Who can remember being a small child experiencing that inner
cry that leads to an outward cry, a cry of unfairness, of frustration, of
rubbing up against something that is causing the child to feel pain?
In that moment, a child is aware of its preciousness and
what is causing pain is that such preciousness is not being affirmed. Rather, there is a contrast to the feeling of
being beloved and the child does not know what to do.
In truth, what is being felt is that spark of high light
that is so precious yet does not know how to reach out in a way that will be
responded to in an affirming way, regardless of the outcome, yes or no.
Whatever happens after that becomes where that spark of high
light attaches, for better or for worse.
Bringing that high light from wherever it attaches back to
Hashem is the focus of our mission in this world,
Through following Torah and mitzvahs, we have a way for our
high light to respond to situations as well as for a way to be responded to
that is dignified and full of kedusha.
This is the tree of life.
Our ability to connect our lives to the tree of life depends
on our emunah. It is the strength of our
emunah that opens to our hearts the feeling of being alive and happy while
And what does our emunah depend on?
The effort we make in speaking to Hashem in personal prayer,
hisbodidus, where we bring up to Him how we naturally feel yet with a desire to
reveal His Compassion instead is the pathway.
Wby? When we actively will to
bring His Compassion into the world instead of the messages that are blocking
us from doing so, He has mercy on us and tips the scales so that the messages
subdue and our high light flows into mitzvahs.
The calm we experience as that part of our spiritual being flows from a
blocked place through a mitzvah into the world is experiential. It brings an understanding of ourselves not
as a physical being but as a creation with a Creator. The more Torah we learn about the makeup of
our inner consciousness and the flow of chesed to this world and Hashem’s
vision for having a world in which His Compassion may be revealed give us truth
to hold onto.
What is actually happening in our limbic system and our
brain is that the associations that touch our neurology come up, animated by
the high light that is our life force.
By comprehending there is no other Power and by asking for mercy, we
shift our thinking pattern from believing the negativity to redeeming the high
light and moving it into the world through mitzvahs. We submit our subjectivity and expand our experience
with awareness of Hashem and the Divine Plan and the purpose of every one of us
to be the emotional bridge across which compassionate light flows into the
world from our personal darkness.
It takes strength, emunah, will, and a striving for true
connection to Hashem is One. It is concerted effort over time that slowly opens
our eyes to see ourselves as that high light that we are given to weave into
Hashem’s Name Yud K Vav K.
The block may feel like we have to go to level minus 2. And there also might be level minus 3,
meaning that the vitality of our negative thoughts may feel like it is
happening and feel real even though we intellectually know it is a result of
childhood experience, especially trauma.
Emergency first aid when we are experiencing such negativity
is to remember that the pain that we are experiencing is because high light,
the Shechina in exile there, is ready for us to weave it back to compassion and
that in order to do so, we are being asked to ask Hashem for His Divine Mercy
to please open the door because of our will to do His Will. Understandably, at first this may not feel
natural. However, when the storm passes
and the calm restored, we begin to see what a person is – a passageway for
light to travel into this world when we recognize our Creator and will to serve
Him by infusing the light into learning Torah, chesed, prayer and mitzvahs.
What might otherwise seem rote to us is really quite relevant
to our lives and our happiness. What seems
rote to us are constraints that are ready
to be shed in favor of connecting to the tree of life and simcha. What we need to do this is emunah, which means
dedicated personal hisbodidus confessing our blocks and our repeated asking for
mercy to remove what is blocking us so that we may invest ourselves in doing His
Physiologically what is happening is that our orbital cortex
heals. Our limbic system, which is the
natural neurology that affects every molecule in our body, sends signals to the
orbital cortex and our ability to add a layer of executive functioning gives us
the stamina to then regulate our emotions by inter-including chesed and gevura
into compassion, by inter-including emunah and bitachon with our actions that affect
the four foundations of the world, earth wind water and fire. And these actions enclothe our high light in
the dignified garments of Hashem, the rectified middos, with a crown of faith,
pleasure and will to do His Will that is natural and beloved to us rather than
rote or anything less.
How might we see each other in this light so that our communications with ourselves, others and with Hashem incorporate the executive functioning that is so healing and brings compassion into the world?
Thank You Hashem for giving me a lifetime as an emanation of
My will is to provide an opening for Your Compassion to flow
into the world.
Have mercy upon Your creation because the lifeforce You are
graciously bestowing upon me as chesed is herniated in my feeling existence as
if it is focused on me and my will based on nature.
I am clinging to
Torah that tells me that we have no independent existence from You with great
love and gratitude because to this sense that is natural, that sense of our own
existence for its own sake, our natural judgments and interpretations, it feels
quite bitter right now.
Stormy wind (daas sitras achra to holy daas,wisdom), thick
clouds (darkness to vitality), flaming fire (concealed to revealed light). These are the elements that precede creation upon
which I focus my prayers and efforts in order to strengthen the vessel of tikkun,
Your Name Yud K Vav K.
It is my will to recognize that this is my opportunity to
flow these unrectified elements into the world, rectified by my emunah, my will
and my love for You out of recognition that I am part of Your Existence, a
creation yet one with You.
I ask for Your mercy
in nullifying the feeling of self, may Your light flow through to this world
through the mitzvah of Know Hashem and who is Hashem like You?
Please may any glow released by this effort be a merit, a healing,
a forgiveness, a cancellation of gezeira and a satisfaction of din for the soul
as it exists in myself, my family, klal Yisrael and mankind, for all
generations and for this generation.
Torah teaches us that Yaakov represents the vessel of repair that Hashem wants for the Jewish people to bring into action in this world. Of our forefathers, the midda of Hashem that correlates to Yaakov Aveinu is tiferes, harmony, compassion. The flow of Hashem’s chesed, Avraham, is shaped by Yitzchok’s stamina which is then bonded to Avraham’s chesed at the akeida, as Hashem’s midda of gevurah or stopping the flow, and Yaakov brings a compassionate integrated understanding to instill in his family, the Jewish people. Yosef who emulates Hashem’s midda of bonding everything together brings the flow of Hashem’s rectified light into the world, as we will see in the next few parshas, Vayeshev and Miketz, where Yosef is sold into Mitzrayim and the brothers come to find him King of Egypt.
In Vayigash, we learn much about what it means that Yaakov is the vessel of repair that Hashem wants for us to bring to action in this world. What repair are we here for?
Esav and Yaakov are twins. In our makeup, we have shards of a fallen world of chaos that affect our physical makeup in a way that is unavoidable…we come into the world, every one of us, to fix this. If not for having a mission of fixing a fallen vessel and bringing a light from the world of chaos through the world of tikkun, repair, there is no reason to come to this world because the part of our soul that is pure does not need any repair. The part of our soul that is pure is the vessel placed here in order to facilitate the repair. The vessel is our unique life force, an emanation from Hashem. The vessel is placed here as an emanation from Knesset Yisrael. Knesset Yisrael is formed in the world of emanatiion and is designed by Hashem to draw the lights of chaos back to Him. How? The vessel is placed within a body with an animal soul. The animal soul grows and learns to see from its own free will to let go of using the high lights of chaos to feel its animalistic self so that it may instead place the high light into a dignified vessel – Torah avoda chesed and mitzvahs – from a place of sincere love for Hashem.
What does Hashem want from us? In hisbodedus He wants us to admit the truth – that naturally what we want is unholy because we want to feel ourselves, our own honor, our own ego pleasures, our own gratifications but that we ask for mercy because we want instead to feel and express Torah, avoda, chesed and mitzvahs. We may only feel a drop of truth in that though. Our plea is coming from a place of emunah and trust in Torah, but that tiny drop is enough for the sparks to begin flowing through our inner penimius that is part of Knesset Yisrael back to Hashem.
