There is a story about the child of a big rav who would travel to
speak on Shabbosims The man said that although his famous father was not
often there he knew his father loved him because in the mornings, when
the father awakened the child, he had warmed the boy’s clothes on the
heater and dressed him under the covers so that he was warm and not cold
in his pajamas. That was how he knew his father loved him. His father
took care of him and cared to the level of his bodily needs.
The condition of being a soul in a body is that Hashem is taking care
of our needs but we think it is by our own hand because Hashem is so
deeply hidden from us by our intellect having developed before we could
understand Hashem is doing everything. Yet Hashem warmed our clothes for
us, so to speak, by giving us the Torah. When we follow the Torah and
“put on ” its garments, taking off our “pajamas,” we feel the warmth of
His Presence and the healing in our hearts.
How do we take off the pajamas? The pajamas are our reptilian brain,
our limbic system reactions, our intellect that developed in time and
space without awareness that Hashem is doing everything and that instead
“computes” and interprets on a faulty basis – our interpretations and
feelings. What warms the mitzvahs for us is when we can sense within
those emotions how they parallel water wind fire and earth, the four
foundations, the elements of creation. Torah tells us that Hashem is
concealed in nature and when we take the time in hisbodedus to describe
our reactions and we trace it to water/lusts/urges/desires, or
wind/honor/speech/compassion/ruach hakodesh or
earth/sadness/solid/laziness, we begin to see that we are, indeed, a
part of Hashem and in pajamas rather than in the royal garb befitting a
life force hewn from Hashem’s throne.
Once we come to see that the life force is trapped in pajamas –
comfortable and familiar messages that are untznius and flimsy – we can
see that our life force is only on the level of nature.
Water, fire, wind. If we desire love, trust that He loves us and
begin to give love. This drawns upon us His Love, which heals our
hearts of the emptiness, the darkness of the movements and currents of
our lives. And if we were traumatized and have fallen fear, we dig to
the strong messages and judgments to find hidden within them our life
force trapped in messages of survival and of feeling ourselves but in an
illusion of being in control. A person is angry or hates because that
gives the feeling of control whereas rejection (lack of water), sadness
(downward pulls of earthiness), or pain (ego image regarding a lack) do
Torah comes to teach us that Hashem is the soul of the water wind
fire and earthly elements, even as they are attached to our pajama
messages, our flimsy childish interpretations that formed in our brain
at early ages upon which we build our lives and our pursuits. When we
shower compassion on the life force trapped there, knowing He designs us
to be a channel across which that life force can become revealed and
re-garmented in Torah avoda chesed and mitzvahs, we ask for that
strength to go to our emunah for the purpose of so re-garmenting.
In order for us to withstand the bumpy experiences that refusing to
listen to pajama messages entails imagine we are uprooting cedar trees
or vegetation that has grown over many years We need an elephant to
pull it out! Hashem is the one who does the heavy lifting. We have the
intention, the emunah, the love for Hashem and the awe in how He has
designed us and we cry out in hisbodidus that we do not wish to fall.
We cling to Hashem is doing everything and that we know He loves us and
we love Him and therefore shower this urge or impulse or thought’s soul
with compassion because He is the one we love and we want to be the
worthy vessel across which that life force may come into this world in
royal garments, garments of Torah, avoda, chesed and mitzvahs.
Included in what will present itself is “Is Hashem amongst us?” the
voice of doubt trying to push us into pajama messages but Hashem told us
about that in Torah as well as showed us about that at Purim time.
Spot it and shower the soul within that with compassion too and bring
that forth to strengthen emunah and do mitzvahs.
Hashem may I have water, fire, and wind to flow into the world
according to Your Good Will and not according to pajama messages?
Hashem designs us for this very reason SO WE CAN BE CERTAIN HE WILL SAY
YES. Turn to mitzvahs and learning Torah. Hashem is very big.
Whatever happens will be the very best outcome, and because we did the
avoda that He instructs us, there is a simcha shel mitzvahs that
That simcha shel mitzvahs is addictive and there is no greater
pleasure. It is something that we would not give up for anything,
although we do when we fall because we were not conscious that what we
are doing will cost us that devekus. We begin to see how all we want is
When we experience simcha shel mitzvahs and we see that Hashem is
also in charge of our circumstances and we notice changes in our
circumstances, we know He loves us in a way that keeps us in devekus
clinging to Him, for we are dependent upon Him for everything at all
Knowing this pathway is the greatest healing for any trauma or
challenge. We literally are able to redeem our life force from the
grips of that darkness and turn it into simcha shel mitzvahs and
devekus, the pleasure for which we are created.
Obviously this is not a secular therapeutic technique. It takes a
strengthening of emunah and the experiential growth of bitachon.
Nevertheless, this pathway is there and is available to everyone, no
matter what, for He is our Father. Let us comprehend this deeply and
may the love for Hashem and the awe for the design arouse within us the
fortitude to deepen our understanding of nullifying the sense of self in
favor of being a worthy vessel through which Hashem’s light may be
revealed through our redeeming it from water fire wind and earth that is
attached to pajama messages and intentionally moving forward with Torah
avoda chesed and mitzvahs as its new garment, royal clothes for the
King’s Infinite light. And may our effort to do so bring a redemptive
light to the world and be a merit for klal yisrael and a salvation for
Kindly consider an act of ahavas yisrael, Should you have the means
and find this cause meritorious, we are raising funds for a young woman
who is recovering from a stroke and needs intensive physical therapy
over the next year. http://eemunah.com/donate.
The investment of a soul into a body is the greatest good that can be
given to a person. Hashem gives us life. A soul is an emanation from
Hashem that He sends into a body that can then have consciousness and
Adom HaRishon understood that his life was sourced in Hashem. HIs
body was translucent and he used it to do mitzvahs. The eating of the
tree of knowledge of good and evil caused the body to become opaque and
that includes our consciousness, where instead of seeing that Hashem is
doing everything, we are projecting an image of ourselves as the one who
has power and control over our lives.
It is impossible to not feel this way.
However, we have a choice to go with this natural way of living or to
strengthen emunah and ask Hashem to keep us from falling into the
forces in charge of nature so that we may bring forth from the natural
HIs Compassion and place it into mitzvahs so that He may be revealed in
this world through Torah learning, prayer, chesed and mitzvahs.
He is going to say yes. This is the reason He creates the world and
the soul. That said, it does not make the work of channeling the forces
from the natural to the mitzvahs simple. It merely gives us the courage
and the trust to face the challenge.
Our natural being experiences fight, flight, or freeze as our
reactions when we encounter the perceived world. With learning Torah, we
are able to reframe our implosions to garner from the deficiencies the
strength of our reactions – our life force which is really His Shechina –
and ask Him to please save us from falling into the natural because we
desire only to flow His Light into the world according to His Good Will.
The key ingredient is our love for Hashem. No matter what is
happening, we do not want our life force to get added into a pile of
deficient messages. We want instead for all of the life force to flow as
lovingkindness, gentle light, gentle warmth and kiddush Hashem into the
Beware of the cynical messages that inevitably show up. These come
with doubts in the hopes of pushing us back into seeking our goals
through natural solutions so that the forces of nature benefit from our
May we forgive. May we recognize Hashem. May we exercies real free
will to choose to go above nature and thereby “create” our eternal
identity as one with Him.
We will for our life force to be a channel across which HIs Light may
flow into the world, may it be a healing, a merit, a cancellation of
gezeira and a satisfaction of din for the soul as it exists in myself my
family and klal yisrael and may we all see a new light in the world.
Please visit www.ayproject.com the Jewish Women’s Project for Ahavas Yisrael for more understanding regarding love for our fellow yidden.
Torah teaches us how to live in touch with a plane of existence above our nature in a way that heals our pain and builds eternal identity.
