The Value of the Slightest Detail

Friday, 13 December, 2019 - 10:10 am

This week one of our children had to undergo surgery to correct a “minor” issue, that could have potentially caused a “major” issue down the line. Thank G-d, the child is doing well. The medical team was wonderful, caring and professional; and with Hashem’s help our child is on the way to a full recovery.

It got me thinking about the intricate workings of the human body, and how the slightest shift in a seemingly insignificant part of our complex anatomy, can cause an issue that could far outweigh the perception of its importance. We are filled with blood vessels, ducts, muscles, sinews and a host of other bodily components. Each one of them serves a function. We don’t always appreciate the gravity of that function until it is threatened by malfunction. But they are all part of a larger system. We appreciate the importance of the major organs such as the heart, brain, liver or kidney. But there are “little things” that can threaten a “less significant” element of our anatomy; and the next thing you know the body is suffering from a major deficiency that stemmed from that “small issue.” The slightest bulge, blockage or twist in a vessel or duct can upset the entire system that makes the body hum like a well-oiled machine. Thankfully, the intelligence with which Hashem blessed human beings, has brought about major advancements in the area of detection and correction of health issues.

The Zohar states, that all of the cosmos (physical and spiritual) hangs on a single detail of a how a Mitzvah is fulfilled. Tanya explains, that each Mitzvah represents a Divine Energy that comes to the world to sustain it. What if a person doesn’t fulfill the Mitzvah exactly the way it is supposed to be done? The energy doesn’t get suffused into the world.

One might argue that it is not such a big deal. It is the intent that matters. What if I don’t do the Mitzvah exactly as the Torah tells me to? Big deal! My heart is in the right place. If the Mezuzah scroll is paper and not parchment. If the Tefillin are worn at night instead of during the day. If I light Shabbat candles 30 minutes after sunset instead of 18 minutes before sunset. If I celebrate Purim a day early or late. If I got rid of bread on Passover but not liquor. I could go on and on.

Would the same be said about a medical issue? What if the vessel had a miniscule blockage? What if the duct opened slightly? What if the muscle shifted to one side or another by an almost immeasurable amount? Would we say the same thing? Of course not! Because we see the actual impact of even the slightest vulnerability in the body’s condition. The same is true on the spiritual side of life. Care must be taken to follow the details and do the Mitzvahs correctly. In this way we ensure the health of our own selves as well as the cosmos as a whole.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

Comments on: The Value of the Slightest Detail

Jill Halpern wrote...

Wow, I never thought of it like that. I am one of those people who wasn't concerned if I was doing the mitzvah properly. I always felt as long as my heart was in it, that was important. You have given me a much better understanding. It definitely is a big responsibility being a Jew, and making sure I took the mitzvah correctly, but I'm glad I understand it better. Thank you for that inspiring explanation.....I pray your child is doing well