The more times we use our free will and emunah to beseech Hashem, the more the sparks trickle back, the more we begin to let go of the self-oriented seeking actions. What happens when we nullify our sense of independent existence and reliance on ourselves as the source of success and happiness is that our vessel for sparks to flow and attach to Hashem’s name yud k vav k strengthens.
As our vessel for flowing sparks back to Hashem grows stronger, we experience the delight and simcha of being with Hashem and that becomes sincerely felt by the animal soul. At that point, its strength is dedicated towards resisting the natural urges and impulses indicative of a being that believes it has independent existence because it comprehends that it does not want to fall away from the pleasantness of attaching to Hashem’s Name yud k vav k.
Everything within us comes to be healed in this way. A part of our life force naturally bonds with the self-oriented gratifications, which is the natural developmental process. It may also bond with painful traumas and memories. Through Torah learning about how Hashem is doing everything and that He loves us, it is possible to develop a will to go above our natural will.
Being willing to strengthen itself in emunah and bear the discomfort of letting go of those natural attachments because it wishes instead to feel alive as part of the flow of Divine compassion is called nullifying the sense of independent existence from Hashem. This will is how the lights of chaos may fill the vessels of tikkun.
Once free of the vessels of chaos – the traumas, the memories, the self-gratifying urges – the lights of chaos want to fill the vessels of tikkun. Esav’s high light is interested in dressing itself in the vessel of Yaakov, a dignified vessel of kedusha. The light realizes it is far better to be in a dignified vessel of kedusha than in a broken vessel of chaos and seeks to be transformed from darkness to light.
Do we relate to this? When we hit rock bottom, we start to make a different choice.
For those who have been through traumas, abuse, neglect and the like, much of the lights of chaos are bonded with very broken vessels and it is really hard to recognize how that light is able to be re-associated with yud k vav k.
Where is one to begin?
We begin with understanding that Hashem is doing everything and that He is existence and that He is in pain because it is the life force from Knesset Yisrael that He is creating that is buried under the natural attachments.
It is bitter. We feel pained. We shake. We have anxiety. We have fear and panic and anger and we hate.
Tremendous light is attached to memories and they feel like one unit. But they are two units – the universal simplicity of Hashem’s Oneness and compassion and a vessel, namely the memory – the physical storing of that memory in our limbic system and orbital cortex.
The vessel and the light.
The light wants a dignified home. Thus, when we show compassion to that light and tell Hashem that we want no more of our light to go into that darkness because we love Him, we build a tiny vessel – a pathway of return/teshuva from our mind to our heart and to Hashem’s Name, yud k vav k, a name that signifies Hashem’s mercy and compassion. By being compassionate to the spark of light trapped in our pain, we identify with His Name. That builds a connection, for it is a mitzvah to Know Hashem and to recognize Him as the Only Power and that the force in this message is, in fact, Hashem’s chesed imprisoned by nature, Elokim.
This effort, for which we need to strengthen ourselves in emunah, may be sincere but we may feel numb to whatever connection to Hashem’s Name might result. However, we do shortly thereafter feel a shift.
That shift is enough of a positive feedback for our animal soul for it to begin building trust and interest in repeating this perspective on its natural attachment to fear and anger. A level of executive functioning is forming.
What is that executive functioning?
The executive functioning that forms is to be conscious that the messages of misery and judgment, shame and blame issuing from the orbital cortex when our triggers are set off CAN be removed from the light animating the feeling and the light can shift and be placed in a dignified vessel of compassion and mitzvahs. The more we try this, the more Torah sources we have to hold onto in this process, the more that scaffolding is built within our consciousness so that we have a different relationship with our negativity. Instead of feeling the negativity, we move in hisbodedus with empowerment to invest the light into kedusha.
The more we make this choice, the more the animal soul is
willing to not only make the choice, but to be able to see a way to bring the
light of chaos into the world as a blessing, a mitzvah, a chesed or through
learning Torah. The animal soul comes to
LOVE doing Hashem’s will and that becomes the new natural.
Breaking these bonds takes considerable hisbodidus and
emunah and consciousness in the moment.
But the parsha tells us that Esav’s light wants to be infused into a
vessel of kedusha and serve Hashem.
Imagine if before we spoke we filtered what we were about to
do to see if it emulates Hashem’s 13 attributes of mercy, as represented by Yud
K Vav K , the Name that flows Divine chesed throughout the created world. Do you think that would turn our hearts into
A mishkan is a place where an animal is brought as a sacrifice and produces atonement. Our bodies are built to separate food from waste and expel the waste and use the energy for serving Hashem. Does it not make sense that our emotions are too and that when we use will and emunah to do so we are providing a vessel of kedusha and that IS its atonement?
We weave the light into Hashem’s Name and the messages dissolve and the vessel of tikkun, Yaakov, Yisroel, Hashem’s Name are strengthened and the foundations, earth wind water and fire are rectified as the lights of chaos fill the vessels of repair instead of the vessels of chaos and destruction.
Parshas Vayigash is showing us the inner makeup of each person, born with an animal soul bound naturally to a shard of a vessel that fell into it from the world of chaos when it shattered– called Esav – and filled with a pure soul, the inner penimi, bound to Knesset Yisroel that Hashem designs to draw the light of chaos back to Him whilst dissolving vessel of chaos that naturally bonded with it. Yet because Esav did not fulfill his Divine mission of rectifying the broken vessels, the 12 tribes were born into a world where the sefiros, the middos, continued to have the lights of chaos creating imbalance.
And what happened?
Vayeshev and Miketz.
Yosef strengthens the foundations so that a vessel of kedusha can hold the lights of chaos that were embedded in the brothers and there is unity and Divine consciousness.
Hashem really is doing everything – He does all the heavy lifting, We recognize Him and we will to go above our unholy natural attachments and we ask for Divine mercy and we move forward with mitzvahs. Whatever Hashem sends through the jperformance of the six constant mitzvahs of know Hashem, No other power, Hashem is One, Love Hashem, have Awe of Hashem, and guard our soul from straying after our mind and heart is up to Hashem, but He gives us the credit!!
May we comprehend that we may have no idea what lights of
chaos flow through us back to Him yet may we trust that Hashem knows and that
our effort to cling to His Name brings our middos into balance and
rectification and attaches us to the vessel of tikkun, Hashem’s Name, yud k vav k.
By trying this repeatedly over time, a person can truly come to find Hashem’s Name beloved. His Name IS our beloved and it can be heartfelt, natural and experiential.
Yaakov sends messages to Eisav to try to welcome him in
peace, to make a relationship that is peaceful.
The messengers come to tell him that Esav is coming with 400 men. Yaakov prepares in three ways. With presents, war and prayer. These were Yaakov’s efforts that he did,
because Esav was coming towards him with 400 men. Yaakov asks in his prayer, please Hashem save
me from my brother Esav. Rashi says save
me from my brother means from a brother that acts evilly towards me. It is important to understand this
Rashi. When Yaakov prepared for war, he
wasn’t afraid of the strength because he trusted in Hashem regarding
safety. Yaakov was afraid of the
brotherhood of Esav, that perhaps Esav would show him a friendly face and the
children will see an uncle and this was a great danger, the fact that Esav
would become close more than his being an enemy and fighting him. Save me from my brother that my children
would not see him as an uncle, because this type of relationship would
influence them for bad.