The practical description above is grounded in Torah as well.
Remember that we are here to be a channel for the fallen sparks of light from the world of tohu that are in chaos to flow through our choices to do mitzvahs into this world and reveal Infinite light?
When I was little, I would go fishing with my dad. We would get up before sunrise, go to the bait and tackle store and get worms, squid, clams and bait. Then we went to the beach, in the early dawning. The crabs would be scurrying across the water. It was my job to open the clams or cut the squid and get the bait ready. My father then put it on the hook. He had a chest high rubber boot suit and he would walk out into the ocean up to his chest to cast the baited hook into the ocean. When he would get a bite, he would reel it in and, if it was a kosher fish and not a sand shark, we kept the fish.
And then we would bait the hook again.
We are in this world to be a channel to flow the sparks lthat are in chaos back to Hashem. Thus Hashem places us in a body to experience the chaos. Icky worms, slimy clams, smelly squid. But if we want to catch the fish, we have to deal with it.
So how do we deal with the intimidations, the blame, the hurtfulness, the insults, the challenges that stir us up? After all, we are human too. Understanding the other person is human and is falling to the lures of the chaotic messages does not prevent us from having chaotic reactions! We are here to do something else with it. We are here to see we are falling and to cry out to Hashem, to cling to HIm, Hashem I dont want to fall here..I am seeing I am falling and it feels thus and so and I do not want to fall. Please lift me up. Please help me bring all of the light from this chaos into the mitzvah of ahavas Yisrael, or being muvater, or being patient, or speaking respectfully, or acting with kindness, or with forgiveness.
Yes, we feel our reactions. But if we comprehend that He is doing everything and He is counting on us to go with emunah to a mitzvah so as to bring the holy sparks to Him through our intentional choosing of a mitzvah, our simchas hachaim and ability to emulate Him as we build our eternal identity will become more and more sincere.
Experiencing deficiencies in water fire wind and earth does not mean we are doomed. It means we go to emunah and hisbodedus and empty the water wind and fire from the deficiencies into Hashem’s loving embrace and then ask to be a channel through which all of the light shine into the world by moving forward to bring His Goodwill into the world.
After Parsha Yisro, after the ten commandments, it says I am
Hashem your Creator, Your Master.
Parshas Mishpatim talks about laws that are between man and man.
Rashi says that these are the laws. The first laws are from
Sinai and also these laws. The mitzvahs in relation between man and his Creator
and the mitzvahs between man and his friend are all from Hashem and from Sinai.
There are mitzvahs that are between man and His Creator. We keep them. It is written in the
Torah. When we have mitzvahs between man
and his friend, like monetary disputes or certain injuries that people have or
losses that they have sometimes, sometimes people have arguments with others,
and they might go to secular courts in each country. It looks like they differentiate between the
mitzvahs of the Torah that they are living by keeping them, that they say you
should be like a Yid in your house but like a person outside your house. But a Yid that lives properly lives only
according to the Torah.
If someone goes to the Rav and asks if the chicken is
kosher, that same way he should go to ask if the ox of his friend that fell
into his pit, what should he do. The Rav
is going to give an answer according to Shulchan aruch . He may not have to
pay. If he goes to a secular court, it
may say he has to pay and enforces it. It
is not that he was hurt, but he is the one that is inflicting a wound. It is
not that he was stolen from but he is the stealer because according to the
Torah he is not supposed to pay him but according to secular courts the person
has to pay him, so he reverses the law from what it is according to the Torah
and he goes by the secular court.
Rabbi Yisrael Salant says that everyone that learns the laws
of an ox that wounded the calf, it helps bring the fear of heaven. A person learns mussar. In all the parts of the Torah, the wisdom of
Hashem is hidden. Just learning it brings
a person closer to Hashem. Everything from
the Torah is given from Hashem to Israel at Sinai and you cannot differentiate
and say I will listen between me and the Creator but between me and my friend
on monetary disputes, I won’t listen. You cannot do that. You cannot make a separation
between two categories of mitzvahs.
You cannot separate between mitzvahs between a person and
Hashem and a person and his friend. You
can’t say I am going to ignore that piece of it. A person has to know that any
disputes with a person he has to go to a Rabbinic court and not a secular
Also from Sinai
These are the laws to put in front of them. Just like the
ten commandments were given, so too these laws. The Torah is from heaven
and the belief is in the Creator of the world, and our responsibility is to
keep the commandments He gave us. Everyone from the nation of Israel has to
live according to Torah, his eating, drinking, business, talking, thoughts..it
all has the yoke of heaven on him, all his behaviors. The laws of the gentiles and the secular
courts, they are not from the Shulchan Aruch.
It is not like you go to a Rabbinical court. If we go to a secular court, it desecrates
Hashem’s Name. a person that goes to
secular court, it shows he does not believe in Hashem and that he does not
believe in the Torah. A person who is
weak in their faith, they think that sometimes the laws of the land, the
secular courts, they will give the law according to the law of the Yidden. But if the judge is not a Yid and does not
learn the Shulchan Aruch to become a Rabbi it does not go according to the
Torah and it is a desecration of Hashem’s Name. It does not make a difference
if a judge will rule according to the Shulchan oruch. If a goy is going to give a Jewish law, it is
a sanctification of Hashem’s Name. but if a Yid does not give a right judgment
according to the Torah, it is a desecration of Hashem’s Name because he is not
acting as a Yid and he should not be judging.
All of the judgments from Sinai are given as the basis of the Jewish faith
and someone who does not live with this cannot give a proper judgment.
Rabbi Kalonomous Kalman says just like the 10 commandments
were given with trepidation and fear, that is the same fear and humility we
have to learn with monetary judgments regarding oxen that are injured and
different people that are caretakers of object, if they get paid or not, all
That is why it says just like we learn Torah for monetary
disputes, do it with faer and trepidation just like we got Torah mSinai. Don’t
forget the giver of the Torah. Learn the
laws with fear and trepidation as if at Sinai.
Section of Laws is an indicator of Divine Providence
Reb Isaac Scharf, in a mussar lecture, in Slobodka Yeshiva,
where it says your grass will grow in the fields and you will eat and be satiated,
he says Hashem Who is the Creator is talking to a person and promising that if
we worship Him with all our heart then He will bless our fields and there will
be plenty of grass for grazing and we will eat and be satiated. These words are
frightening for anyone who thinks about them. Hashem Who is so great gives this
knowledge to bless people with fields that provide grass and animals that will
be satiated. We come to understand that
the whole world and all its needs is full with divine providence of Hashem and
there is not a corner in our lives in all the land and in all the waters and in
the sky that divine providence is lacking.
Come let’s look at the parsha now, injuries a person does to
Hashem in the Torah given to Moshe is saying how much people
are required to pay if an ox hurt a different person’s ox, or if one person
hurts another, or someone steals someone else’s sheep and sells or slaughters
it. Hashem says all of this and says it for thousands of years for billions of
people, it is from the heavens and goes into detail and more detail of
different disputes regarding animals eating in another’s fields, or animals
injuring someone else’s and how to pay for it, full or partial, and now to
watch your ox so it should not injure and what does the thief pay, double? What type of payment does he have to pay when
it comes to fields or property. All these
details are written in the Torah at Sinai.
This Torah given at Sinai is with all its details important for us to
learn and to do all its mitzvahs and to realize that the divine providence of
Hashem is on every aspect of our life in every place that we are in this world.
Laws from Sinai
In the laws of the gentiles that we have, sometimes you have
to know when people are engaged in earning a living, he has to know what he is
obligated in according to the law of the land. These laws change even on a yearly basis. We make a difference between
the holy and mundane, in our Torah, and this is something we take each law and
we see the importance. We learn it in
depth because these are laws that are from the Creator.
