We are doing teshuva to create positive influence and protection for our people. The process of our teshuva is to effortfully seek to identify as tzelem elokim and cling to the root Source of happiness and pleasure – learning Torah, emulating Hashem, living with emunah and bitachon, giving love and value with knowledge that our survival is in Hashem’s Hands alone. We are trying to stop basing esteem, happiness and pleasure on the ego and animal-self goals. We are submitting with emunah to the reality that there is Hashem Who is the Source for all Vitality.
When we release happiness and pleasure from the grips of the animal soul’s self-referencing with love in our heart to understand that happiness and pleasure are the result of learning Torah, doing mitzvahs, emulating Hashem’s attributes of mercy [Tomer Devorah explains the Attributes of Mercy as tolerating insults, overlooking faults, bearing the burden of confusion of mind, forgiving, casting sins into the sea] ,we free the Shechina from the darkness that traps it – the mask of nature over the koach of His Light. By free willed choice, we can ask Hashem to move that koach and leave behind our futile attempts to connect to happiness and pleasure based on ego, time and space in favor of using the koach to strengthen our mind, the vessel, in order that we are able to receive and reveal true good into time and space.
Our survival instincts, when triggered, often presents itself in our consciousness as a valid emotional basis for responding with anger and judgment, saying and doing things that we may justify as good and well-meaning but that are indeed quite hurtful and damaging. Someone said their young five year old was in school and the Morah did not allow them to go to the bathroom without permission. The little girl asked her father who told her that if she has to go to the bathroom, she should go. One day the girl had to go and raised her hand and the teacher told her no, that she should have gone before. The girl tried to wait but had to go and got up to go, following her father’s instruction. She tripped and fell and as she was making on the floor the teacher was giving her a lesson, that she was being taught midda keneged midda for disobeying the teacher. Outrageous as this may seem, it happens to us all the time. When we are young, we want to please the people around in order to receive love and value. This need gives so much power to the adults around us and many believe unknowingly that their agenda for what is good for us is the truth of what is good for us. Their words hurt, their labels stick, the imprint on our minds is planted, and we are challenged to conform to their blaming and shaming rather than to follow Torah or emulate Hashem. After all, we don’t want anyone to be upset with us!!!!
Happiness, pleasure and survival are in Hashem’s Hands. When we learn and follow Torah, emulate Hashem, live with emunah and bitachon giving love and value, no matter what we experience the highest levels of pleasure. Threats of abandonment and annihilation by powerful appearing enemies [ we experience this in our daily lives as feelings of anxiety, judgment, anger and more when something triggers us] must be remembered as having its Source in Hashem albeit coming to us through a painful or challenging experience. Hashem is the only power. It is upon us to follow the Torah, to return to halacha, to emulate Hashem. Specifically, we are taught to be humble, to remove arrogance, to bitul our ego. Otherwise, when we feel we have power to say and do what WE think may be right in the moment, we might be making a mistake. Our efforts to look at circumstances with intelligence MUST be buffered with emunah in Hashem and awareness that we are made in His Image to reveal His Atrributes of Mercy. In this way, we will be connected to Him. In this way His Glory wlll be revealed. There is no better Homeland Security than that.
No matter what the challenge, the only good is what the Torah tells us. Returning happiness and pleasure to its proper roots will not only bring us happiness, pleasure, survival and good, but it will also reveal to the world Hashem’s Good. For as it says
For I have today made you as a fortified city, as an iron pillar, and as walls of brass against the whole land, the kings of Judah, its nobles, priests, and the people of the land. And they shall fight you but they willnot prevail, for I am with you to ave you, says the Lord.
Go and cry out in the ears of Jerusalem saying, Thus says the Lord: I remember yuour favor, the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, when you went ofter Me into the desert, into a land that was not sown.
Israel is holy to the Lord, the first fruits of His produce; all that devour him shall be held guilty, and evil shall come down upon them, says the Lord.
Meam Loez comments that:
Rashi interprets Hashem’s statement as a declaration of His great mercy, and His willingness to accept Israel should they repent. That desire to accept them is founded on His retaining the memory of the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, and the willingness demonstrated then to forgo the comforts of civilation to follow Him into the barren desert.
The teshuva that we are doing is designed for us to rediscover the immense pleasure of revealing divine dignity in every moment. The teshuva we are doing strengthens a relationship with Hashem that is necessary in order for us to do the work of tikun he desires from us. That tikun is the constant effort we make to behave with free will as if we are one with Hashem’s Will, knowing that is the only real good. It is a constant avoda as long as we are alive. Having the challenges MEANS we are alive, in bodies, with egos, and subconscious and unconscious AND with a tzelem elokim including a level of surrounding light that connects us at all times to the real Source of all vitality, a surrounding light that we ask Hashem to lovingly and gently erupt into our neurocircuitry so that it naturally is what flows through our hearts. During the Three Weeks, we are trying to connect with Hashem internally, to the pleasure and happiness of feeling His Presence, as it was in the Temple of Shlomo HaMelech.
The only good is Torah. There is No Other Power. We are made in Hashem’s image. He is the source of all Vitality. When we trust in Torah, following the halachos, emulating His attributes, doing mitzvahs, loving Hashem, giving love and value to others and trusting our survival to Hashem alone, there is nothing to fear at all.
May the teshuvas that we do in our personal examples of this create positive influence and be merits for Klal Yisrael. May the eruption into our consciousness of tzelem elokim and the pleasure of that experience help us understand most deeply what we lost when we lost Shlomo’s Temple. May our building into our minds His Presence conclude once and for all the grief of all these years of living without the Temple, internalizing our connection to Him, and making it so natural as to flow through our hearts in order that His Glory once again is seen in time and space.
May Hashem protect us and cause our enemies to stop being enemies.
Women are invited to join our teshuva during the three weeks. please visit www.brachagemach.com for more information.