The whole household, the chinuch the good upraising was now
in danger from the possible influence of Esav which could tear down the whole
structure of the household. This brother
could tear apart the mothers from their children and all the weak people in the
hand of Yaakov. Yaakov was afraid that
they should not get caught up in this net. It felt like a death sentence to him
and he prayed that Hashem should help him with this. The angel that was the general of Esav hinted
to Yaakov when they fought that when he could not win over Yaakov, he hurt him
in his thigh, because he could not conquer Yaakov, perhaps he could conquer his
children, the children Esav would try to catch in his net. The thigh refers to the descendants of the
person. The fact that the malach of Esav did hurt him in his thigh means that
Esav presents a danger to Yaakov’s descendants.
When they met face to face and Esav spoke softly to Yaakov,
he said I am not going to move from here, Esav wanted to be close to Yaakov and
not move away. Yaakov saw that there was
a danger of spiritual destruction that is potentially there if Esav would be
attached to him. In one day Esav could
destroy all of the wonderful education they got in the house of Yaakov. We do not want our children close to the
influences of evil people that would tear apart our soul. There is no way to deal with the problems
except to not become close to them and to go very far away from such
Fortunate is the person that fears always
Yaakov learned 14 years in the Yeshiva shem vever and did not
sleep. He was learning Torah non-stop
and he was preparing himself to withstand the challenges that he was going to
meet up with. Afterwards he worked
another 6 years and he did not sleep at all.
All these 20 years, he did not lay down, he just said tehillim. So for 34 years he was learning Torah and
saying tehillim and all that time he lifted his challenges and came out pure
and saw the revelation of Hashem and stood in the vision of the ladder and in
the end he showed him that he met the camps of angels of Hashem. With all this, it says Yaakov was
afraid. Why was he afraid? He was afraid that perhaps there would be a
problem. The great fear would take hold
of a person, this type of fear that Yaakov, who was the choice of all the
fathers, and after all the hard work in the Torah, there was a revelation and a
promise that Hashem said He would watch him wherever he goes, but he was afraid
a sin would come and destroy everything. There is no promise for a soul of a
person when it comes to failing in a cheit, a sin.
A person that goes against the tide and gets to the top of
the mountain and circumvents the pitfalls, he gets his desires and there is the
possibilities that they would go down and fall off the mountain after he
climbed up? What is the possibility that
he would lose his footing on the mountain and all the years of learning would
go to waste? If a person learns Torah
for many years then in the blink of an eye, anything could turn over and turn
into a whole bonfire. How is it possible
to stand and be strong and not to fall off?
That is only if a person is afraid always. If so he won’t take his daas off a situation
because he is afraid of falling. If a
person always fears, then from Shemayim they will help him that he should not
fall. Dovid said my soul is in my palms
always. The fact that he is afraid for
the soul, the fear itself guards him that he will not forget the Torah and
won’t leave it. Because they had so much
despair from the dangers of doing a sin, Yaakov won and he taught us the way to
go. Fortunate is the man that is fearful
always. Because he was afraid of the
cheit, that is what kept him from losing his Torah. A person should always be afraid of doing
something wrong and to ask Hashem to keep him strong and growing and keep him
the right way.
The three ways he prepared gifts, prayer and war
Rashi says he prepared a nice gift to make his anger
dissipate. He prayed to Hashem and prepared fore war. These are our Avos, a sign for the
children. What happened to the Avos Torah
wrote down so we would know how to handle every situation according to the Avos. Yaakov is the sign of holiness and Esav is
the sign of impurity. This is a war
between the two and everyone is involved with it. The yetzer tov and the yetzer
hara, they fight within to impurity or to holiness and a person has to make the
good inclination overcome the evil inclination because if not he falls into the
sitras achra, the people that do evil.
There were people that could not overcome the yetzer
hara. They could not overcome the
physical realm as well. There were some
people that did not find any other way to overcome their evil inclination only
to withdraw from all pleasures that are not spiritual, any material pleasures
they would keep themselves away and this is how they built a little fortress to
protect them from the world outside. Nevertheless this is not the way that is
appropriate for the multitudes. With
this type of fortress the yetzer hara can also break it down.
What is the way to make the spirit of holiness overcome the
impurities. How do we get the strength of Yaakov to overcome the strength of
Esav? Presents are to give the body what
it needs, not to take yourself away from materialistic things that make a
person enjoy the world, according to the Torah.
Tefilla is to ask Hashem with all our hearts to make our inclinations
worship you. If Hashem doesn’t help, we
can’t overcome. We have to cry to be
able to withstand the bitter challenges that come in our lives hour by
hour. And the third way is war. To fight
the deceptions of the evil inclination and the traps, to fight like a lion
against the enemy that wants to destroy us, this war that we have to do with
our hands, to know that Hashem is the warrior and in terms of our part, what
are we? Only with Hashem can we win this
war. We have to fight it but if we are
successful, it is not really us, it is the help of Hashem.
Those are the three ways we learn from Yaakov how to fight
our yetzer hara and to overcome the strength of tuma.
War of Life
There is a war that surrounds all people all the time when
we get up in the morning until we go to sleep and all through life. A person has to fight with his surroundings
it is not good and in his house as well.
The children he has to give a good education or else they will go off
the track. With himself he has to fight
because he has within his soul things that could be very bitter. He has to work
on himself to remove any bad character attributes, to overcome in himself. Yaakov when he fought with Esav is the fight
of the powers of all impurity. Presents,
prayer and war. We have to use these
three things in our life and this way we fight our surroundings, with war, not
to give in, not to make compromises, not to compromise on cheshbon of the Torah,
then we lost the war, in community and in individual. We have to know how to bring back our lost
brothers, that we have to know that sometimes we try to bring them closer to us
but we should make sure we don’t come closer to their way of thinking. Also with our children we have to act, show
them a face that is angry according to what is the situation, sometimes we have
to fight with them and sometimes we have to give them presents to win them
over. Nevertheless, we need help from
heaven and a lot of prayer and a lot of crying that Hashem should give us the
wisdom and patience to win and be matzliach.
Yaakov’s neck became stone
Parsha talks about Esav and the malachim came and said your
brother Esav and Yaakov davened to be saved from Esav . The twelve tribes in the future will be the
foundation of Klal Yisrael. Because of
the dangers from Esav Yaakov was so afraid twice. Esav could destroy the soul of his family and
he was afraid of him as a brother to speak softly to his household that they
would learn from his deeds. Esav could
destroy in deed and in spirituality.
Yaakov gave presents, war and tefilla to stay out of any sort of
relationship with him. Yaakov told Esav
that he lived with Lavan and still kept 613 mitzvahs. Yaakov was living with Lavan 20 years. He didn’t learn from him and his essence was
not destroyed. Don’t think in your soul
you are going to accomplish more than Lavan.
When Esav saw his brother after all those years he felt hatred towards
him and was thinking about how to destroy him, either with his body, physically
to kill him, or if he doesn’t win over, with his soul by giving him a kiss, to
withdraw the soul from him, to take out the soul from him.
He kissed him and he bit him, and either way it is good for
Esav. Yaakov in that hour? His neck became like a stone. He tried to show Esav that Esav is not going
to win him over. Here is a lesson for
life, how we should withstand the exile, against all the people that tried to
overcome them. To not go away, like one
piece of stone, to not go away from the path of Yaakov, not to humble
themselves to those who destroy spiritually.
And not to get overwhelmed or influenced from their soft words that they
try to tell us.
The final words is that Yaakov had wealth, his money was
complete. There are some that have much
money and some have a lack. Those with
money can purify their souls but also could fall down to great depths. Yaakov lived by the deceiver Lavan and he
knew every lie and conniving trick and how to get money out of others. But Yaakov was honest and in shemayim they
gave him the opportunity to be successful and made his flock great. The money
was his. They said that all the wealth
that Yaakov had came from Hashem for us and for Yaakov and for his
children. Such money is really very
special to the people who have it. From
the work, they are careful with the money and they don’t just throw it around,
even for the small vessels he went back to get them. Even that they had money, he was careful it
should not go to waste.
