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Open a Door as Tiny as the Eye of a Needle

Published on Wednesday August 11th, 2021

Our sages interpret a passage from Midrash Rabbah on the Song of Songs (5.3): "Open to me my sister, my bride", as "open a door as tiny as the eye of a needle and I will open your gates wide enough to let carts and horse-drawn carriages drive through".


How can we open this tiny opening?


The Michtav M'Eliyahu explains it simply and clearly:

"Open a door to repentance as tiny as the eye of a needle and I will open your gates wide enough to let carts and horse-drawn carriages drive through". This is the tiny aperture that Hashem desires from the Jewish People; that they may open their hearts to Him, even slightly. Any thought of remorse, any good deed, any victory over the evil inclination creates an opening in the iron wall that isolates us from our Father in Heaven. When a man opens even a tiny slit in his heart, as small as the eye of a needle, he receives a heavenly and bountiful response that can elevate him from his current physical or spiritual state to unknown heights.

However, there is one condition. Despite its minute size, this opening need to be sincere and total, burst open from one end to the other. This opening should reflect an honest and stable wish to come close to Hashem and not just a whimsical, wishy washy, hesitating and half-hearted whim, lacking in commitment. The verse: "Whoever wishes to purify himself deserves heavenly help" only applies if a man sincerely aspires to become pure".

After meeting this condition, a man may earn priceless gains, compared to his minute of initial investment, the width of the eye of a needle. His profits are described allegorically as wide open gates where carts and horse drawn carriages can drive through. And this allegory is not only quantitative but qualitative.

Our Sages commented on a verse in Vayikra (11:44) in the Tractate Yoma (39a): "Sanctify yourselves and become holy". If a man has the drive to sanctify himself, even minimally, he deserves to be sanctified by Hashem many times over. If he strives to be holy here on earth, he will also be sanctified in heaven.  If he sanctifies himself in this world, he will be sanctified in the world to come".

Such extraordinary divine bounty! The Almighty showers us with tremendous tides of holiness in exchange for our tiniest movements! In addition, these divine consequences are considered in Heaven as if we were the sole actors in this script.

And where does this immense wealth spring from? From a minute action, as tiny as the eye of a needle.  A unique condition is required to make this seed grow and develop: that man acts solely for heaven's honor. If he operates on behalf of his own egotistical interests in this world, whether for personal profits or the pursuit of honor, he has not cracked an acceptable opening in the wall that isolates him from Hashem.

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