In this parsha we know the laws of an ox that are injured,
we gave someone to watch our possession and it gets lost, or we learn the laws
of someone who steals, or that we are not allowed to hurt an orphan or widow,
or someone who is impoverished, not to take advantage when you make a judgment,
or when you see a donkey of your enemy and he is crouching because of his heavy
burden, you have to help him unload the heavy donkey. You are allowed to hate this person because
he is not acting accordingly but you are responsible to help him in this
situation. What type of law can you find
in relation to the way a person feels emotionally to have mercy and to take
part in the burden of an animal that has fallen? These are all laws that are obligations for
every Jew, not only when he sees the suffering of his fellow man but in any
They are given to Israel to be a nation to Hashem by taking
the Torah and mitzvahs, to keep Shabbos, sit in succa, but it is also an
obligation to see the suffering of your friend and to help him in the situation
he is in. these are the laws from Hashem at Sinai who is compassionate and does
good. Certain laws, when you see the secular laws and then the Torah, we see we
will do and we will listen. That is what
the Jews said.
The laws are monetary laws, wounds and relationships between
people and then at the end it talks about the giving of the Torah. We said we will do and then we will
hear. First they accepted it, we will
do. Interpretations are many. How can we
do before we will hear, how can we do before we hear?
Some explain that the keeping of the mitzvahs and learning
Torah, a Jewish person has to keep the mitzvahs, to put on tefillin, to eat
matza on Pesach. A person has to do this
before he understands the reason to do them. Only the ones that want to first
investigate the reasons for all the mitzvahs and then afterwards keep them,
they approach it in the reverse manner to we will do and we will hear. We are going to do it whether or not we understand
the reasons. After we listen then we will learn to understand the reason.
For example, we are not allowed to write on Shabbos. Then we
learn why. The Melachos are from the
mishkan and there was writing, they wrote on the walls and boards of the
Mishkan, they wrote to know how each board is paired with another board. Then we larn what is called writing, what
resembles writing and all that we are not allowed to do on Shabbos. If we wait
until we understand, many years pass by before he is doing the mitzvahs and it
is possible for a person to pass away before even doing one mitzvah.
When it comes to the judges, these are the laws that you should
put in front of them, the Shulchan aruch like a table ready to eat. Every judge
has to know the law and all the reasons and investigate. When he makes the judgment
he has to ask the witnesses and get all the information and when the judgment
is one way or another, a judge has to learn at the beginning how to keep the
commandments so that a wrong judgment that implicates the innocent or absolves
That is why it says at the beginning of the parsha, and not
the same at the end of the parsha where it talks about all the people, the
regular nation, doing and then listening, but for the judges, they have to set
their table first, understand the whole thing clearly. The whole nation does not have to understand
so clearly but the judges have to understand so they can make a propler
The relationship between the verses in the Torah
Someone who kidnaps and sells someone, that person has to
die as well as his parents. What is the relationship between these two verses.
Reb Saadia Gaon says a child that was kidnapped, most of the time from his
parents and sold to others and raised in a different environment from his
father and mother, it is possible he will come to a situation that he will
curse his parents because he does not understand how much he is supposed to
honor them and that he is not allowed to not respect them. He won’t understand. It comes out that the one who kidnapped
cursed his parents and this is why these two verses are one after another.
It arouses in our hearts the tragedy of the education of
thousands of Jewish children who grow up without the proper knowledge that are
taken away from the bosom of their Father in heaven. They are educated in secular system that
unfortunately does not know Torah. They also could come to curse their father
and nmother because it is really their father and mother, because their lack of
knowledge, they did not get a proper education.
The fifth commandment is honor your mother and father, and it is like
all the commandments. There is no exaggeration, everyone who knows the nature
of these children, they know how low they fell in the mitzvah of kivud av v’em
and sometimes they make the lives of their parents so bitter. Only those
children that are raise din the mesora of their father’s Torah know what a
father and mother are, to be careful in their honor, to value them and not
cause them pain or anguish. Whoever has
the education of the Torah it is a simple matter to him, there is nothing else
to think about. They respect their parents and the children that were kidnapped
from Torah education and got a secular education they end up cursing their
If the Master is with him
Seven times a righteous person will fall and pick himself up
again. If seven times a righteous person
falls in sin, he won’t get discouraged, he will stand up again and do teshuva
and try to repair it. He won’t give up hope. He will find a way to fix what he
did wrong. He will raise his eyes to the Creator and say I sinned such and such
but don’t throw me away from You. Take me out of this place of sin and its
punishment. He does not leave Hashem and Hashem doesn’t’ leave him either and
He helps him return and fix what he did wrong.
It is very bitter someone who leaves Hashem and doesn’t pick
himself up to do teshuva. The Chaim Rev
says a person who asks from his friend something, he borrowed something and it
broke or its owners died, he has to pay. The neshama is the person’s
friend. If a person asks from his
neshama to engage in things that are mundane matters and it is broken, meaning
he got caught in sin or it died (he fell into a transgression that caused his
death), if in such a situation that he leaves Hashem that is really His Owner
and the Creator of the whole world, and he is going to give up, then he is
going to end up paying in this world and in the next world for his friend, because
he gave up on teshuva. It is very painful for him. His punishment is double in
two worlds. But if he does not leave Hashem, his Owner is with him, he has hope
to do teshuva, then he will know Hashem is always with him even in the lowest
depths and he is going to call out to Hashem from the lowest depths. I call to You from the lowest depths that You
will help pick me up and help me do teshuva, then he will save himself from
punishment and at the end his sin will be forgiven.
WE are Hashem’s children and He is our father and when the
son knows he fell low and he screams to his father to help lift him from the
depths that he fell, Hashem will. If a person goes further way from going in
sin, anyone who is pushed away won’t remain so.
There is always one string that remains connected to His Creator and is
never lost and the hope to return and to fix what the person stumbled is
something that will help the person return to Hashem in complete repentance.
We are created for the delight of experiencing the simcha of bringing Hashem’s Goodwill into the world. Yet that simcha which is present each time we fulfill a commandment may or may not be felt in our hearts and our boides. Immediately we see the paradox of life that has been given to us in order that we not only have real free will, such that Hashem does not force us to serve Him,but so that we, by choosing to keep the mitzvahs and ;pursue connection with Hashem while we are alive, in a paradox, we are accepting Hashem’s plan for us to participate in a creative act of our own identity as a creator of our eternity.
Now that is a mouthful.
Let’s face the facts. Hashem is doing everything. He loves us. He flows life force to us from which we are able to have a lifespan, intellect, and an individual unique mission within the mission of klal Yisrael, which is Torah avoda, chesed and mitzvahs.
There are a few things we need to understand about Torah, however, to comprehend WHY Hashem wants us to flow our life force into learning, chesed, prayer and mitzvahs.
Torah is the vessel Hashem has designed in order to provide a pathway for holy sparks to flow from chaos into this world as revealed Light. There is an actual purpose to the creation all together, which is for Hashem to dwell in this world in a manner where this world will continue to be visible.
Within the material of this world, Hashem places a life force that is emanating from Him into a physical body that is formed from the plane of existence of nature. We are composed of water (liquid), wind (gas), earth (solid) and fire (radioactive) atomic particles, yet His Strength (compassion) is the bonding force of every atom.
What can we expect from ourselves, made from such atomic particles in a world where our intellect develops before we can ever know that Hashem is doing everything? How can we come to naturally experience in our hearts and bodies a simchas shel mitzvahs? Can it be really felt? How can we be expected to want it more than our creature comforts?
Hashem places an emanation from Himself into a body and gives us the Torah with which to struggle with this choice, for our entire lifetime. It is the avoda of moving from one plane, the plane of our natural experiences, to another plane, the plane of Torah, avoda, chesed, and mitzvahs, that He desires, for this is the design for how the hidden sparks of chaos return to Him and then flow through us into the world through our choice to do mitzvahs.