People don’t treat the money they have with respect.
Sometimes people throw their money to waste and sometimes we see that places
have a lot of seforim and siddurim and sometimes they change them to new
seforim. That was not Yaakov’s
ways. He left small vessels and he
didn’t feel badly about going back he didn’t want anything to go to waste. We have to know that the money we have is to
do mitzvahs and tzedakah. He was shaleim in his material aspect and his body
and in his Torah. The money was not
something that would hurt him or his Torah.
For all the things in this world all the difficult things we can get,
Yaakov dealt with them in the way of these are temporary, in a temporary
dwelling place, and if a person lives life this way, then he is a complete
person. Be careful with the money and
use it for mitzvahs, tzedakah and good things.
Yaakov was careful in this way, not to waste money on silliness. This is just a temporary dwelling place
What is man if not consciousness? And what is Hashem’s desire to give a creation consciousness? And how is the consciousness of man different from the awareness of Hashem He gives to the inanimate, vegetable, and animal creations?
Rabbi Mendel Kessin in his shiur Who is Hashem Part 1 gives us three of four deeper levels to grow our consciousness of Hashem. He explains that He IS existence. His Essence is His Being Itself, He is existence per se. Everything that exists is its essence, its soul, with attributes that constitute what it is, and a vessel, how it exists.
Thus a stone has essence and a vessel, as does a blade of grass or a puppy. What distinguishes a person is that people are more complex creations and have a different purpose. The purpose and mission of the Jewish people is to serve in the world of repair, to weave the high lights in the sparks that fell into the world into the vessel of the repair – Hashem’s compassion represented by His Name Yud K Vav K – thereby making it possible for Hashem’s Name to reveal Him in this world without nullifying the world. Key principles to understand are that the flow of blessing and chesed that Yud K Vav K represents is the sefirot and the four foundations of the sefirot are the basic elemental atoms, either solid, liquid, gas or radioactive, earth, water, wind or fire. Most importantly, He is One which means when we strengthen our vessels by connecting to Hashem through pursuing with our will Torah, avoda and chesed, we are effecting this repair upon the foundations that Hashem has created us to do.
In Lights of Emunah based on Harav Menachem Azoulai’s Ohr HaEmuna for Parsha Vayishlach
he writes, “If we recognize that everything that happens is to heal us,
correct us, sterilize us, cleanse us purify us, to draw us close to
Hashem – if we realize that this is the singular purpose of any torment
we endure – then, everything becomes much easier to bear. However, if we
perceive every occurrence as if there is no Divine Providence heaven
forbid,we cantruly despair and become broken..We must remember that
there is a Creator of the World and He orchestrates everything….We
must have complete emunah that from this very occurrence, our salvation
will sprout – precisely in this manner, precisely through these
this manner, precisely through these difficulties, Hashem is awakening
the part of our life force that is attached to early naturally formed
misconceptions, that continue to actively color our judgments. The life
force that is shaking hands with those attachments from our earliest
impressions IS the life force from which our salvation will sprout when
we bring it into mitzvahs, for in so doing, we rectify the sefiros, the
flow of chesed, into the world and strengthen Hashem’s Name Yud K Vav K,
the vessel of compassion and repair, of tikun for this world. The
circumstances are mere props to bring to our emotions the concealed life
force that, when we do the mitzvah of to Know there is Hashem by
recognizing our Creator is concealed in our challenge because there is
No Other Power, and we use real free will to declare our intention and
desire to infuse that life force, His Concealed compassion, into a
mitzvah, our movement to do the mitzvah is our effort and Hashem
utilizes our soul to bring the tikun. – to bring the sparks into the
world as revealed light
A person is created far beyond the manner in which a stone or a blade of grass or a puppy is created because there is great complexity given in order for a person to have real free will. Nevertheless, it is compassionate of the Torah to explain to us that the entirety of our consciousness can grow and grow to include deeper insights and understandings about our essence, our experience of life, and our awareness of Hashem is doing everything and our role in relationship to Him. Hear Rabbi Moshe Genuth on Parsha Vayigashdropbox explain that we must strengthen the vessel for it to be able to hold the light of the tohu.
Please find out more by listening to Rabbi Nir Menussi on Parsha Vayishlach
The vessel of tikun is intended to be filled with the lights of tohu
Attachment of the nefesh behema can become attachment to Hashem – the result is pleasure, truth, joy and eternity
The message for today is to open our eyes and see that our nefesh behema, the animal soul, bonds with nature from birth. This gives us real free will, but Hashem is with us. By bonding with nature, there are, as Rabbi Kessin explained in his shiur Who is Hashem, four barriers to knowing Hashem are given to us to surmount.
Below are the four barriers Rabbi Kessin teaches.
Added are a way to look at these barriers with the eyes of the four foundations, earth wind water and fire, which are the basis of the flow of spiritual force to the world. By overlaying these we can gain a cross-section of two Torah ideas that strengthens us in recognizing what is transpiring within our inner consciousness so that we may utilize Torah to serve Hashem and not fall into traps and deceptions.
1. We have a feeling of independent existence from Hashem, meaning that we have a strong will to pursue what we want when we want it and how we want it and no natural understanding of how that is anything but for our survival and happiness. This touches the element of water, of desire 2. We have a soul in a body and even if we see ourselves as a soul, from our spiritual side, this is still a barrier because Hashem has created His Name, Yud K Vav K as the flow of spiritual force into the world and He fills it with Infinite LIght but Hashem is, in truth, unknowable to us. This movement of spiritual force and our prayers to Him asking for mercy touch the element of wind, of movement, of talk. 3. Physicality itself conceals Hashem. This touches the element of earth, of comforts, of sadness, of inertia 4. The tohu that fell into this world and was given to nature come into the “zuhama” – the negative imaginations and projections that naturally come to mind causing judgment, anger, fear, jealousy, and craving for honor. This touches on fire that is destructive. In this week’s Parsha class Rabbi Nir Menussi explains Containing Chaos, talking about tohu in terms of lights, explaining the struggle between Esav, a man of tohu, and Yaakov the goal being the lights of tohu in the vessels of tikun
Rabbi Labinsky explains clearly in the December 9 shiur below how we can spot these barriers in the primary flowing of chesed, the element of water, that is the baseline of the world. He explains ways to work with ourselves will be shared in future classes using the 39 melachos of Shabbos that during the week, when we utilize them, and then on Shabbos when we observe Shabbos, our journey for truth and real taanug will deepen within us.
