to close your ears?
“To fear this honored, Awesome Name, YKVK Elokim.” (Deuteronomy 28:59)
Everything in the world derives its sustenance from Hashem through his name YKVK. It is beyond us to understand how we can bless Hashem’s name and not be immediately struck with awe of His greatness. When the holy Rabbi of Tush prays, you can even see his little toes quiver from reverence. A person cannot fear the holy name of Hashem if they recite it rushed without concentration. You know why we don’t quiver ourselves like this holy Rebbe? It is because we are not really even saying Hashem’s name. If we really said Hashem’s name, it would be impossible for every limb of our body not to shake.
“Happy is the man who fears always: but he who hardens his heart shall fall into mischief.” (Proverbs 28:14)
There is no logical reason in the world why a person shouldn’t fear Heaven every second. The only explanation is that we hardened their hearts. Each of us must reflect and figure out why are pushing Hashem away like we are. Fear of Heaven should be always; it should not come and go when convenient.
“Fear not; for Hashem has come to test you, so that His fear is upon your faces, that you not sin.” (Exodus 20:17)
Hashem is telling us, you are going to be tested, and that is part of living. Do not fear the tests I give you in life; rather be bold and strong. I believe in you, that is why I have placed these tests before you. It is in order that you should overcome them and grow as a person. You are to fear Me and not your evil inclination. When fear of Heaven is in your heart, it will be impossible to falter.
“Princes pursued me for naught and my heart feared at Your word.” (Psalms 119:161)
In order to give themselves mere entertainment, many people argue and pursue one another. When insulted and attacked by fellow peers, that is the time to remember fear of Hashem. Not one thing can take place on earth that wasn’t decreed in Heaven. There truly may not be a reason we can fathom of, for this person’s current pursuit of us; therefore it must be that we must look to Hashem.
“The fear of the Hashem increases days.” (Proverbs 10:27)
Why does it say increases days instead of years? Because someone who fears Hashem doesn’t live in the future, he purses all obstacles one day at a time. It isn’t necessarily that he will live longer but that a person who fears Hashem, his days will be more fruitful.
“And their fear of Me is a commandment of men learned by rote.” (Isaiah 29:13,14)
Generally most people consider themselves to be Hashem fearing people. The truth is that most people haven’t come close to true fear of Hashem. They are serving Hashem simply to look good in others eyes and out of a pretend fear of Hashem. To fear Hashem means that every heart beat inside you is not wasted but you are a living servant, thinking only how you could best do His will at every moment.
“The base man says in his heart, there is no Hashem” (Psalms 14:1)
So many of us do the will of Hashem but when it really comes down to it, inside, do we really recognize Hashem, as we should? We may be religious and daven everyday but is our heart genuine like it should be? How much of what we are doing is truly real? We must purify our heart and inspect its every inch to ensure that our belief is uncompromising.