The Twin Paths of Wisdom and Action
Summary of Beit Yaakov, Parashat Terumah section 5
The Beit Yaakov in a number of places discusses the Zohar’s twin paths of Divine service. On the one hand the “striving of Torah” which is free, and on the other the “striving of Mitzvah” which is expensive. There are two ways of coming to know God the Beit Yaakov explains. The easy way is to look within. Inscribed on the “tablets” of the heart is a book of the history of God and the universe. Through this book one can come to a profound revelation of God as the guiding Spirit and director of the entire universe. But this knowledge is easily forgotten, the heart’s desires, the distractions of this world, and the clouding of awareness obscure this understanding. However, this knowledge leaves a remnant, a seed. And it is in our everyday action, the actualisation of faith, that the seed germinates and the sapling grows. It is God’s desire that His glory should pervade the earth, meaning man’s heart should be full of God’s knowledge, and this is the work of spiritual practice.
These are the twin peaks of spiritual practice according to the Beit Yaakov, the unification of our hearts with God in meditation, and then the actualisation of faith in the activity of our lives in each moment, with each action and every interaction.
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