Purity and Holiness from Reb Shlomo
Wisdom of the Week
Reprinted from Holy Beggars’ Gazette 5737/1977 Copyright (c) 1977 by the Judaic Book Service Reprinted with permission of the Members of the House of Love and Prayer and all the Holy Beggars Not for commercial redistribution
PURITY AND HOLINESS
What is purity, and what is holiness? First you have to know that purity is in the heart. Simplicity. We don’t say “a holy heart”, we say “a pure heart”. Holiness is in the mind,’a holy mind’.
Which comes first? Purity. First you have to purify your heart, then you reach holiness in your mind. What does “purity in your heart” mean? A pure heart means there is not one billionth of an ounce in my heart which is angry at G-d. Do you know how angry we are at G-d? Basically we are very angry. Most of the time we think, “You know, G-d, if I were You, I would do things differently.” Then we think, “Listen, You created the world. Couldn’t You take just a little bit better care of it?” Whatever I do wrong. whatever happens to me, I just blame on G-d, right? I very rarely blame it on myself. So “pure” means I am absolutely not angry at G-d.
Do you know what holy means? Not only am I not angry at G-d, holy means that something happens to me which makes me know that G-d is right. Something happens to my mind which is not a one-plus-one kind of knowing. It is a holy kind of knowing when I really know, “This is the way it should be.” Even if I don’t understand why, it really doesn’t matter. Suddenly my mind becomes a vessel to know that things are really the way they are supposed to be.
When we are pure, and G-d should please bless us to be pure, then the light of G-d is really shining into us in all its clarity, on an infinite level. The light of Holiness is not really part of this world. The utmost one can reach on a worldly level is purity. Meaning to say, all I can work for is being pure. Holiness is a gift from G-d, because it is not of this world. Holiness means that I am completely clear that there is one G-d, that I am not angry at Him, and that I know on the deepest levels that the world is the way it is supposed to be. How could it be otherwise?
According to Jewish law, the utmost of purity is life, and the utmost of impurity is, G-d forbid, death. According to Jewish law, when I touch a dead body, I become impure. On a spiritual level I am sad. Sadness is Gehinom, the utmost of spiritual death. It makes me impure. Being impure means I give up. The less I give up, the more strength I have for purity.