Monthly Archives: August 2014

Identifying with the image we create for ourselves based on natural urges and solutions – instead realize we have real free will to choose true happiness

Perhaps it is not out of love or awe of Hashem that  those of us who have to search for a healthier natural identity work  to be more comfortable in life, but when we have victories, the victories are signed with a pleasure of spiritual connection that validates the effort.  After that, the work is for growing spiritual connection because the comfort and happinesses of time and space and ego, although still comfortable, no longer seem to be ends in themselves but rather  outcomes of a Loving Gd Who gives freely to those striving to reflect His 13 Attributes of Mercy into the world.


What makes it hard work is that it seems like we are foregoing the basis of life itself, the “me”, the ego, the identity that we have known all our lives.  When we change our relationship with our ego, it is not foregoing it.  Rather, it is lovingly understanding its unrectified characteristics and helping to heal and soften and make joyous the interactions that previously present with anxiety, fear, anger, resentment, condemnation, intimidation or other negative experiences.   When we submit ourselves, separate out our life force from the compelling image that we devise for ourselves, and reorganize all our energy to instead reflect Hashem’s Attributes of Mercy into the world, we come to meet the greater and finer and most pleasant part of us, our tzelem elokim connected to Hashem able to reflect Him into our actions and speech.  The key to understanding how to recieve this pleasuer consistently involves subduing the imagination of the animalistic natural side of us that we have relied on since young to accomplish our goals.  At first it seems undoable.  But once we come to have experiential insight, the lower self works together with our choice to serve Hashem.

The fiercest opponents of the Jewish people are presenting themselves to us today.  They are relentless and completely honest about their utter determination to destroy us and wipe us off the globe, nevermind out of Israel.  Is there anyone who does not understand the determination, the will power, the dedication and organized effort, backed by rich sources, towards this goal?


Everything in the world is an expression of what is going on in the heavens.  And with our free willed choices, we contribute influences to the manner that Hashem manages nature.  Normal life has changed.  Every day there is a barrage of missiles, sirens, injuries, and now some deaths, lo aleinu.  How can we feel happy in the terms of worldly matters that we are comfortable with?  Hashem has removed it.  Heis shepherding us so that our natural desires for happiness will stumble upon the greatest treasure we have, serving Him.  He wants us to find real happiness while we have free will.  And real happiness is the determination, the will, the persistence, the emunah, and the trust, bitachon, that the swirling disappointments or ego victories that we are accustomed to and that have served us so well need to be upgraded to devekus, connection to His Attributes of Mercy no matter what.   It does not mean we have been wrong.  There is no value judgment for how things have been up until now.  But in order to continue experiencing pleasure after the Moshiach comes when there will be no more free willed choice, we must come to use our free will NOW to make the choice to cling to middos harachamim.


We may have no idea how to do this. But we can still say to Hashem that we desire to triumph tzelem elokim over our natural urges, that we desire to become a person who is trying to reflect Torah and His Attributes into the world, in a real sense, even when we experience ego challenges and desires and negative reactions.


It is only people who are in the kelipas of taiva and gaiva who can unmask and reorganize through the soul’s power of emunah the energy, the Shechina, trapped in the mask of nature and connect it to nourish the universe through declaring Hashem Echad.  When we ride the bumpy landscaping of our broken character traits  with the emunah to release what glory is trapped there, when we yearn to draw in Hashem’s middos with a greater ability due to our effort, the system of light that we reflect grows and we come closer to Hashem by adding ability to reflect Hashem into the world.  When we do this and experience the happiness of doing so, it becomes understandable as pleasure and reinforcing and we comprehend its truth.  Until then, it may seem like a bunch of philosophy or theory.   We are great beings, but we are greater than we know if we have not yet reached the experiential understanding of the pleasure of releasing the Shechina from the mask of nature in our animalistic makeup. If someone were dying of thirst and never heard of water and you told them about water and they drink it, they would be very grateful, right?


The experience of triumphing over the anxieties set in our brain when we were young brings relief and pleasure.  If we get caught up in the meaning of what our negative characteristics are, if we identify with what happened, then we probably will remain trapped and in despair.  To triumph requires Torah learning, prayer, emunah, bitachon,  determination, will power, and experience.  Hashem helps us.  But if we believe that it is too hard or that we don’t have the power, if we think we are grasshoppers, or that the pleasure we have from having healthy ego and being successful in life does not compel us further,  then we need to read Torah on the power of speech, on Adom being a being that can increase what he is, and on being a combination of soul and body designed to have the body serve the soul and Hashem.  This service extends into the kelipas, where we are, for there is a strength in the peel, in the covering, that is our role to unmask and connect through Hashem Echad.