Thus, our moment to moment experience is the paradox of feeling ourselves and our own comforts, goals, happiness and enjoyment versus feeling a yearning for simchas shel mitzvahs with trust that Hashem Who is doing everything also knows how to comfort us and bring us happiness on the natural plane of existence. He knows and He is the only Source for these to come to us, for He is the first cause and the only effect on everything in His Creation.
The benefit of submission to going to emunah in order to act for the joy of simchas shel mitzvahs is that we actually become independent agents in the process – not independent of Hashem, but rather independent from human nature, from the gravitational downward pulls dragging us into feeling ourselves so much that we begin to think we must find solutions within nature because that is all there is, chas v’shalom. Despite how goodly we build our societies, without the intention of our efforts being to reach out for the end of the paradox, meaning to break out of the plane of natural existence in a run and return that emits a holy spark of light from the world of chaos back to Hashem so that the elements, water wind and fire may shine in this world without deficiencies, all we will see in the world is a reflection that includes deficiencies.
It is easy to comprehend what that looks like…every day we are seeing and hearing things that cause us to remark about how could that happen?
What if we truly understand that our every moment matters and creates an imprint, a positive or a negative influence, that Hashem then uses within the creation?
Imagine if we could take our worst pains and turn them into love and light.
Imagine if we could break out of our most troubling patterns and begin to feel calm and confident that we both have love and can give love?
There is a river of love flowing to us. It is called our life force. We have consciousness and an experience of life because Hashem is lending life to us and giving us consciousness. He is giving us a body and all the means to exist in this world and He is asking us to see that the life force is used to do mitzvahs, to pray, to do acts of kindness, and to learn Torah so that His Plan of flowing the sparks from chaos into this world can come to fruition through our love for Him, our awe in the design, and our free willed choice..
Now imagine that as that life force comes to us, there are three “leaks” that want that life force to flow into the darkness rather than into Torah, avoda, chesed and mitzvahs.
“How about a little more to eat first” (Am I truly hungry or am I listening to a message that is interested in my life force for its sake rather than for the sake of mitzvahs?)
“How about a short nap beforehand?” ( Am I truly tired or am I listening to a message that is interested in my life force for its sake rather than for the sake of mitzvahs? )
“How do you know what you are going to do will be appreciated?” (Am I truly interested in serving Hashem or am I interested in honor and ego pleasure ? )
“She did what? And you are going along with that? ” (Am I judging and condemining another with destructiveness in my heart or giving the benefit of the doubt and making a decision based on my relationship with Hashem?)
“So and so already did that very well and you are copying!” (Is my motivation out of jealousy or to increase warmth and light in the world? )
All of these messages and more crop into our thinking in order to “trap” our life force in the plane of jealousy, lusts, desires, urges, craving for honor, and creature comforts, fire, water, wind and earth. These are the deficiencies introduced into our consciousness from having ingested from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, deficiencies that, without knowing Hashem is doing everything, form togehter are our and everyone’s natural identity and ego.
Let us receive every moment asking ourselves whether our heart is pointed towards simchas shel mitzvahs and serving Hashem or whether our heart is pointed towards choices that we believe will bring about the feeling of ourselves that “make sense” on a plane of human nature. How? What is the hashgacha of the thought, emotion, or motivation – feeling ourselves or flowing light into the plane of existence of Torah?
If we try to make this choice intellectually, we run up against the subconscious that is far from sincere in its yearning for anything except feeling itself. This is our struggle, our paradox, the focus of our efforts. In hisbodedus, we bring out these thoughts and urges and, rather than accommodate them, we speak to them lovingly and point out how Torah really will work much better for its goals – why? Hashem is the first cause and the only effect. He is doing everything.
Recognizing our deficiencies is exactly what Hashem wants from us. He knows they are there. He designs them and places our soul there IN ORDER for us to tell Him about it and that we want His Light to flow into the world without these deficiencies we are confessing to. “I will lift them up because they know My Name.” The release of the life force from the deficiencies that then happens brings to our hearts simchas shel mitzvahs. And we can have more and more, each time.
We have real free will, emunah, an ability to sniff out the simchas shel mitzvahs, and the Torah to teach us.
Best we can do is run and return with this, but doing so gives our soul the experience of truly creating and being like Hashem and with Hashem.
What i have learned is that my struggles contain force that is painful, but that force is actual potential simcha when I recognize it as Hashem, concealed in nature and judgment – Elokim.
Thru our emotions, water wind fire, and our natural cause and effect thinking, He shows us where to find our hidden potential for simcha..in the absolute Chesed of life force being concealed in the pain – the Shechina in exile…and to not get distracted by the intensity and feeling of ourselves. Rather, run and return all of the water fire and wind using real free will to go to emunah – cling to His Name, yud k vav k, the thirteen attributes He tells us to cry out to Him with, and draw close to Him through being a willing channel for all of the Infinite light to flow into mitzvahs, out of love for Him our intentions.
How many of us find ourselves intimidated by things or people that are really just challenges, not intentionally intimidating?
Let’s take a closer look at that feeling of intimidation – there is an implicit concern that something we want and perceive as a pleasure will be withheld from us. This would be an experience that is a feeling of a lack of water, of kindness, of love, of pleasure, of nurture.
To be credible to us, there is also the interpretation or imagination that the situation or person has the strength and ability to actually implement this perceived threat. This would be an experience that is a feeling of image of oneself, of being small or ineffective – all related to wind or a lack of wind.
And if the matter is presenting with harshness and destruction, this would be an experience of flashing destructive fire, of an opposing force that has intention to damage fire.
Power and intimidation impact human nature until we come to remember that there is No Other Power. What that means is that we can recognize that Hashem’s Shechina is in exile within the nature of people, including us, yet He desires to flow into the world as love, kindness, gentle light, warmth and kiddush Hashem.
Avraham Aveinu recognized Hashem as the One Power in the world Whose love is providing us with everything, as did Adom and Malkitzedek, and others. What Avraham realized is that Hashem wants a relationship with us. That means He wants us to love Him back. From wherever in nature we are experiencing Him, He wants us to recognize Him, love Him and flow His Light into the world.
How do we do this when we are feeling intimidated, threatened, overpowered, and frightened?
The strength of these messages is the Shechina in exile. Write down all the words that we are feeling, and hold that paper to the heart, but look past the words to the force itself…It is huge. This is what it means to recognize the Creator, concealed in nature, in our nature, Who agrees to abide by the laws of nature until we “redeem” that strength through our love and free willed choice.
Hashem, please I desire for this strength to strengthen my emunah and animate a mitzvah, not the messages the strength is currently attached to here in my hand. I have compassion upon the Shechina and do not wish to add any life force to these messages, which are from the world of human nature that naturally develop before I understood what it means that Hashem is doing everything. Please may I have the strength in the water, fire and wind that is currently attached to these messages for emunah so that I may flow love, light, warmth, kindness and kiddush Hashem into the world.
The imagining mind will not necessarily understand from cause and effect thinking how this is going to prevent the circumstance from affecting us And this is the point. We are here as doorways for His Light to flow, immense souls concealed in a body that believes the images that naturally arise. The immensity of our soul is that Hashem has designed it to do all the heavy lifting, He gives us what is in our skill group to do – love Hashem and willingly shift the strength and mitzvahs.
He is doing everything, remember? We are the rusty pipelines through which His Will may come into the world when we love Him, submit our cause and effect thinking in favor of the plane of existence of Torah avoda and chesed, and cry out in hisbodedus to Him.
Not only that, because we are all one, if we see someone else in such a mindset, and we feel something in our hearts about it, we may also shower compassion upon all of that strength and ask that it come into the world as love, light, kindness, and respect.