Rabbi Labinsky 39 Melachos of Shabbos seven days a week chabura Dec 9 2019 audio Youtube “We are continuing on the incredible journey of striving to become divine through Shabbos as a seven day a week avoda.Last week we introduced something very fundamental. Just as we are supposed to have kavod for Shabbos we also have taanug Shabbos kodesh. On a very simple level, taanug means just basic enjoyment. When we look at it carefully, it goes even beyond the realm of pleasure and we call that spiritual delight. How do we essentially define taanug? We talked about oneg and taanug and we said as follows: _We said Hashem’s reality is that He is good and does good and ultimately all bestowing of blessings in this world is good both in a hidden and revealed way. Our ability to receive that blessing, that which is good, is pleasurable, and that pleasure connects us back to HKB. _ _ So what is taanug? It has a funny dual split. One the one hand it gives us energy, energizes what we do, it gives motivation it gives us passion, it gives us striving in what we do, and it vitalizes our spiritual efforts, and at the same time that it is a means to something greater, it also has something fascinating – it has the end goal itself,. And what is the end goal? Using the pleasure and the ultimate root of the pleasure to unify creation, to see the interconnection of everything in a way that everything fits together, everything joins, and ultimately unifies._ that is what we said what taanug is and the time again is Shabbos.So how do we personally relate to that. We are going to use distancing from evil, that is pursuing what is good, and then bringing everything together. _ How do we relate to pleasure. and there is one more point, we are also looking at it in the context of the four elements, and taanug is water, the realm of desire, and Rabbi Chaim Vital says that taanug if we use it to the side of kedusha. there is physical pleasure in spiritual delight all existing and if we get to the root of what taanug is, what pleasure is, then we get to our inner character traits all the way down to the element of water in our spiritual makeup, where we see the source of taanug, what motivates us, and how to fix that realm of the soul through taanug, through pleasure. Pleasure is not just something we experience, it has a framework of meaning and purpose, truth and striving and at the highest level, it has the ultimate expression of nullification of self and being bound up in Hashem’s design. that is what taanug can bring a person._” For the remainder of the notes click here https://www.dropbox.com/s/2y0qdzm3km4r0kt/12.9.19%20notes.docx?dl=0
Rabbi Avraham Shira gives a daily shiur on Patreon. Today he spoke about Opening the Heart and the Pathways of Heaven. Here is the concluding summary:
The mentality of competition is to crush the other person, How do we sincerely with all our heart bring in a flow that changes the natural mental competitiveness into something that makes our relative existence pleasant?
Recognize that there is a Creator and that we are His Creations, that He has designed the soul (as well as the world) and that He has given us a purpose and mission through nullifying what we naturally feel as independent existence. The purpose and mission is to grow in an awareness of Hashem and of Hashem as doing everything out of love for us, an awareness that expands our subjectivity and brings a flow of His revealed love and light to the world.
Rabbi Mendel Kessin helps us understand why nullifying our sense of independent existence is so difficult and yet necessary in Who is Hashem Part 1
It is a mitzvah to know that Hashem is the first Cause. To understand Hashem’s Name is a positive
commandment. The Rambam says this on the verse – Know this day that Hashem is
the Master and Lord of the Heavens above and the earth below, ein od. It is thus a mitzvah. Satisfy our heart to know this positive
Satisfy your heart – this indicates that it is a tremendous
labor because our heart is agitated. We
have to work hard to know who Hashem is.
Why does Hashem express it as if it is so difficult? What the Torah tells us is that it is not
going to be easy, it is going to be a difficult labor.
In the Navi, it says “Let not someone who wants to pride
himself on his wisdom and someone who is strong, let him not take pride in his
strength, nor a wealthy man take pride in his wealth. If you want to take credit in productivity,
take pride in understanding who is Hashem.
If we want to feel accomplished, then the greatness of what we can
aspire to and take pride is in knowing who is Hashem.
Knowing who is Hashem is the greatest achievement we can do,
more than money or strength.
It is a passuk.
It is a mitzvah and it is the only thing we can take pride
in, to know who is Hashem
Thus we know that we CAN come to know who Hashem is to some
degree!!! There is a path to have
knowing of Hashem, and this is our greatest achievement.
When we answer for our life and can say we know who is
Hashem, we can quote this passuk and gain entry to olam haba.
This is the job of a person.
Unfortunately, we have childish ideas about who is Hashem –
such as is he male or female? It is
possible to go incredibly deep within ourselves, within our prayers, to realize we are praying to an unlimited Being.
There is a place in Torah that tells us who is Hashem, and
that is Shema. Hashem is One.
One and not two.
How do we quiet and satisfy our heart? If we say Hashem is One, which takes three
seconds, what is the reason that we must satisfy our heart? Oneness is simple in sounding but it is quite
Rabbi Kessin’s shiur explains Hashem is One, Hashem is Singular, and Hashem is Unique – three expressions, with a fourth to follow in Part 2 next week.
Let’s take an elevator and go inwardly, deeper, to the floors
below the surface.
Hashem is One: Hashem is absolute Oneness. There cannot be another nor duplicated at
all. This is Echad, absolutely One. There is something about Hashem that defies
Hashem is Singular: Hashem Himself is only one thing,
there are no parts. He is
compassion. Everything in the world –
all the atoms – are all constructed from Him, from the indivisible Hashem and
it cannot be made into less.
He is the subject, the action and the object of the
verb. He is identical to the memory that
He has and He is identical to the act of remembering. Hashem is one. He is not separate from what He knows.
The Rambam says this flows from the concept of pashut, that
Hashem is a simple being with no parts. He is identical to everything He does,
He is identical to the act itself.
Everything that exists is its essence, its soul, with
attributes that constitute what it is, and a vessel, how it exists. There is essence and existence, that appear
to be two things.
Hashem does not have existence, He IS existence. His Essence
is His Being Itself, He is existence per se.
Hashem is Omnipotent He can do anything He wants. He is existence and can make anything He
wants. He is the faculty of Being and
therefore anything He wants He can do. Nothing can oppose Him because He has to
enable the opposition to oppose Him.
Haazeinu tells us Hashem gives life, kills, and cures…and
from My Hand there is no rescue.
Never give up hope. The
only question is will Hashem do it?
Hashem is Omniscient.
He knows everything. In order for
something to exist, He is giving it existence and that is how He knows about
it. He knows everything. He is the active cause and never forgets.
Hashem is Omnipresent: He is all over. His Glory fills all space,
everything. Hashem gives everything
existence by Hashem. He encompasses all creation, which is much greater than
the physical universe. The presence of Hashem is everywhere. There is no space
devoid of the presence of Hashem.
Creation is an act that brings something that does not exist
into existence. If He is existence, He
can give existence to anything He wants by making it part of Him. That is how
What is unique about Hashem is that He must be. We may or may not be. There is no reason for us to exist at
all. But Hashem cannot leave existence,
He must be. His existence is necessitated.
We who are given existence if He removes it, we do not exist. But Hashem cannot remove Himself from
Himself. He Is.
He is timeless. He always was, He always IS, and He
always will be. He is enduring.
The Ramchal tells us that Hashem is perfect. It has everything, it is not missing
anything. There is no lack.
What is reality? It is whatever exists. Reality is part of
Hashem. Reality is whatever existence
makes. Reality emerges from Hashem
because He is existence. He is real.
There is no separate thing called reality.
He is reality, a part of Him.
His Name, yud k vav k, comes from the verb to be. He is
being itself. His Name is being. Hashem answers Moshe “I am” meaning that He is the “Am”.
Since Hashem knows Himself, He knows us, we emanate from
Him. That is how He knows everything. He
gives us existence which emanates from Him. We are not external from Him. We emanate from Him.
How do we satisfy our heart?
Everything emanates from Him and He is One. Everything is from Him. He creates everything
and maintains our existence, but in the end, it is all Him.
No one can ever know who Hashem is because He is existence
itself. Only Hashem knows who He Is.
Hashem is unique:
When we were at Har Sinai, it says we were shown to know,
that Hashem is the lord and master, ein od milvado. What does this mean? There is nothing else. There is no one besides Him. This was the main revelation at Har
Sinai. Hashem shows a central experience
– Hashem did not make a creation – even after Hashem creates everything, it
does not really exist.
Imagine someone is sleeping and having a dream about people
drinking coffee. One says to the other,
we don’t really exist. The other says,
we are talking. The first says we exist
relative to ourselves but to the one dreaming we don’t exist, we don’t really
exist like he does, we are a mental abstraction of his mind. He exists. If he woke up we would be gone.