May we yearn to take a step into this journey and may that yearning be the effort to tip the scales so that we are deemed to be the generatiion meritorious for redemption.





Hatred is natural and does not need faith to expand – faith reorganizes the elements of natural urges in order for us to reflect Hashem’s Love and Mercy instead of the natural urges

Emunah Love Hashem Know there is Hashem Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad Bitul Water Chesed
Bitachon Awe of Hashem No Other Power Baruch Shem Kavod Malchuso Leolam Voed Shifless/lowliness Fire Gevurah



Hashem breathes our soul into us. He utters all our characteristics. His chesed gives us everything, our life force and all our strengths and weaknesses to grow from. Just like a balloon being inflated, we are connected and we don’t lose ‘air’ because we are constantly connected.


As soon as He gives us a challenge though, our imagination from our animal soul begins scanning to defend us. Our sense of independent identity becomes activated in an emotional way and the stage is set for the challenge. How will we use our real free will? Will we advance the goals of the imagination based on the perspective of the animalistic side of us or will we use our free will to activate emunah and open all channels to reorganize our imagination and reactions to attach to chochma, to Torah, to tefilla and to our commitment to reflect Hashem into this world?


Our natural self-defense mechanisms send us a red alert and immediately we believe we have to take action because it is up to us to secure what it seems we are about to have taken from us, our money, our health, our lives, our happiness, our comfort, and on. Indeed these threats may be accurate and our perceptions are indeed sending us messages we need to look at. The question is, do we have the awareness in the moment to trust in Hashem? Do we yearn from emunah to submit with awe of Hashem and remember that we are being inflated by His Will alone even in this moment? Does that help us gain a perspective on our natural desire to defend ourselves with the lower perspective, thinking we can “clutch shut the neck of our balloon to keep the air in”?.


At the very moment of that free willed choice, we have a moment to create for ourselves greater blessing and good, to increase the life force and benefit coming to us by the resistance being posed by the circumstances.


Our self-defensive urge to do something to protect ourselves from hurt or damage is very instinctive and strong. When our tzelem elokim is trapped in the imagination of the animal soul and we do not have consciousness of Torah, it is natural that our emotions swirl.

swirling competing elements


Our self-defensive urges from the animal soul are energy and all energy has its Source in only one location, Hashem. Instead of solidifying the lack our perceptions are receiving regarding our independent existence and ability to protect ourselves, we can take  the mask of independent existence off of our reaction by remembering that happiness comes from reflecting Torah and Hashem’s attributes of mercy into the world.  We are able to  then  activate free will and emunah to reveal the hidden glory from the mask, reconnecting its energy to our ability to reflect Hashem’s Glory in a larger way into the world.  This is an infinite process so just being involved with the steps brings nourishment into the world.


At all times we are connected to Hashem and our imagination regarding our survival must not deviate from finding the Torah we need to act with and the words of personal prayer beseeching Hashem to help us continue to remain a system for reflecting His 13 Attributes of Mercy in the world.


Why do we want to be alive? For our own sake, or to be able to reflect Hashem into this world? Obviously we want both, but understanding that being alive is the opportunity to reflect Him into this world which is the greatest pleasure a person can experience in this world and the next gives us the backdrop for every scenario.   This world is a corridor where we reveal Him and we fix the parts of us that conceal Him. The goal is to develop ourselves in our true identity, a system of bitul and shifless, producing nourishment for the universe as we field our challenges with reflecting Hashem’s presence,hidden and revealed, into the world through free willed choice and the activation of emunah to reorganize lower urges and connect lower imagination to Absolute Truth.


One of the most natural emotions we have from a very young age is feeling hatred. Someone took our toy, hit us, and more. A child does not need any faith in Hashem in order to experience and believe the hate or jealousy or anger. It is quite natural. It is a belief that is natural and it expands and grows and persists quite on its own, inflamed by our lower imagination and inborn natural self-preserving thinking.