Hashem really is doing everything. He really is the only Being of which we are all an emanation. He gives us real free will to utilize our lives to create for ourselves an eternal identity. This is what happens when we choose to shift the strength from our nature to the plane of avoda, Torah and chesed, from love for Him.
Avraham Aveinu recognized Hashem wants us to love Him. Hashem wants us to love our lives, to love that He is giving us life, and to bring that life force that He is giving to us from where it is blocked by cause and effect thinking to where it is revealed as His Will. Ein od.
He heard about the splitting of the sea and the war with
Amalek. All the nations heard about the
miracles and wonders that happened to Israel in Egypt and at the sea. And they trembled. There was a certain fear that grasped Edom
and Moav and Caanan. The question is,
why didn’t all of this, that everyone heard, why didn’t anyone else come, only
Yisro? Of all the nations that heard
about this, who were all trembling, only Yisro came.
In the book written by sifre chassidim, it says the reason
Yisro came is he heard it in depth, and he really wanted to understand it. All the nations heard what happened to Israel
but they interpreted what they heard according to their own understandings and
beliefs. They understand there was mazel , luck, for Israel, and that was why
they were enslaved, and then their mazel changed and that was why their luck
changed. They believed in the constellations, the horoscope of every nation.
But Yisro thought deeply and he heard about the splitting of the sea and Amalek
and asked if this is really based on mazel, on the constellations, that they
won the war with Amalek. He had to
understand the splitting of the sea, what all of a sudden changed with that and
to make Amalek go down in the depths, what was this small nation who was so
humiliated, to win battles. Yisro really
decided it was not really a matter of mazel, of constellations, that determined
this. He realized Yisrael was under the
divine providence of Hashem and when they sinned, like in Refidim, that their
hands became weak from the Torah, that Amalek was sent. He attributed the situations to consequence
and he understood the relationship between an act and a consequence and that is
why he determined the divine providence in it all, he really thought about it
in depth. He saw that there really was
divine providence controlling all these affairs and that is why he came to join
the people who were residing with His divine presence and beign sheltered with
WE also see with the staff of Moshe, that in klal Yisrael
had some that believed in the constellations and they thought the staff was
like a magnet to hit and take revenge, like the ten plagues that Egypt
stopped. Hashem said to Moshe that the
stick that you hit the sea with, that stick that was until now established with
the plagues, that stick should now bring out water for the nation of Israel to
drink to take out of their hearts any believe in mazelot, in the constellation,
that some of bnei Yisrael also believed in,.
there is no mazel. There is just Hashem.
That is what Hashem tried to show him.
That same stick for the plagues would bring salvation as well.
The exodus of mitrayim and the giving of the Torah
The nation left Egypt and went to sinai and became the
chosen nation, the specific nation that Hashem brought close to Him. This
nation that I created will sing my praises.
For this goal, they were redeemed, to become a nation of Torah. Without
this, this is the reason the heavens and earth were created and the whole
creation is dependent and exists because Israel got the Torah. Just like yom ha shishi, the day of the
creation of man, ha shishi is talking about the creaton of man, specifically
Israel, and that it is dependent on Israel keeping the Torah. That is the
reason they were redeemed to take the yoke upon them. The way a person takes the yoke of heaven
takes it, so too the attribute of the strength of mitzrayim exists in him, and
that is the attribute that when he takes the yoke of Hashem on him, it awakens
in him the redemption of the exile of the exodus and servitude. It says you won’t find a free person, only
someone that is involved in the learning of the Torah. The more someone learns
Torah to take upon him the yoke of heaven, so too he will develop a feeling of
a true free person from those who were redeemed from mitzrayim.
In every generation a person has to see himself as if he
left mitzrayim, because it is connected to the receiving of the Torah, and that
is a free person. A person has to see
himself as being redeemed from mitzrayim and to grow in his leaning of the
Torah because that is the reason they left mitzrayim. If they are still in servitude in mitrayim
and to pharaoh and to all different strange powers, that is a person that is
not a person that is learning Torah, in servitude, a slave to pharaoh and all
The Shem MShmuel said now, if you listen to the voice of
Hashem, you take the true yoke of heaven, there is only a person that is not
enslaved to any other power in the world. The only servitude he takes is the
servitude to Hashem. In yerushalmi, it
says an eved caanani is not required to say kria shema because he has the yoke
of a master besides Hashem so he doesn’t take the yoke of heaven. Now if you listen to my voice, when you don’t
have the yoke of the exile of the servitude of mitzrayim, when it is removed
from your neck, of no other masters on you, then you are ready to acquire the
yoke of heven complete and to get the Torah.
A person has to worry for himself
Hashem calls Moshe from the peak of the mountain and He
tells him you saw what I did in mitzrayim, now listen to me and be a special
treasure to me amongst the nation. Why
does it say and now if you will listen to me and why is it said here.
A wealthy man had a son and the father brought the son to
have a business in the world and when the son grew up he married him off and
gave him money and he said, my dear son I raised you and educated you and gave
you your needs. Now take your fortune in your hands, work, make a living and
support yourself. Now you don’t come
back to my hands, I am a father, I will help you when you need it, but yor main
concern is to help yourself and this is your responsibility. That is what Hashem said through Moshe. You
saw how I led you and punished the Egyptians and I took you out and held you in
my hands now you are fortunate in Torah and you are a nation and you have to
trust in your existence through keeping this Torah. It is your responsibility
to purify yourself and become holy through the mitzvahs I gave you and this is
how you will exist. In Mitzrayim I am the one that took you out of the impurity
and now it is up to you. Of course I will help you but it is your
responsibility. You should merit the good, through working with your bodies,
that is waiting for you.
Everyone should know that they grow up and get older and
every day that passes by is a renewed sense that he is a child of a treasured
nation and he has to increase his faith in his Creator and pray to Him, my
father it is my will to go in Your ways, you should be my strength and support
for You are my help and the Gd of my salvation.
We will do and then we will hear
We know when the Jewish nation accepted the Torah, we have
to know a lot about simple faith. We
have to believe in our Creator that He gives us life and our existence and
everything without Him is nothing, nothing exists without Him.
Our rabbis say that Hashem asked Esav and Ishmael if they
want the Torah and they asked what was in it and they said no when they heard
no murder and no idolatry. They would
rather have a life that is without any responsibility. When the Torah was offered to Israel they did
not ask what is in it. Why didn’t they
ask? The Torah is from Hashem. If a person gives an instruction booklet, we
ask what is written in it so we can see if it makes sense, but if it is a Torah
from the heavens, a mind of someone limited can’t understand. What is the reason to ask what is in it if it
is higher than the understanding of a person.
Only Israel understood it and the merited to get the Torah.
It was given from Hashem. It is a totally different approach if it is given by
Hashem. We don’t have to really
understand it, it is greater than our understanding.
If there were a poor person who was in the street dying of
hunger and a messenger came from the king to eat at his table, would he ask
what type of food is he going to get in the king’s palace?
Hashem is the Source of all good and He creates us to do
good for us. And He gave Torah to us so
of course it is good, it is coming from a Source that is good, He creates
people to do good for us and He gives us the instruction book. Everything written in it is good so why ask
questions. This is why Irael said we will do and we will hear.
A bas kol came out and said who told this secret to my
children, the secret was the faith in Hashem and in His goodness. The nations
could not understand it because they are far away from faith. It was not an instruction book from man it is
from Hashem and such a book is of course greater than what we can understand.
The naion of Israel were believers and that is why they were able to be
successful to understand the secret and they did not investigate and they said
we will do and we will hear.
Everything was quiet
At the time of the giving of the Torah it was still. The Medrash says that when Hashem gave the
Torah, a bird did not chirp or fly, an ox did not thrust his horns into
anything, nothing flew, heavenly beings did not say holy holy, the waves in the
sea were quiet. Everything was quiet and
then a large noise came out I am Your Gd. Everything was quiet at the time of
the giving of the Torah to Israel.