Our existence depends on Him but our existence is not even
like Him. We don’t have a true
existence. That is what we saw at Har
Sinai. We have been shown to know that
Hashem is Elokim the master, besides Hashem there is nothing else, even after
the creation. We surely don’t exist the
way He does. Only we think we really
exist. We think we are, but in true
reality we don’t exist at all, in some way Hashem has concealed that from
Do not think that we have existence, surely not like
Hashem. We who have to be given
existence must know it is still Him. We
must be sustained from one instant to the next or the whole creation would
annihilate. We are nothing. He is thinking “be” over the entire
creation. He allows us to form within
Him. It is delusional for us to think we exist independently from Him, for we
are a shape like a cloud within Him.
Rashi says in Devarim hei, Hashem opened the heavens and
showed the Jewish people He is the One of creation. How they could realize that
and continue to exist, no one knows. We are
just shapes within Him. That is what it
means to be One.
One relative thing can kill another relative thing. But one
cannot make a mistake and think he is existing independently from Hashem.
Moshe asks Hashem to show him Hashem’s ways and His
Glory. How can Moshe speak to Him when
Moshe doesn’t exist? Who is Hashem? If it is ein od, how can Moshe talk to
Hashem? That is the idea from the Navi
that Hashem says I have not changed. Hashem never did anything, nothing really
exists in His terms. We exist relative
to each other. Moshe understood this.
This is why humility is the greatest, the realization that
we are nothing. The illusion of self as an independent being is impenetrable,
the arrogance of man, that we believe we can cause things.
There will always be this delusion because otherwise we
cease to exist. This is why Torah starts with bais, there is Hashem and there
is a soul that is in a delusion that it exists because if that delusion ever
realized its own nonexistence, it would cease to be.
In the future world we will experience the existence of
Hashem, as an Infinite climb.
There is no other force in the universe. The Nefesh HaChaim says that if we are faced
with a threat, if we say there is no enemy, that enemy is Hashem in the form of
the enemy, then when we recognize there is no other, nothing can oppose us.
Hashem has to give existence to what relative to us opposes to us. That opponent will cease.
The Brisker Rav when fleeing Europe got stopped by a Nazi
and the Brisker Rav went to ein od, the Nazi does not really exist, the power
must come from Hashem and I recognize that.
What happened was that the Nazi who stopped him looked away and walked
When we penetrate the delusion and spot Hashem, He activates
our belief that He is activating the power and He takes the power away from the
How do we move from self-image to living as the image of Hashem? And why do we want to “run and return”?
Shiflus, lowliness is the sense that we are very far from feeling that Hashem has designed us to serve Him. Are our thoughts dedicated to the purpose of revealing Hashem? Do we speak compassionately to others?
When we are triggered with fear or anger or pride we are feeling ourselves and are acting for our self-image. While inwardly, we feel that we are good, something has happened and that goodness has been obscured and we feel our survival (the survival of our self-image) is at stake. How do we respond?
There is a gap between feeling our goodness and expressing our goodness.
Dovid HaMelech says “I will be lowly in my own eyes” Moshe Rebbeinu says “And we are naught”
For those of us who grew up at the beach, who stayed late into the evening, there would be men who came with a metal detecting machine to find the coins that fell into the sand from the pockets of the the beach-goers during the day. A man held an iron pole and that has at its end a round sphere that would tick tick tick when a coin was beneath the sand, detecting it.
Imagine the scene, sand, water, gulls, sky, breeze and people But this hand held device was there to locate the hidden coins only, tick ticking like a geiger counter when one was found. The coin was then retrieved.
Hashem has designed a being that is here to detect the fallen sparks He has hidden in creation – His Shechina – within the created vessels. Through our developmental process and the brain mechanisms of a limbic system and a self-image, we are guaranteed to tick tick tick when a hidden spark is found. Generally speaking, this tick tick ticking is a painful experience but, with proper executive functioning (meaning that we understand the design) we know that Hashem is holding the stick, that we have found a treasure of positive compassion in a hidden place, and that although we feel far away, we can beseech Hashem to have mercy upon us and allow that spark to flow from feeling it in a pain from self-image so that instead we may reveal how He has made us in His Image, compassionate.
When we can remember that we are not just that round disk at the bottom of the pole but rather held by Hashem, with beauty all around as well as within ourselves as well as what we are detecting in our tick tick ticking, we run and return and through the performance of mitzvahs.,provide a venue for real compassion and light to be enclothed within the foundations of the world.
With emunah-faith and bitachon-trust, we comprehend that bringing awareness that Hashem is doing everything into the picture is how to manage our challenges -.with run and return. Thankful people are happy.
The design of the world is one of repair, of tikun. Hashem has created this world to unify back to Him the cosmic material from the 974 generations preceding the creation, worlds where the created beings lived with strict justice that caused them to die as soon as they mistook their being created as some kind of a proof that they had independent existence from Hashem. When Hashem creates this world, He creates teshuva and rachamim, His Name yud k vav k, so that there would be a channel through which the Infinite Light trapped in the fallen sparks could come into this world through mitzvahs, chesed, prayer and Torah learning.
The cosmic material of this world is formed from these sparks, uttered into the world as atoms of solid, liquid, gas or radioactive nature that we perceive as earth, water, wind and fire. Hashem is the soul of every atom in structure and in essence.
What are we but consciousness in a form that He creates and designs with the ability to recognize our Creator?
Developmentally, a baby becomes a child, a teenager, an adult, an old person and then leaves this world. Spiritually, we also have stages of development. At some point, it is incumbent upon us to awaken to the reality that there is Hashem and a purpose and mission – as described above- in lovingly and gently peeling back the way we think of ourselves based on our natural development.
There is simply more to be had in terms of simcha in this world and eternal life than the normal pursuits we may or may not have had success with.
The ability that we have to nullify our sense of independent existence depends on the strength of our emunah.
The strength of our emunah depends on our ability withstand the pain of despair and of the crushing of our image and seeming honor in order to distill from it the power that is animating it – a strength we are able to develop when we have awe of Hashem and love for Hashem.
The strength of our love for Hashem comes from realizing His constant flow of divine mercy upon us, that without that divine mercy, even what appear to be our successes with our natural approach to life would not take place. We have no power, we have no control, we have no independent existence.
The ability we have to use free will to go above our natural experience grows as we effortfully in personal prayer ask for divine mercy and experience the exchange within us, the added light, the freedom from pain.
Where do we start? It is not incumbent upon us to finish the work, only to make the effort. Just recognizing that we do not have independent existence is a recognition and honor to Hashem. ” Hashem I don’t know how to nullify feeling my own honor and concerns but I want to. All I want is You.”
do we start? It is not incumbent upon us to finish the work, only to
make the effort. Just recognizing that we do not have independent
existence is a recognition and honor to Hashem. ” Hashem I don’t know
how to nullify feeling my own honor and concerns but I want to. All I
want is You.” Rabbi Akiva is our role model that shows us that we really
can transcend the moment, every moment, Hashem Echad.
can we do today to move ourselves closer to that really being true for
us, and where can we take something from the realm of taiva/desire or
gaiva/self-concern and bring it in hisbodedus out of love for Hashem and
a willingness to flow what animates that feeling of selfhood into an
intention to honor Hashem alone, with all our soul and all our might?
We circumcise the heart and cry out to Hashem for mercy that all we want is Hashem
does the heavy lifting. All we have to lose is the pain and suffering
of our inner despair and shame. What we have to gain is purpose,
meaning, and simcha.
Light of Emunah from Dov Elias on Parsha from Rabbi Menachem Azoulai
_Excerpt: Yaakov Avinu flees from Esau and is on his way to Charan.
