The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of righteous memory, fervently encouraged all Jewish children to study and commit to memory twelve verses culled from every area of Torah wisdom and literature. Each passage – Infinite wisdom condensed – was thoughtfully selected with children in mind, and presents a fundamental lesson for a Jew’s daily service of G-d in a clear and concise way, that can be contemplated and discussed anywhere. The Lubavitcher Rebbe was one Jewish leader who had full confidence in the power of youth to make incredible positive impact, and to inspire and teach their friends, too! Hashem believes in YOU to be an ambassador of light, and invites you to become a soldier in His army, with a mission to increase goodness and holiness wherever you go… and reciting the Twelve Torah Pessukim is a fantastic place to start! Come on a journey with me, as I too learn these timeless citations alongside their inner meaning, then how we can apply and take them to heart!
Note from the author: When it comes to making a general statement about people, although I often tend to make pronoun-references in the masculine form (e.g. him, his, he, etc.), please bear in mind the concepts discussed are equally relevant to girls and women.
“V’HINEI HASHEM NITZAV ALAV UM’LO KOL HA’ARETZ KEVODO UMABIT ALAV UVOCHEIN K’LAYOS V’LEIV IM OVDO KARA’OOY – G-D STANDS OVER HIM [A PERSON] AND THE WHOLE EARTH IS FULL OF HIS GLORY, AND HE SEARCHES HIS MIND AND HEART TO SEE IF HE IS SERVING HIM AS FITTING.” (Tanya, Chapter 41)
We are advised to learn this citation in Tanya, and the beginning of Chapter Forty-One where it’s included, as a key to self-control. If one constantly envisions himself before a ruler, imagine how it affects his behavior; how much more so before Hashem, the King of all kings, who permeates all existence and perceives every corner of our consciousness!
Tzivos Hashem (“Hashem’s army” – comprised of all Jews, but especially children!) sense G-d’s presence in everything they do, for G-d differs from a mortal commander-in-chief, who receives reports at a distance from the battle. Rather, Hashem is intimately involved on the battlefield – our inner conflict and activity – with direct, 24/7 supervision. Knowing this gives us the strength and reverence to hold back from doing anything unseemly, and even ever being dishonest! Deception is not an offense only against people, even if they never find out, but it also acts against G-d Who commanded us not to lie. Knowing this is preventative for misdeed or even temptation, because we recognize there is no tricking or outwitting the Ultimate Judge.
Even if we have good intentions for our dishonesty – e.g. a Jew not wanting to publicize a matter of Chillul Hashem (desecration of G-d’s honor and Name) – even if it temporarily tarnishes our names in this world, Hashem wants us to choose the truth. We will have the tokef (strength and passion) to admit our actions, even when difficult; He is watching and waiting. Truly, “Honesty is the best policy,” as the adage goes. Every human being should live with this consciousness of a Power above Himself, and especially a Jew who’s held to a higher moral standard as descendant of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs.
When our Animal soul (our darker, more self-centered and survivalist impulse) asserts itself, inciting dread and deceit, a person isn’t acting like a human; he isn’t expressing his Divine, mindful soul. If we say this passage a few times daily, it will strengthen our Divine soul’s influence – and sensitivity to G-d’s immanent presence – over its opposing counterpart (the Animal soul).
When you’re before Hashem, focus; fear not when other people or situations approach as a threat or distraction, because before Hashem none else is of true significance. So never relinquish your moral convictions! The foundational awareness that Hashem is personally here watching over us will certainly inspire us to refine our negative behavior and reactions, and all that holds us back us from conducting ourselves as the ethical, loyal, dignified, G-dly beings as which we’re really created.
LISTEN to a STORY: “Standing Before the King of All Kings!”