What is this matter of quiet and what are our rabbis trying
to reach us when they tell us about it
It is hinted to us that if we will take the Torah the whole
world will be quiet from saying anything against us. No nation and no speech will be against us. The animals won’t hurt us. To the nation of Israel, the dogs won’t bark
and all the prosecutors will be quiet.
Our Rabbis say, why was it called Har Sinai, because at that time came
hatred sina, to the nations against Israel.
If the Jewish people would be involved with the Torah and listen to it
as we should like the day it was given, then that hatred of the nations would
be trapped in their hearts and they would be quiet and they would not have the
disrespect to raise a hand against Israel.
When we hear this, it causes us anguish because we ask why
are the nations so against us? When the
voice is the voice of Yaakov in the houses of Torah, the hands of Esav are not
the ones that can touch us. A person
that takes upon him the yoke of Torah, they take away from him the yoike of
finding sustenance. They take away the
yoke of other worries, it demands perfectionand it gives perfecgtion. When a
person gives all his interest in Torah a person has the opportunity to continue
forever. When a person becomes weak in Torah, if we leave the Torah, it leaves
us. All the more if we leave it, it goes
further from us. A good attribute is
greater than an attribute of punishment and judgment. All the more that as a
person gets closer to Torah Torah gets closer to him and he is full of
tranquility and he is full of a certain sense of a calm spirit. When a person learns Torah at every hour with
a lot of enthusiasm and a spirit of renewal just like at Har Sinai, all worries
no longer eixst. They don’t bother him or trouble him because he is the one in
the center of the world and the whole world is created just for him.
Covenant at Sinai then and til today
Thousands of years have passed since Sinai, when we were
given the Torah of life. We walk towards
it light and it lights up our ways and through all the exiles that we have
experienced, and we made mistakes during these thousands of years. A lot of situations pass over us and a lot of
Jewish blood is spilled from the time of the giving of the Torah til now.
That Torah that was given from one generation to the next
and was written down, nothing was changed.
This reveals to us the great strength of Torah, the strength
of Hashem tha tis with us forever, that is connected to the Torah, and all of
the happenings that happened from the time of the giving of the Torah could not
uproot one letter of the Torah. When simple people come and they want to be
like the other nations and to change the Torah to modernize it, to live a life
without responsibility, we have three ways to answer. We can’t do it, we don’t want do it and we
are forbitdden to do it. We cannot
change one letter of Torah. The Torah with all its laws is given from the
heaven and we cannot change one bit, we are forbidden. We can’t change It it is impossible for a person whose future is to die because of
his makeup, to touch a Torah that is given to inspire from heaven and to make a
certain boundary for a person who is limited.
We don’t want to change it because we see what happened when they left
the Torah, how much they became spoiled and how much they destroyed with
leaving the Torah and its ways, the ways of their fathers. It all started with small changes and the end
of it was a great desolation that it caused.
Every generation is really totally existent in the Jewish
nation from the chain that goes from Sinai from the receiving of the Torah
until today. Chas vshalom we should not
touch the Torah and break the chain.
We saw what was heard
It is possible to learn the Torah many years and not live
according to it. It is possible for a person to learn Torah and will not fear
it. He may learn it but not necessarily
put Hashem before him. A person should
not do a transgression. When a Jewish
person learns Torah he has to see it, not just hear it, learn it with a certain
enthusiasm and see everything in the Torah and ask when will I be able to do
this, what it says in the Torah. It says
your eyes should see your teacher. When
a person says a law from a person that he learned it from, he should see what he
is hearing like the Rabbi is standing in front of him. Rebbeinu Hakadosh said everything he merited
in his life was because he saw the back of Reb Meir. If he had seen his face he
would have understood much more.
This is what it was as Sinai. They saw the sounds ,they say
the dibros. That was one of the great
things that happened. What it meant is
that Israel saw what they heard. It
stayed with them in front of their eyes. It went into their ears, they internalized
it, in their bodies and their souls, to have in front of their eyes always and
to fear and to do it and to live accordingly.
Also the nations of the world heard the 10 commandments, but they did not see it.
What they heard did not internalize. When it says see, that I put before you today
the blessing and the curse, Israel has to see with their eyes that if they
don’t do the Torah that is the curse and if we do then that is the blessing.
The life of blessing and holiness Torah gives to the people who keep it, and
the life of course that a life without responsibility for the portion of those
who want to change the Torah. When a person sees with his eyes then it is
promised to him that he won’t do a sin and that he will understand the Torah
like he should. A person understands
more when he sees it with his eyes rather than just hearing what he hears.
He will merit this way to keep and to do all the mitzvahs of
the Torah. He has to actually see what
he hears , internalize it.
There is no salvation , nothing to be sure about, that you
can overcome a transgression
A person can get very high in levels of spirituality and it
is not for sure that he won’t trip up in a serious transgression. Even on Yom Kipur it is not for sure that a
person would not stumble in something that is a transgression when he is faced
with a challenge. That is why we read in mincha on Yom Kipr about
transgressions. Even on such a holy day
a person could slip.
Hashem tells Moshe to tell the people not to go up onto Har
Sinai. He tells them not to go up. Moshe
said they would not. They prepared three
days, they are strong in their belief and they won’t go against a commandment
of Hashem. It is like a mechitzah of
steel and they won’t trespass it. Hashem
tells Moshe tell them strictly to not go up the mountain, we can’t be sure that
person tries to become holy and he won’t fail and he won’t transgress. A person has to work on himself without stop
and without rest.
After matan Torah they made the eigle. A person cannot trust himself. He has to ask for mercy that hashem be a
stronghold for him in any type of challenge.
What was the great revelation at Sinai that all the nations were
trembling? Were they told secrets, or
very elevated things, so elevated that they could not understand them?
They heard simple things that everyone understood, no idol
worshiop, respect parents, don’t kidnap or kill or swear falsely, not to
desecrate Shabbos. All this was told to
them after they prepared for three days, after seven weeks of purifying themselves
To understand that after all their hard work a person still
needs mercy from heaven that he should not be a stealer, a kidnapper. This
knowledge can save us from sin a person has to know to be on the lookout, to be
careful and really to always ask for help from Hashem three times a day, the
first primary request is to please save me from sinning because without His
help it is impossible to overcome the evil inclination that tempts us to sin.
Hashem really overturned the mountain to force us to take the Torah
People who do not learn Torah think that learning Torah is a
hard burden. They don’t know that it is a joy to learn the Torah. We know it is hard work at the beginning but
it is a great joy, a joy for eternity, that is hard to describe …a feeling of
the next world in this world. When a person starts learning it is hard and if
he doesn’t make progress with patience, until the fire of Torah grips him, and
the light of the Torah will enter all of the nooks and crannies of his soul and
his body, he has to proceed patiently with determination.
When a person starts learning Torah he has to have faith in
the ones who give Torah. No matter how hard it is we cannot leave the learning
of the Torah Hashem gave us and we have to be willing to give our lives for
it. The Rabbis say Hashem forced Israel,
that He turned the mountain over them, If you take the Torah good or you will
be buried here. They were forced.
The bESHT says when He forced them, He wanted to show them
the way, that even in a time that a person does not have the will to learn,
then he should force himself and learn without enthusiasm and think they are
forcing him. In the end he will learn it
with enthusiasm. That power to do this
was given to us at Har Sinai.
In the Tosefos it says that the rabbis say bnei Israel
wanted to get the Torah written down, not the oral Torah. But the oral Torah is what He forced on
The evil inclination wants to stop a person from learning
gemara, oral law. That is something that
has less enthusiasm than chumash. In
relation to the gemara, the greater laziness of a person than to learn
chumash. A person has to force himself
to learn gemara. That is why Hashem forced them to learn oral law at
Sinai. A person has the power to do so
because the power itself was given at Har Sina.