What is the first statement he makes? “Surely, Hashem is present in this
place and I did not know!”1 Did Yaakov Avinu not know that Hashem,
Whose Glory fills the world, was everywhere? Rather, a person must
realize that even when he is in a situation of concealment and it
appears as if his whole world is crumbling around him – Hashem is still
with him, even the obscurity is from Hashem. When a person knows this
and he accepts everything with love – all judgments are sweetened and
transformed into compassion – and the concealments dissipate. _
Avinu escaped from Esau, who sought to kill him. After 14 years of
learning Torah, day and night, Yaakov Avinu left the sanctuary of
holiness and headed to Haran (חרן) – a place of anger (חרון אף)
and harsh judgments. The sun set upon him and he was surrounded by wild
beasts – terrible concealment. Precisely in the midst of this
misfortune – HKB”H revealed Himself and promised him such amazing
guarantees: “Behold, I am with you; I will guard you wherever you go,
and I will return you to this soil; for I 1 אכן יש ד’ במקום הזה ואנכי לא ידעתי )כח, טז(will not forsake you.”2 A Father protects his children. He never forsakes them. A Father loves his children. _
often, a person feels like he does not really have emuna in salvation.
He feels like he is deceiving himself. The words that he utters, “With
Hashem’s help, it will be okay” – are without conviction; they are
superficial. He deludes himself and his family because, inside, he has
already accepted that it is a lost cause… Our only counsel is to
fortify ourselves, to have emuna in the salvation, even in the depths of
“lost hope.” In the depths of every Jewish heart, there rests true
emuna in the Creator’s unlimited power. We must connect to it and have
wholesome emuna that Hashem is All Powerful. ,,, Excerpt: We
have bodies in the kelipas and challenges and a soul that is pure and
basking in the delight of emunah…Jacob’s ladder
ladder in Yaakov’s dream stood on the ground but its head reached the
Heavens.6 A person who stands on the ground, but his head reaches the
heavens, always looks to Hashem. “Blessed is the man who trusts in
Hashem; Hashem shall be his trust.”_
Every Jew has this Divine element of always looking up and always
pining for Hashem – it is merely in exile, the exile of the physical
body. However, there is no surrender; there is no concession. The soul
that is found within the body does not yield. It finds itself in its own
prison of the body but it never gives in, it constantly wants to raise
its head, like a drowning man who tenaciously struggles to keep his head
above water. _
than anything, we need the attribute of bitachon. It is impossible to
live here tranquilly without bitachon. What is bitachon? It means
looking only to Hashem. “I am in the hands of the Creator of the World.
He created me and He never abandons me. He gives me whatever I need and
if He does not give me something – it is a sign that I do not need it.” _
a Jew endures, when he is in pain – he must remember that Hashem lives
his pain. If we are suffering – Hashem suffers with us. Hashem is with
us, He escorts us, He experiences the challenges we face, He knows what
we go through, He does not forget us, He loves us. Be strong – turn to
Him! ) We are here to live in our mind, our daas, our emunah and
recognize how our brain and body are experiencing the concealment of
Hashem and shower compassion upon the Shechina in exile, beg for His
Mercy and ask that the concealed spark come through into our hearts to
be revealed through our speech and deeds. This is simcha, no matter
what. We just have to devellop the executive functioning of a mind over
the brain itself, one that develops from emunah and divine mercy.
Rabbi Moshe Weinberger from Emunah Daily Hi Chevra. Welcome to Emunah Daily. Chazal tell us that Rachel is the עלמא דעסקליא, and she revealed beauty and holiness, יפת תואר ויפת מראה.
Additionally, she had children that also reflected this perfection:
Yosef HaTzaddik and Binyamin HaTzaddik. In life, many of us dream of a
world of perfection. We admire a perfect husband, perfect wife, perfect
children, and a perfect life. In fact, Yaakov also wanted to marry
Rachel, the image of perfection. Rav Tzaddok teaches that Rachel
symbolizes the world of the ideal tzaddik, for whom Yiddishkeit is
completely natural and comes with ease.
On the other hand, the passuk teaches that ועיני לאה רקות.
Leah Imeinu’s beauty was the deepest, but some was lost as a result of
her endless tears. She wept constantly, davening that she would not have
to marry Esav, as it was logical to have the eldest daughter, Leah,
marry the eldest son, Esav. As a result, Leah represents the world of
Teshuva. Similarly, Esav too could have become a baal teshuva, but did
not choose to fix his ways.
most in our generation, Yiddishkeit is not easy. We feel within our
hearts and minds the turbulence of Esav. Though we are drawn to the
world of Esav, we constantly battle to fight it off. We yearn for
Mashiach ben David to redeem us, may it come speedily in our days.
ben David is a descendant of Leah, and also experienced many milchamos,
struggles, in his lifetime. It is clear that for him, holiness did not
come easy. Unlike Yosef HaTzaddik and Binyamin HaTzaddik, Rachel’s sons,
it was hard for David and it is hard for us.
this is the greatness of our generation. Every time we turn away from
Esav and beg Hashem to help us, we attach ourselves to Mashiach ben
David, to that world of עלמא דעסקליא,
concealed holiness. Even though on the outside we don’t always look so
great, we are not like Rachel Imeinu or Yosef HaTzaddik, Hashem knows
that we are His warriors, His fighters.
one of my daughters was very little, she wasn’t careful with negel
vasser. I used to say, “A real Jew has to wash negel vasser!” Once, my
daughter woke up and went straight to the bathroom without first
washing. Not noticing that she went to take care of her needs before
washing negel vasser, I simply waved at her. She looked at me and
thought that I was on patrol to ensure that she had first washed before
anything else. She looked up from the kisei and said to me, “But Daddy, I
am still a Jew!”
have thought about this story so many times. We often feel ourselves in
a filthy place, in the world of Esav, but the greatest nachas to Hashem
is that even when we are stuck there, we still look up and say, “But
Ribbono Shel Olam, I am still a Jew. I am still one of Yours. I am one
of the chassidim of David HaMelech. I am a layman, but I am trying.
Where do we start? It is not incumbent upon us to finish the work, only to make the effort. Just recognizing that we do not have independent existence is a recognition and honor to Hashem. ” Hashem I don’t know how to nullify feeling my own honor and concerns but I want to. All I want is You.”
What can we do today to move ourselves closer to that really being true for us, and where can we take something from the realm of taiva/desire or gaiva/self-concern and bring it in hisbodedus out of love for Hashem and a willingness to flow what animates that feeling of selfhood into an intention to honor Hashem alone, with all our soul and all our might?
We circumcise the heart. He does the heavy lifting. All we have to lose is the pain and suffering of our inner despair and shame. What we have to gain is purpose, meaning, and simcha.