When a person experiences a challenge, we must do everything we can to steady our imagination, our bina, so that it does not detach from Absolute Truth, the chochma/ wisdom that our life force is coming from Hashem and is in His Hands and that this challenge is an opportunity to increase the system we are for reflecting His 13 Attributes of Mercy into the world. Bitul and shifless grow when we choose emunah to reorganize our animalistic passions including hatred and desires including lusts to remain connected to the Source of all Vitality, Hashem Who gives us what is good and continue to reflect His Attributes, and not lower urges or the radioactive firey self-defensive emotions the perception of lack generates, into the world.  We can reorganize our thinking. We can expose the falsehood of the animalistic imagination  trapping  glory in a mask of nature.  We can choose to NOT animate the animalistic imagination perceiving lack and devising negatively charged reactions to protect and defend itself.  We can redirect all imagination through emunah, faith, to find the Torah value, the prayer we need, in order to glue imagination only to the truth, that all there is in the world is Hashem Who is Kindness and Love, so that we may add and combine together the energy from our tzelem elokim boosted by the rescued tzelem elokim previously trapped in the mask of nature over us. We can become a greater moon  to emulate Hashem’s Attributes of Mercy into the world.


Baseless hatred was the cause of the destruction of the Temple. Hatred cannot be a tenet of faith because faith, emunah, is the power of the soul to reorganize the glory concealed by the mask of nature, hate, and instead redirect it back towards reflecting Hashem’s 13 Attribute of Mercy, revealing that glory in our speech and deeds. Hatred does not need faith or emunah. It grows all by itself. It does not need emunah. Thus if hatred is a principle of one’s beliefs, it is, by definition, competing against our emunah, our faith.


With our free willed choice, we remove the mask of the image  that we created whose sense of lack triggered our hatred.  We then permit the happiness and the Shechina that had been trapped in the mask of the image WE created which generated the  hatred to be once again expressed in the form of true happiness – to reconnect and strengthen our ability to be fuller moons, reflecting in our speech and deeds revealed good, through mitzvahs, prayer, Torah values and kindness.


May we be able to take all the areas where we have hatred, no  matter how well-justified they may seem in the images that man;s natural being creates, and instead use our soulful power of emunah, faith, to reorganize all the natural elements to remove falsehoods and instead connect all imagination to glue to reflecting only Absolute Truth, Torah principles, and lovingkindness and mercy into the world. through speech and deeds.



Recognizing we live in a spiritual ecosystem, how can we transform our natural responses including fear and anger?

When we stop ourselves from doing the wrong thing and instead act in a kindly way, even if the stopping itself is the kindness and no visible action is made, we create an opening in the world for kindness to come in. With the effort we made to block bringing something cruel in, we made room for the possibility of kindness.


When we act according to our natural urges, no matter how right it may seem to us, inevitably we are causing a destruction of some kind if we are not following Torah principles. We bring a destruction into the world that once here, comes back upon us. We may or may not understand how something sad that happens to us is related back to something we did.


The idea of a spiritual ecosystem and the role of people in it is crucial. People are a tzelem elokim placed in a body to cover it over. The skin that we are in can become translucent to reveal Hashem’s 13 attributes of mercy, or it can become so callous that we walk around in confusion and bitterness, suffering and not understanding that our own conduct can appeal to Hashem, the only One Who can lift us out of the suffering.


It is not hard to understand the basics of the psychology of human nature. It may be complex, ugly at times, but the basic taivas/desires and gaivas/ego/arrogance and how to provoke them are documented. The ability to trick and deceive a person grows with the knowledge of human nature and what the deceiver can get away with because it is below the surface of what is provable in a court of law. This is why proving guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt is the standard for justice. Without being able to prove something beyond a shadow of a doubt, there is always the possibility that what we believe about someone is not true.


It becomes apparent how the imagination of people, unless tied to absolute truth, can cause emotional arguments that appeal to the core emotions of others. Before we become involved in joining forces with any group, we check out its values, its agenda, its core beliefs. Yet even when we do this, there is no way to truly know what is in the hearts and minds of other people. We learn this from seeing how sociopaths are able to gain trust of people and then commit their crimes…those who use the rules of society to appear within and a part of the society but whose hidden agenda is their own often deceive those around them, victimizing them or causing them to join a group that hopes to sway their opinion eventually to the hidden agenda.