The harder and the more struggle, the more sweet it is at
the end, the amount of reward. When we work hard on understanding a question
and at the end it becomes clear to us, there is no end to the great joy and
I am a little scared to share this insight because in challenging our cause and effect thinking in order to bring in the first Cause and Effect, it is important NOT to awaken the voice of doubt, Amalek and leitzonos. Nevertheless, expanding our natural plane of thinking requires that we redeem our life force from the deficiencies inherent in the development of our cause and effect thinking which took place before we could integrate Hashem is doing Everything and loves us. How then do we see the expansion as a pathway to spiritual delight and divine protection rather than as just another insult to our intelligence that firms us into false confidence in our own power? The movement to emunah of all our strength is the key…and the strength is being reassigned …
Living with emunah to flow water wind and fire freed from our deficiencies to Torah avoda chesed and mitzvahs enclothe Him in garments that He tells us to do
The love is concealed in the water wind and fire we choose to flow and reveal thru torah avoda mitzvahs..see the force as the love and nullify the deciciency by strengthening emunah and going to the elevated plane of existence, Torah avoda chesed mitzvahs.
It is about turning the force that catches our attention from the way it makes us feel to comprehend that momentary experience as a request to flow water wind and fire into the world. Imagine a wall of a dam for a power plant thinking all that water is for IT..rather when the water builds up it gets channeled into the generator to produce light
Would the dam say why is this happening to me?
Rather we ask, where is there water,wind and fire trapped in deficiency that Hashem desires for me to reveal thru Torah avoda and chesed.
Understand where our greatness is..in revealing Hashem. It is spiritual delight and divine protection for us , a true pleasure because Hashem loves us, but the greatness is to be part of Infinity, as we run and return. There is NO question for the animal soul in choosing avodas Hashem over its natural pleasure seeking once it tastes how its muscles and power can be a royal chariot. The animal soul acquires this taste and willingly submits its natural but now understood as deficient cause and effect thinking to The Cause and Effect and its lusts and urges to the altar so that the sheathe over our greatness becomes transparent and shines Hashem’s will.
In the biography of Reb Usher Freund, at least two times Reb Usher was found sadly saying, How will I greet my Creator after all these years and not have done anything? Reb Usher could see that Hashem is doing everything. There are stories, tzedaka requests, that went like this….a man would come in and tell Reb Usher what he needed and Reb Usher would tell the man to sit down. In awhile, another man in line would come in and give an envelope. Reb Usher would give the envelope directly to the man who asked for money without looking inside. He told him to count it and in fact is was the exact amount requested. He would say that he did not know where the money would come from but he knew Hashem would send it because it was a legitimate need. Hashem orchestrated for both of those men to be on the line that day. This is the level of emunah that we can aspire to, to understand that we are not doing anything but rather by recognizing that He is doing everything, we may listen to the phone ring to comprehend that there is a Caller Who desires us to remove the sheathe of our feeling ourselves and rather channel all the forces into lovingkindness, light, warmth and kiddush Hashem, to walk humbly with Hashem, through will and prayer, recognizing we are His people, His Nation, through which He may be re-garmented from the sheathe of our physicality and urges and impulses into Torah avoda and chesed
Are we ready to consider, re-consider, how we are great – that our greatness is in transparency and submitting the sense we have of feeling ourselves, the phone ringing, in favor of hearing the Caller and opening our hearts to serve Him and thereby reveal His Light? This is greatness. This is humility. This is atzmi.
Rabbi Nir Menussi has a the Soul of the Parsha series…here is what he says about Parsha Yitro
Why did Yitro, head priest of Midian, convert to Judaism, and how did he merit having the parsha of all parshas — the one telling of the giving of the Torah and the Ten Commandments — named after him? Yitro symbolizes the eternal spiritual seeker who, constantly craving for more spiritual experiences, wishes to go even beyond the God of mysticism…
Enjoy the new Soul of the Parsha class!
Let us hear and “convert” as did Yitro, to receive what Hashem is giving us in fullness so that we are truly serving Him and bringing all our strength concealed in the water/chesed/lusts and fire/anger/fear/strenth and wind/honor/speech/ego to emunah and through into the world through Torah (fire), avoda (wind), chesed (water) and mitzvahs (earth) with love and understanding and humility.
Knowing Hashem lovdes us despite the way we feel about our natural reactions is key to accepting the mission He has given to us. We must comprehend ourselves as divine emanations, all of us hairs on His Head, emanating from His Will, placed in the darkness of a body with survival skills internalized but external to our essence, yet attached to these “like a heart” identity thieves, jealousy, lusts and urges, and craving for honor – fire, water and wind. Hashem is concealed in that fire water and wind as Elokim…there is No Other Power. He loves us but does not force Himself on us. He gives us the higher mind of our essence to recognize Him and to pray to Him so that we may bring all of that koach to Torah avoda chesed and mitzvahs. We are here to bring the lights of tohu to the vessels of tikun, and if we get wrapped up in judging how He has designed us to experience Him, we end up bringing the messages of darkness into our consciousness instead of the light concealed by the messages into the world as mitzvahs.
Let’s make choices away from self-loathing, hatred, vengeance, intimidation, shaming, blaming, anger, fear, addictions and honor by confessing these openly to Him (He already knows 😜 ) in order that we recognize Him and beseech His Mercy to rise above the nature so that we may connect and attach to Him and flow that concealed light into the world as…patience, ahavas yisrael, kindness, respect….out of love for Him, out of understanding that we are here to do this and this alone, and that He is doing everything. And it is ok to know that He knows where we extracted that strength from and to trust He will heal our hearts and our circumstances that only He can reach into, despite our best cause and effect thinking. Remember, cause and effect thinking develops starting six months before birth based on attachment to physical world and the love of people who are simply not Hashem, before we can incorporate Him into our understanding. Thus we must reflect on our messages in hisbodedus to hear the Torah that speaks back to us, to help us direct our hearts to what is eternal.
“And Yisro, the minister of Midian, the father-in-law of Moshe, heard everything that Hashem did.’”
What did Yisro hear? He heard about the splitting of the Yam Suf and the war with Amalek. He heard, he abandoned his family and all manners of idolatry that he had engaged in, he converted and came under the shelter of the Shechina. This is the explanation of the expression, “The ear hears the words of Torah and the entire body receives vitality.” As the pasuk states, “Hearken and your soul shall live.”1 Via listening to the words of Torah – the entire soul is resuscitated.2
“ואתם תהיו לי ממלכת כהנים וגוי קדוש” )יט, ו( “You shall be to Me a kingdom of ministers and a holy nation”
Aharon Hakohen received eternal kahuna. Dovid Hamelech was awarded perpetual royalty. We, the Jewish people, received everlasting holiness.
The sanctity of the Jewish nation is eternal. It is our attachment to Hashem. It is the greatest possible pleasure that a Jew can experience – the spiritual bliss of the soul that clings to its Creator. We ask Hashem often for a good life. What is a good life? It is a life of holiness and purity.