RABBI MOSHE WEINBERGER FROM EMUNAH DAILY
Hi Chevra. Welcome to Emunah Daily.Chazal tell us that Rachel is the עלמא דעסקליא, and she revealed beauty and holiness, יפת תואר ויפת מראה. Additionally, she had children that also reflected this perfection: Yosef HaTzaddik and Binyamin HaTzaddik. In life, many of us dream of a world of perfection. We admire a perfect husband, perfect wife, perfect children, and a perfect life. In fact, Yaakov also wanted to marry Rachel, the image of perfection. Rav Tzaddok teaches that Rachel symbolizes the world of the ideal tzaddik, for whom Yiddishkeit is completely natural and comes with ease.On the other hand, the passuk teaches that ועיני לאה רקות. Leah Imeinu’s beauty was the deepest, but some was lost as a result of her endless tears. She wept constantly, davening that she would not have to marry Esav, as it was logical to have the eldest daughter, Leah, marry the eldest son, Esav. As a result, Leah represents the world of Teshuva. Similarly, Esav too could have become a baal teshuva, but did not choose to fix his ways.For most in our generation, Yiddishkeit is not easy. We feel within our hearts and minds the turbulence of Esav. Though we are drawn to the world of Esav, we constantly battle to fight it off. We yearn for Mashiach ben David to redeem us, may it come speedily in our days.Mashiach ben David is a descendant of Leah, and also experienced many milchamos, struggles, in his lifetime. It is clear that for him, holiness did not come easy. Unlike Yosef HaTzaddik and Binyamin HaTzaddik, Rachel’s sons, it was hard for David and it is hard for us.But, this is the greatness of our generation. Every time we turn away from Esav and beg Hashem to help us, we attach ourselves to Mashiach ben David, to that world of עלמא דעסקליא, concealed holiness. Even though on the outside we don’t always look so great, we are not like Rachel Imeinu or Yosef HaTzaddik, Hashem knows that we are His warriors, His fighters.When one of my daughters was very little, she wasn’t careful with negel vasser. I used to say, “A real Jew has to wash negel vasser!” Once, my daughter woke up and went straight to the bathroom without first washing. Not noticing that she went to take care of her needs before washing negel vasser, I simply waved at her. She looked at me and thought that I was on patrol to ensure that she had first washed before anything else. She looked up from the kisei and said to me, “But Daddy, I am still a Jew!”I have thought about this story so many times. We often feel ourselves in a filthy place, in the world of Esav, but the greatest nachas to Hashem is that even when we are stuck there, we still look up and say, “But Ribbono Shel Olam, I am still a Jew. I am still one of Yours. I am one of the chassidim of David HaMelech. I am a layman, but I am trying.”
“The house of Yaakov will be fire, and the house of Yosef –
a flame, and the house of Esav – straw” (Ovadia 1:18).
The House of Esav is called “straw” because it
has no permanent existence.
One spark emerging from Yosef will consume and burn all of the straw. The straw will kindle and be consumed. There will be no survivor of the House of Esav.
Yosef is the shepherd for the sefira of yesod, foundation. Foundation is funneling together of the
middos – chesed through hod – before
they are given to Malchus, the world of action.
The sefira are the vessels that flow Infinite Light from Hashem through
the worlds. Imbalances from the counterforce,
the Soton, nature, are our unrectified nature, our Esav within.
Hear this description from Rabbi Tatz of tohu and our lives.
Rabbi Tatz retells the story of Dovid asking Hashem to test him. This led to his failure with the test with Batsheva. Why? Rabbi Tatz shows how that any slight leaning towards the “I” – as in when Dovid said to Hashem, let “me” show you – IS the battleground for reaching within to that spark buried within our subconscious.
We are here to learn how to make supreme effort in the
world and fight battles like Dovid but without the “I.” We assert ourselves with every nuance of our
personality and talents, but without ego.
A slave says I want to actualize all I am for YOU. We take our independence and assert with full
dedicated responsibility, assert ourselves mightily in the world for Hashem. We give it all back to Him. When it is for the
“I”, however slight, however innocent it feels, that is the mistake and that is
where we focus our attention to draw forth the flame..
The flame that leaps out of the four elements within such
an effort brings with it the spark of tohu, sparks fallen from cosmically great
souls, that fell into this world, the death of the kings. “And he ruled and he died. What killed them in an instant that is
mortally dangerous? As they were
created, they felt that they were needed and independent. They saw themselves as existing and separate
from Hashem and that error at their level of greatness was the flaw that killed
How do we incorporate this into our lives?
When our survival instincts are triggered, when we feel a
real or perceived threat to our existence thinking that our existence is up to
us, we may begin to contemplate how to
assert our view and arrange the circumstances using power to bring about the
result that we desire. We bring up our
inner Esav to do battle with the outside world, to trap, to influence, to conquer.
Do we really consider anything else? Do we not rely on networking
and education to help us navigate through our challenges with the greatest awareness
of nature and mastery of its apparent characteristics?
We believe we are empowered to do this and that we are, as
adults, able to determine our destiny.
We take steps towards our goals despite its impact upon others, who “we
leave to Hashem” to handle, believing that we are permitted to move forward and
if Hashem says yes to our plan, then He has “approved” it and therefore it was
okay to take these steps.
These plans we make are the Esav within us.
Even if we move with permitted actions, or even with
actions that seemingly are mitzvahs, if
we know at any level that we are exercising power over another or defeating
another’s goals, this is something we must not ignore, for we are accountable
for every moment of pain or suffering we cause.
Hashem may go along with it due to the other person’s aveiras, however,
that does not recuse of from being the ones He has chosen to inflict the pain
or the kaparah or the judgment.
So what are we to do?
Wait and see?
That is exactly what emunah tells us to do. How do we sincerely hold still?
Yitzchok asked to be bound so he would not move as Avraham raised his
sword to shecht him.
Gedalia Segal on Parshas Vayeitzei tells us how Yaakov trusted in Hashem.
person should always ask that Hashem is with us, that if Hashem is with us we
can withstand anything. We don’t have
the power to save ourselves. When a
person realizes we are nothing and cannot save ourselves from any mishaps or
sins unless Hashem helps us and he realizes that Hashem’s soul is within us –
this is what Yaakov realized. That he
cannot save himself. He saw Esav was trying to kill him and he ran away and
then he saw from the yetzer hara there is no safe place. From Esav he could run away but from the evil
inclination there is no place to run because it comes with us. That is why he davened. I will return in peace to my father’s house.
Rashi says he said it means he prayed to be free of sin and if I can be free from sin that I did not
learn from Lavan then I can say that it was because Hashem was with me. One
person used to praise himself that he had a great wealth of gold that his uncle
bequeathed him from Africa, on a high mountain.
So someone said you fool why are you praising yourself, this treasure is
so far away it is not in your hand and what is it going to do for you? So too if a person brings enthusiasm that he
believes in the Creator, is He up in the heavens or is He in your heart. Hashem has to be inside my heart. When Yisroel Salanter said Shema, he saw that
a person can really make Hashem the king
over the seven heavens and the four corners of the world. No one thinks Hashem should be king on the
small part in his heart. Only that
Hashem is in our heart was Yaakov able to overcome the challenge with Lavan, to
be complete in his emunah and be pure and only with this could he establish the
tribes of the Jewish nation and make a foundation for a holy nation. We have to appeal to Hashem that He should
watch us because He is within every person and we have to ask His Help to be
free of sin. That is what it means he
asked Hashem to be my Gd, and if I am successful then I know you are with me
because otherwise I could not stand it.”
We are thoughts in the mind of Hashem.
We have nothing, we are nothing, we do nothing
When Yaakov defeats his inner Esav, he is given the name
Yisroel. The fire of Yaakov consumes the
straw of Esav.
When we walk with emunah and bitachon as one with Hashem,
this choice emits a flame from within, as did Yosef. That flame transforms what is impermanent. What is impermanent is the counterforce
causing anochius within our consciousness, blocking the reality of Hashem’s Oneness.
From deep within our inner consciousness, we engage in a
choice between our inner Esav and our inner Yaakov. By choosing to include Hashem in the picture
and move with Torah, we release the spark, the flame, from the counterforces
affecting the four foundations, earth wind water and fire, from chesed to hod,
through recognizing the emes from the yesod. Yosef mastered nature and released
light into the world and became King of Egypt ruling over nature. He demonstrates
true Ein Od Milvado consciousness.
May we see the design, feel the possibilities for
expression and purpose and meaning that take on a new level when we use real
free will to emit the spark , the flame, that is causing imbalance within the
sefiros, corrupting our primal will and middos.
Hashem is One and we are an emanation, with a purpose and mission and a meaning far greater than the gratification or pleasure of the ego. When we feel challenges and pulls towards moving for reasons that feel our self-concern, ask for Hashem’s divine mercy, ask Him to please be our protection and guide. This compassion upon the Shechina in exile opens the possibility for the sparks to emit and reveal Hashem is One.