It is for all of history that the Jewish people have suffered from being hated, ostracized, killed, expelled, beaten, and more. It seems natural that the Jewish people are here to be hated. Almost a fact of the natural order of things. Every time a terrible crime is committed against us, the sense that the cruel thing done is somehow right or just creates in the spiritual ecosystem of the world an opening for such terrible crimes to come into the world in a more general way. The Jewish people are only the yellow canary for those who wish to bring evil and destruction into the world.


And people are afraid to die, so people go along with those wielding the cruelty.


But that is not the purpose of the cruelty or the hatred of the Jewish People.


The purpose of the cruelty is for each individual to decide if they wish to serve Absolute Truth or not. All it took in Europe for the destruction of lives was for good people to turn their heads. This is the horror of what we are seeing now. It seems so complicated, so overwhelming. That is because we don’t understand the simple within reach goal that every person can in one second accomplish – to tell the One Power that we believe in Him and wish to emulate Him and bring His Kindness into the world.


The world looks like a huge wide horizontal area in time and space. Yet people are vertical. Our souls are rooted in the heavens and we hover over the world in order for our minds and hearts to be tested on where we will lend our life force, our thoughts, our speech and our deeds.


Choose life. Tell the One Power that you wish to reflect His Kindness into the world. Tell the One Power that no matter what thoughts are raging in our heads, no matter how upset, angry, afraid, hurt, judgmental or lacking we may feel, we know He is Good and is All Good and wish to direct our passion upward with faith in prayer to secure our hearts and align our actions and deeds with tolerating insults, overlooking faults, bearing the burden of the confusion of mind that exists because of having eaten from the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil, forgiving everyone, and casting sins into the sea. We choose to be Your Partner, consciously overriding our subconscious and natural urges with Your Help, in order to free Your Light masked in our reactions. Please give us access to that light in the form of being able to reflect Your mercy in the world, for reflecting Your mercy into time and space through speech and deed is the greatest pleasure a person can experience.


To those who terrify us, it stirs up our subconscious and unconscious reactions tremendously. We can grab the mask over Hashem’s light off! Do so!! Tell Hashem we wish to free His Light from the captivity of our fears and angers and pain!! Ask Him to please give it into our hand instead to reflect Him into the world.


And let’s see if we can beseech the One Power to create spiritual order again in answer to the effort involved in uplifting our natural urges through these personal prayers.


Hear  Rabbi Doniel Katz on transformation of consciousness

We have real free will – let’s use it to make an arousal from below that triumphs tzelem elokim over natural urges

People have real free will.


It is completely up to people if we will conduct ourselves based on the awe in how The Creator has made the world.


We have free will to choose to have faith and trust in the role He has given to us to do, which is what we say in the Shema,


The first two commandments are to Know there is Hashem and that there is no other Power. When we say Hashem is One, we combine what strengths Hashem has sent into this world through His Thoughts – our tzelem elokim, with what strengths Hashem has sent into this world through His Utterances – our bodies, our personalities, our circumstances. This combining through speaking Hashem is One creates a wind in the universe that is the unique role of people to nourish the universe. Creating this wind stands as our testimony that we have the faith and trust to use free will consistent with Torah. Doing so is the arousal from below that we wish to generate in Elul


When all our old programming tapes, bad habits, patterns, self-referencing instincts are singing Red Alert in our minds, it is possible to turn our eyes upwards in faithfulness and say Hashem Echad, fulfilling a different purpose and a greater purpose from the circumstances presenting themselves, and that purpose is to be committed to reflecting Hashem’s 13 Attributes of Mercy through our actions and speech.


By opening in personal prayer our relationship with The Creator based on our emunah and bitachon in His Oneness, we give voice and expression to the eternal part of us, the tzelem elokim. Our soul comes to this world covered in a body in order to have the opportunity to receive reward for remembering to use the power of will to direct our passion with the added fuel of what natural reactions we have to rise above and steer the unified strength back to the absolute truth of His Oneness.


We have real free will. Let’s begin making an effort, for the process alone creates the arousal from below.  Women are invited to join a daily workgroup for the 30 days of Elul


See also Rabbi Doniel Katz

Human Life has Value 9 -There is a part of who we are that it is time to meet!