We must begin to consecrate ourselves – otherwise we fall to the Golden Calf, G-d forbid – each of us with our own Golden Calf. Even if it is so difficult – we
1 שמעו ותחי נפשכם )ישעיהו נה, ג( 2 שמות רבה כז, ט
must begin – we must want – we must daven for it incessantly! Holiness is a lifelong endeavor. It requires patience – with our children, with our spouses, with our neighbors, with ourselves, with everything that does not go well for us, with our failures, with our hearts that suddenly turn to stone and feel nothing. If we want Hashem to be patient with us, we must exhibit patience towards ourselves and towards those around us. We cannot accomplish everything all at once – but we cannot absolve ourselves either. A person says, “HKB”H knows what kind of difficult corrections I endure in life, how hard the path He has given me is – so, He does not expect too much from me.” That is not true. HKB”H implanted within us the strength to fight the yetzer hora and defeat him, as Rebbe Nachman taught, “In truth, every single Jew contains a precious soul that has the great power to withstand the yetzer hora and its minions. We need only acknowledge our own strength.”3
“You shall be holy, for I am holy.”4 Hashem proclaims that since He is holy, He wants us to be holy. HKB”H does not give up on us or settle. We evolve directly from Hashem and if He is holy, we too must become sanctified.
This world deflects our point of view and prevents us from staying focused on our objective. We become enchanted by the inanity of this world and we forget what is important, what can truly gladden us and fill our souls. It is life or death.
In this week’s parsha, the holy Torah tells us, ““Gods of silver and gods of gold shall you not make for yourselves.”5 However, the Torah already instructed us “You shall not recognize the gods of others in My presence”6 at the Giving of the Torah. What is being added here? HKB”H knows that connecting a physical person to G-dliness is very difficult. There are too many “other” things in the world to distract him. All of these other distractions are “gods of silver and gods of gold” – all of the superfluous things that do not bind us to Hashem and distance us from the truth and a life that is truly good.
Sometimes we need a break – we are not ascetics, cut off from the world. However, it must all be done with attachment, constantly seeking the connection, relentlessly speaking to Hashem. We must incessantly look upwards – towards Hashem. HKB”H created something out of nothingness ( יש מא ). ין There was nothing and He created the world. We must turn the something into nothing – to recall that there is nothing here – only Hashem. A person must pray for every matter in holiness – over everything that distances us from Hashem. Most of all, we must pray for the strength to guard our eyes.7 The yetzer hora is fiercest in that area. It is impossible to experience the taste of holiness when our eyes cause us to be diverted from Hashem. Therefore, we must proceed with Dovid Hamelech’s advice, “My eyes are always to Hashem.”8 When a person is in constant dveykus (clinging) to Hashem – he is automatically rescued from jealousy, covetousness, hatred, contentiousness, loshon hora, etc. He is saved because he does not see anyone – his eyes are always to Hashem. Therefore, tzaddikim never let their eyes wander outside their four amos, even in a closed room. Their guarding of their eyes is not only to avoid gazing at forbidden sights – it is never to allow anything to interrupt their dveykus to Hashem. When we open our eyes, we see something and our thoughts begin to be drawn after the many distractions that surround us. Whatever we see immediately begins a chain of thoughts that can lead anywhere.
5 ” אלקי כסף ואלקי זהב לא תעשו לכם )כ, כ( 6 לא יהיה לך אלקים אחרים על פני )כ, ג( 7 Adaptor’s note: In this context, “guarding one’s eyes” is not limited to avoiding inappropriate content – it includes not being easily distracted from our mission by things that surround us and what others have. 8 עיני תמיד אל ד’ )תהילים כה, טו(
We were created in this world to delight in Hashem, to cling to Hashem. The substitute for the false pleasures of this world is to live a life of holiness. There is no worse punishment than when a person has no desire to daven, to learn Torah – his heart is cold to all matters of holiness because he gives all of his heart’s warmth to the other side. There is no greater pleasure than delighting in Hashem (להתענג על ד’) – to take pleasure in learning, pleasure in davening and hisbodedus, in all manner of getting closer to Hashem, clinging to Hashem, connecting to Hashem – that is the only real delight in the world.
Even when a person realizes that he is not changing, that he remains with all of his illicit desires and negative attributes – every moment that he is disgusted with this world – that is his victory. Every time he cries to Hashem, “Hashem, save me from this” – that is the change. That is his triumph. Every tiny motion of ours towards holiness is never lost. The most important thing is never to give up. Most important is for us stubbornly to persist – to begin anew each time.
When a person sanctifies himself – he is less focused on himself and on physical matters. He understands that the spiritual portion is the main part. It is the root of everything. If his spiritual life is in order – things will even be better for him materialistically. Holiness is only possible with modesty and humility, with submissiveness and a bowed head. Moshe, who received the Torah from the mouth of the Almighty, and Yisro, who came from such a distant and impure place, are called “man to his friend.” “And they inquired man to his friend about the other’s well-being.”9 “Man” refers to Moshe, as it states, “The man Moshe was exceedingly humble.”10 “His friend” refers to Yisro – as if they were equals. “Such is the way of the highest tzaddik, who is an aspect of Moshe. He lowers himself and draws himself so close to those who have a desire to draw near to the truth. He comes so close to him – as if he were his friend, literally, as if they are ‘man and his friend’.’”11
A person’s entire task is self-nullification. That means being certain that everyone else is more
9 וישאלו איש לרעהו לשלום )יח, ז( 10 והאיש משה ענו מאד )במדבר יא, ג( 11 ליקו”ה בכור בהמה טהורה ד, כב
pg. 3 פרשת יתרו
righteous than he is, holier than he is and wiser than he is. That is a person’s entire concern in this world: to reveal Hashem’s honor, not his own. When a person usurps honor for himself, he is in trouble. That is our essential challenge. We must accept a compliment – and, in the next moment, exchange these thoughts for another: the honor really belongs to Hashem. One who knows how to attribute all of the glory to HKB”H – is worthy of being honored, not one who tries to take credit himself.
A person’s greatest challenge is to know that, without Hashem, he is nothing. When a person draws all of his vitality from the illusion and expectation that he will be someone – reality slaps him in the face repeatedly and admonishes him that he is nothing. He does not understand why he is continually disappointed. Even when he succeeds, it is never quite as he imagined it. And when things do not go well, he is completely depressed. This is all a result of seeking vitality from our egos, from the illusion that we are important. By contrast, one who lives with the idea that he is insignificant and that there is nothing aside from Hashem – is always filled with vigor and joy because he is connected to the Creator.
A person who is ever cognizant of his flaws does not become arrogant because he is aware that he is liable to sin – sin crouches at his doorstep from morning until night. Therefore, he constantly speaks to Hashem and Hashem helps him. A humble person never stops thanking Hashem. The Chofetz Chaim would thank Hashem every night for all of the favors He had done for him. He would recount the kindnesses that Hashem did for him that day and every day of his life – how He had helped him when he had been an orphan, to bear his bereavement and loneliness, helped him learn Torah and author sefarim, granted him good, learned and G-d-fearing sons-in-laws, etc. Humility is the source of every holy matter and every positive attribute. In the humble man’s eyes, every Jew is amazing and a tzaddik. A person who lives with humility and modesty, who is not too self-important – can relate to others with tenderness, pleasantness – he loves everyone.
Arrogance leads to the attitude that everything is “owed to me.” When a person is conceited, he feels prominent. The result is a sense of entitlement. When he does not get what “he is owed” – he is hurt,
angry. A humble person does not feel owed at all – no one owes him any special treatment or honor. We must constantly tell ourselves: “we are owed nothing, we are no better than anyone else.” We must never feel superior to others – we never know what difficulties they encounter and overcome. We must stop and contemplate – we must identify illusions of grandeur and fight them. Nothing conceals Hashem’s light more than arrogance. Hashem says that He and the egoist cannot coexist.12 When we are humble – Hashem is with us.
This week’s parsha introduces us repeatedly to the beautiful attributes of submission, humility and selfnullification. Yisro gave Moshe good counsel, to appoint men of distinction, men of truth, to help him judge the nation. Moshe, the humblest man, accepted the advice deferentially. “Moshe heeded the voice of his father-in-law.”13 That is the Jewish nation. The greatness of its greatest tzaddikim is their selfnullification, humility and submissiveness.