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Torah and Good Deeds
Torah and good deeds
Purify your character.
But you cannot rely on this alone.
You must work on your character.
You must perfect your ethical being.
Orot Hakodesh III, p. 233
From the Depths of Chaos
The call to purify your character never ceases.
You may have already purified it when you were on an intermediate spiritual level.
But when you grow, you bring hidden treasures of life out of the depths of chaos. These portions come to you as a spiritual revelation. Because they have never been refined, they require constantly new purifying.
There are holy people who never cease growing. They go from strength to strength, always engaged in actualized repentance.
Purifying and refining character is a vital ingredient of that repentance.
Orot Hakodesh III, p. 233
When You Want to Improve Someone
Take a second look when you want to improve someone and remove him from his habitual path. Perhaps that path is actually good. Although it has its failings, they may be protecting that person from even greater failings.
May God guide us to be fair. Sometimes our inner drive entices us to enter a mode of improving everyone. This is actually a negative impulse.
We can be compassionate. And when we are, God, Who is compassionate, will remove all flaws.
Midot Harayah, p. 92
The Aesthetic Sense
The general time of spiritual favor in the world and a spiritual time of favor in the individual are inter-dependent in a number of ways.
Every pleasing harmony of life—every preparation that strengthens our aesthetic sense—prepares paths for the appearance of supernal lights from the supernal spiritual treasure house, which streams without cease and seeks to spread and thus fulfill its function in whatever place it finds prepared for it.
More than all this, good character traits prepare a place for supernal holiness; more than they, this-worldly mitzvot; more than they, the Torah; and more than all of them, the inner quality within the Torah.
There are also supernal unifications [of meditation] in their purity that come after one has completed all the previous preparations of action and of spirit, together with all the acquisitions of temperament coming from a healthy body and soul that are related to [these unifications]. These unifications are the highest of all. They are a wondrous preparation for the revelation of spiritual light in the wealth of its flow, giving life to the spirit of every individual and giving a soul to the entire nation.
Arpelei Torah, p. 9
“Ethical behavior must precede the Torah.”
Such a period of time is necessary, in [all] generations. An ingrained ethics in all the depth of its majesty and its mighty strength must be established in our spirit and become a receptacle for the great influences that come from the power of the Torah.
Just as awe is the level of the root [force] that precedes wisdom, so are natural ethics the level of the root [force] that precedes awe and all its ramifications.
This principle holds for the individual, and entirety of the [Jewish] people and all humanity.
If there is a need, upon occasion, to bring to bear the influence of Torah without first connecting to the root of natural ethics in its purity, that is the path of a temporary decree. But life must bring matters about so that the process will return to its mighty order: the preceding of natural ethics in all its fullness, in order to build upon its base the first stage of the Torah and supernal awe.
Orot Hatorah 12:2