Attaching faith to hatred is a contradiction…. We don’t need faith to grow an emotional connection to hatred. Hatred is understandable on human terms alone. We need faith to reorganize the passion that hatred wants to capture. We need faith to uplift and release from the mask of outward appearances the hidden glory that animates it, expressing our commitment to serving the One Force Who is Kindness and Love. By using faith to separate out the soulful powers of determination and will from hatred, we come to meet our eternal identity, the part of us that is made in the image of the One Force Who is Kindness and Love. It is our choice to have faith in Him. That is the key. Attaching faith to hatred that needs no faith to grow is illogical.



The basic cycle of our day is to secure our needs as people, by earning a living, by having social networks, and by marrying. From the time we are born until we are grown, we learn social skills, we become educated, and we develop our personal habits to stay healthy. What is the measure of our success? Is it a great job, a wonderful spouse, respect and honor from our peers? And what is the driving force behind it?


Uniformly it is accepted that will and determination are key in making efforts that lead to success. Both will and determination speak to the passion of a person, to their creativity, their energy, and their ingenuity. How we apply these talents and traits is our choice.


On a horizontal plane, even when we apply these talents and traits with determination and will, there are no guarantees of success! Two people applying the same traits could have very different outcomes. Ultimately, it becomes clear to a thinking reasoning person that effort is ours but success is given to us. When we notice this important reality, we can begin to discover who we are under the mask of our day to day image, an image that we build from when we are very young and that becomes our persona. Yet it is a mask. Within our outward appearance and intellect, within our egos and personalities, lies a life force that exists in two worlds and is seeking expression in time and space.


Knowing this can change the direction we look when we are faced with a challenging matter.


If we are only our outward appearing beings, and as we can all see from our mortality, our end is to return to dust, then while we are alive, we seek to take as much as we can to make the most of life, whatever values that means to a person. And, if someone gets in the way, our natural self-defense mechanisms become triggered and our will and determination now cling to a negative charge, and our will and determination take on hateful expressions. Why? We believe we are defending who we are and that the other person is a threat and without destroying them we will be sucked into the vortex of darkness and lose what we have accomplished. Thus, determination and will when attaching to hate give us tunnel vision to destroy, to scorch the earth to wipe out whomever threatens our existence. When determination and will attach to hate, there is a sense of purpose that is defensible in our eyes.


Self-defense that is NOT attached to hate means that with determination and will a people protect themselves from enemies sworn to destroy their way of life. Outwardly, these two examples of killing for perceived self-preservation look indistinguishable.


When will and determination are attached to hate, that is very understandable to the logical mind. Since we are two years old we scream when someone takes from us and we try to take it back, hitting them, grabbing, kicking, whatever will work in order to secure the goal. There is no one alive who has not been through the developmental stages – we all understand hatred.  We all understand survival and competition.


So if we can understand hatred, how can we ascribe our goals in hating to something of faith? Faith inherently means trusting in something above us that we strive to understand and strive to emulate.   If we strive in hatred and in being fierce for our survival, where does faith fit in? What is revealed is that hatred masks a glory which people can rescue with faith to reveal instead the glory itself, without the hate, without the violence.


All the determination and will that attaches to hate can instead rescue the passion from the mask called hate and with free willed choices to act for peace and with love, align ourselves with the absolute truth. Instead of looking into the vortex that challenges us to think we have to be fierce, we can look upward to the heavens and the calm waters of kindness and bring our determination and will to serve the One Force, a Being of kindness and love. Because the place of the world is the mind of One Force, a Being of Kindness and Love, our efforts to uplift to something above us expand our ability to reflect that love and kindness into the world as we become a stronger system for bringing love and kindness into the world.


Inwardly, our true being is one of love and kindness. When we look into the vortex of what swirls every day, we don’t see love and kindness. Instead we see power, hatred, killing, dealings, politics and every manner of survival. Yet that does not require any faith at all. It is built on knowledge that is available to the conscious mind.


To find out who we really are, we have to make an effort to release what is held captive in our subconscious mind by the grip of human nature. Powering our subconscious and unconscious mind is a life force that comes from One Force, a Being of Kindness and Love. It is covered over by human nature, in our subconscious and unconscious. For this reason we can become very confused and think that by attaching determination and will to the messages of the subconscious and unconscious, e.g. the natural reactions of hatred when threatened, that we are doing something permitted by the One Force.


The One Force gives us free will and the ability to be confused by covering over our life force with a human nature. This is where faith takes place, faith that by emulating the One Force we can create order and release within us from the mask of the subconscious a part of our true identity that can bring us to serve the One Force and bring His Love and Kindness into the world.


