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Wednesday, 3 December 2014

How to become an Angel

Daf Yomi Yevamos 60

When Moses ascended Mt. Sinai to receive the Torah, he entered a realm where Heaven meets Earth.  While he physically had two feet on the ground, he no longer needed to eat or drink, and for forty days he lived a semi-spiritual existence.  In fact when the angels challenged Moses’s right to take the Torah from Heaven, our Sages suggest that Moses had the right to respond due to the fact that he was half-man, half-angel!

What do they mean when they say that Moses was part angel?  Was he not a human being?

After Balaam failed to bring misfortune to the Children of Israel by cursing them, he found an alternative method to bring them to their knees.  He sent the young Midianite women into the Israelite camp to seduce the men and lead them astray after their idolatrous pagan worship.  The plan succeeded and G-d sent a plague to the Israelites.  It wasn’t until Phineas acted with zealotry that the plague departed. 

Following their near-annihilation, the Israelites attacked and were victorious over the Midianites. 
Knowing the source of their weakness, Moses instructed that no Midianite women of cohabitable age be permitted to enter into the Israelite camp.   
The Torah declares, “Only female children who have not known cohabitation may you sustain unto you.” 

But how did they know who was kosher?
Rabbi Chona the son of Bizna quoted Rabbi Shimon the Pious: They passed the Midianite women before the tzitz – the holy headpiece of the High Priest.  Anyone whose face turned sallow, it was a sign that she was previously cohabitable; and anyone whose face did not turn sallow, clearly was not previously cohabitable.

The popular adage says ‘You are what you eat.’  Our Sages teach us that in fact ‘You are what you do.’  Every act in this world has an effect on you to make you either more physical or more spiritual.  With every mitzvah you perform, you transform your flesh into spiritual matter; with every sin you commit, you transform your soul into physical matter.   Of course, we cannot see this transformation with our physical eyes, but with the help of the tzitz, all became revealed.  

After a person dies, the soul departs from the body and the body becomes completely sallow.   That is a sign that life – the soul – has left the body.  What most people don’t realize is that the process is actually taking place constantly.  Every time you sin, you lose spiritual vitality and become a little more sallow.  We just don’t see it.  On the flipside, doing mitzvos makes you more spiritual.  Moses achieved the highest level of spirituality in this world.  That’s what our Sages mean when they say that he was part-man, part-angel.  He had so refined his physicality that he was semi-spiritual even as far as his flesh was concerned.

The more spiritual you become, the more in tune you become with the Divine.  Our patriarchs are referred to as G-d’s chariot.  Just like a chariot has no independent will – it goes wherever the rider directs it – so, the patriarchs were completely nullified to the will of the Almighty.   And when you align your will with the Divine, all your needs and wants in life become a reality.

Serve the Almighty and become a spiritual being!   Become attuned to His will and He will be in tune with yours.  People around will still perceive you as a physical, mortal human being, but you will be living a completely different existence, one that is marked by spirituality and heavenliness!  

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