Feeling outrage does not make us right. Feeling victimized does not give us entitlement to do anything that is outside the bounds of what the One Force, a Being of Kindness and Love, tells us is ethical. Our ego is not absolute truth. Our life force can rescue from the subconscious a tremendous passion that adds to our ability to truly bring kindness into the world, a kindness that values every person, is grateful to the One Force for the opportunity to demonstrate our understanding of His Oneness and our connection to it.


We can build relationship with the One Force Who is Kind and Loving every time we use faith to rise above our natural urges. When we look upward instead of into the vortex while considering our survival, we open the relationship that He desires to have with us.


When we understand that determination and will for ethics based on absolute truth of love and kindness takes faith, we can begin to rescue from what masks the One Forces glory in the natural world so that the revealed love and kindness can once again be visible in actions and speech.


Drawing Closer to Hashem – What does it mean and how does it feel?

Rebbetzin Heller in the transcript of a taped class on How to Come Closer to Hashem Drawing Closer to Hashem*gives five ways from the Vilna Gaon, with stories that explain each. The five ways are love Hashem, have awe of Hashem, cleave to Hashem, imitate Hashem, and be careful to not distance oneself from Hashem.


Perhaps it would be helpful to understand experientially what it means to draw closer to Hashem. What is the experience to notice to understand if, indeed, we have drawn closer to Hashem?


On the misbeach, there was a constant fire burning, ready for the giving of sacrifices. When we consistently desire to draw Hashem’s 13 Attributes of Mercy into our actions and speech and when with our free willed choice when hitting stumbling blocks and obstacles that try to draw our passion toward worldly goals we consistently make an effort to create order by redirecting passion upward with emunah on the winds of our prayer and words of Torah so that we can reconnect that passion back to the desire to draw Hashem’s 13 Attributes of Mercy into our actions, we become a system that can become larger and larger in drawing closer to Hashem.


The experience is our passion to

1. Bitul : draw Hashem’s 13 Attributes of Mercy into our speech and deeds; and

2. Shifluss/lowliness: to have emunah and ask Hashem to give us all the strong white-fire will we need to redirect passion to learning Torah, heartfelt tefilla,  when challenges of worldly matters present themselves offering a tempting diversion of our passion to serve ourselves.  On the wings of emunah, we open our mouths in words of prayer in personal request asking Hashem to please help us reconnect our passion back to drawing Hashem’s 13 Attributes down in a greater way because it is our choice to burn off the mask covering His glory in our naturethat is in this moment providing a challenge;

3. Drawing closer: We ask Hashem to please add to what our tzelem elokim can reflect of His Glory into the world, to please add into our hand the glory our choice unmasked that was animating our unrefined character traits,  so that we have a larger more unified system that burns within us. With this passion redeemed from unrectified characteristics, we ask to fold His Glory into our ability to reflect His Glory into the world with greater strength and with less likelihood of being diverted by worldly matters from our heartfelt love and awe of Hashem.


* Rebbetzin Heller refers to the idea of arousal from below in the section on yira. Any women interested in a workgroup for Elul please visit

Hashem is connected to everything all the time. The level of punishment Hashem administers is in direct proportion to the depth of the connection. Hashem is constantly pouring life force into everything. He has, however, very little expectation, in terms of response, of a tree or a blade of grass. There’s no such thing as a good blade of grass or an evil tree. They are what they are existentially. Humans, however, could be either good or evil, according to our choices.  Hashem responds to us according to our choices. All relationship issues between us and Hashem begin with us. What is called, “an awakening from below,” creates a more than parallel response from above. Yirah is difficult to arouse because we rarely see the spiritual results of our choices.

Let’s say Linda spoke badly about you. Now you get a phone call from a prospective employer who’s considering hiring Linda. He’s calling you for a reference. You have a choice. You can take revenge on Linda by speaking badly about her, or even insinuating that there’s something bad you’re not saying. (Revenge, of course, is prohibited by the Torah.) Or you could swallow your words and instead say something positive about Linda, or, if there’s really nothing positive to say, you could say you really don’t know about her skills.

Let’s say you choose the latter option. You chose not to take revenge. No other person is aware of the feat of spiritual heroism you just accomplished, but you’ve just created a space where Hashem could put His chesed (loving-kindness) into the world. And since Hashem’s chesed is infinite, what enters the world as a result of your action is enormous beyond compare. But you’ll probably never perceive the connection between that chesed and your overcoming the urge to take revenge.

Conversely, let’s say you chose to say, “If you hire Linda, you may come to regret it.” Then you’ve just made a space for cruelty to come back and challenge you. But when it does, you probably won’t recognize that it has anything to do with your taking revenge on Linda.


Parshas Re’eh Erev Rosh Chodesh Elul – Mercy and Creating an Arousal from Below

“See I present before you today a blessing and a curse.The blessing: that you hearken to the commandments of Hashem, your Gd, that I command you today. And the curse: if you do not hearken to the commandments of Hashem, your Gd, and you stray from the path that I command you today, to follow gds of others, that you did not know”  Devarim: Re’eh: 11:26:28

Please take a moment to reflect on mercy: Beloved Children Rabbi Feinhandler Parshas Reeh

The goal of Elul is to create an arousal from below.  That arousal is created when we triumph tzelem elokim over our natural urges or at least make a thoughtful plan based on introspection, where we perceive we need Hashem’s help to grow in our ability to do so, and set goals for ourselves for the upcoming year.  Women interested in a 30 day telephone workgroup for cheshbon hanefesh are invited to join in at

Below are images to help describe how to triumph tzelem elokim over natural urges and still be loving and gentle to oneself and experience the joys and comforts we crave in our lives.

Hashem is all powerful and all kind.  He is the source of all life force and the source of all vitality and goodness.  Life force, power, is likened to fire and vitality, chesed, is likened to water.  Fire and water are awe of Hashem and love of Hashem.

primordial light

Hashem creates His Name with an emanation of His Light. His is the only Power there is.  Through His Thoughts, Hashem creates Torah, His Name as a way for us to have a relationship with Him, and the soul of Nishmas Am Yisroel.  The energy of the soul of mankind is powered by Hashem’s Thought.  If He stops thinking of us, we evaporate into nothingness.  The energy and power of Hashem stem from the upper yud of His Name and includes Hashem’s 13 Attributes of Mercy that we cry out during the high holidays. (See tomer devorah links on this page).   The power in the upper yud is referred to as the male waters, the giving force.

water fall

The first commandment is to know there is Hashem Who brought us out of Egypt to be our Gd.  He is the only Giver. The Source for all vitality is Hashem. Water symbolizes chesed, revealed kindness.  The first commandment corresponds to the utterance of Hashem Let there be light.  With Hashem’s utterance, the upper kay of His Name is created, with speech, with the sefira of chesed.  The entire universe comes into existence. Hashem has now created two avenues of extending into the world, through His Thought, which is fire, and through His Utterances, which is water.


The created world is formed through a contraction of Hashem’s light, which is concealed by the letters of the speech He utters giving the perceived world an outward identity masking His Chesed. Thus there is now a coating to His Glory with two parts, taiva covering the chesed, and gaiva covering the power.  Nevertheless, the entire universe is filled only with His Glory.  The purpose of the concealment is in order to create the opportunity for mankind to be able to choose or not to have awe in how Hashem has created us in order to have a relationship with us. Hashem desires to give to a being that contains His Image in order that the being can receive and enjoy that relationship.

Yet the coverings are also filled with Hashem’s Glory and when a person understands this and it is built into our thoughts and expressed in our deeds and speech, the glory that is concealed in the coverings is revealed once again bringing a special nourishment to the world that can only be brought through the free willed choice of a person.



milky way galaxy

Regardless of how we choose, because we have a tzelem elokim, free will, and the creative power of speech that is a Divine gift, our actions and speech are potent and create influence, either positive or negative, within the universe and within the heavens.  What people do matters !  Our speech is creative and our choice of tzelem elokim over natural urges is the way the power appears in the world – the outer appearance can be something that we relate to as pleasure and happiness or heaven forbid, as suffering.  Our intentions and words bring into time and space the “mask” over Hashem’s Glory.  Our free willed choices matter more than we realize.


Hashem’s kindnesses are numerous – water, food, sunlight and more.  We like to fill our plate with His Kindness.  And He Loves us.  Yet there is a kindness and a pleasure that is also available to us that we may never have experienced unless we have the Torah learning to know to seek after it.  That pleasure is the joy of revealing Hashem’s 13 Attributes of Mercy over the natural urges we may encounter.


Each person is made in Hashem’s Image, meaning we have a tzelem elokim that contains characteristics that resemble each way that Hashem is infinitely merciful and kind.  Our tzelem elokim is poured into a body, a vessel, that is uttered into existence.  Literally Hashem breathes a tzelem elokim into an earth-based form, covering the tzelem elokim, in order that we have the opportunity to choose to emulate Him AND to unmask His Glory from the utterances that He speaks which conceal His Glory in the natural world.  All there is in the world is the Glory of Hashem. Hashem’s Glory fills the world.  Hashem desires us, a person with a tzelem elokim covered over by a body and all our natural urges, to receive the power He sends to us and uplift it back to Him along with the glory hidden in the materials we take off nature to unmask and reveal His Glory in nature, including in human nature.  All nature is composed of four basic elements, water, fire, wind and earth – liquid, radioactive, gas and solid. (see above reprinted for convenience:  Nevertheless, the entire universe is filled only with His Glory.  The purpose of the concealment is in order to create the opportunity for mankind to be able to choose or not to have awe in how Hashem has created us in order to have a relationship with us. Hashem desires to give to a being that contains His Image in order that the being can receive and enjoy that relationship.

Yet the coverings are also filled with Hashem’s Glory and when a person understands this and it is built into our thoughts and expressed in our deeds and speech, the glory that is concealed in the coverings is revealed once again bringing a special nourishment to the world that can only be brought through the free willed choice of a person.)


baby kissing baby mirror

And here we are, a tzelem elokim in a body that immediately begins to develop its intellect, its ability to interact with the world, to learn and develop an image for ourselves, confidence, relationships, the ability to love and be loved and more.

woman on canvas

By the time we are adults, we have developed a good picture of who we are, what our talents are, what we like and don’t like, what our challenges are, and more.  We react emotionally when our image that we project for ourselves does not succeed, and we receive an insult, a rebuke, a rejection, a challenge or more.

image broken mirror

We begin to question because our survival instincts from our physical being challenge the tzelem elokim for what happiness is.  We all like to be seen in the manner that we project as who we are.  Yet this is not always how we are treated.  Without Torah, it is possible to make the mistake that our happiness depends on securing the dependency need through the approval of another or the goal that we are determined to reach in worldly terms.  We make our effort, but without Torah, we do not realize that success depends only on Hashem.

man gorilla in mirror

What has happened to our image of ourselves?  Why can’t we take the happiness we desire from the world?  Is there something wrong with us?  without Torah we begin to take the fire of our tzelem elokim and trap it in worldly matters that cause us to move farther away from Hashem’s attributes of mercy and we become bitter.  Bitterness is a sign that we have trapped happiness in something that is not absolute truth, namely the image that we create for ourselves because Hashem gives us free will to do so.

entropy coffee-lrgentropy sign

The more we consider our image and ego  as something solid, the more words we spend explaining ourselves and all the reasons we are hurt and offended.  If happiness becomes trapped in the image and in our belief of the details we need to secure ego benefit, we are using the power of the life force that Hashem gives us to animate something small, diluting and lowering the order of the world in order to bring to a place that is really nothingness life force.

ocean whirlpool with ship by vortex

When our life force is not anchored in Hashem’s 13 middos harachamim, our existence gets drawn into a whirlpool toward the vortex of darkness that can pull us under. Without Torah, this is where we spend our energy, trying to stay out of the vortex, swirling.  With Torah we have an ability make porous the ego so that the life force, our tzelem elokim, can be in contact and connect with Hashem’s 13 attributes of mercy at all times.



Thus when we see the first signs of fire, anger, fear, arrogance, judgment, or condemnations of self or others, we can properly and immediately understand that our tzelem elokim and sense of happiness have become trapped in a false place. And, with Torah, we know what to do, because the only power in the world is Hashem and if we have fire, it is in need of rising and conecting to Hashem once again.  We have to bring the imagination of the ego that is experiencing lack aware of the Torah it needs for its own good to return to happiness being the experience of pleasure in reflecting Hashem.  With that in mind, with love in our hearts and with awe in how Hashem creates us, we can take our next step.



Before a fire in a fireplace is lit, the floo has to be opened and the air in the chimney has to be heated.  In this way, a flow of air up the chimney is begun.  This flow of energy in the spiritual experience we are describing is our emunah.  When we have emunah in Hashem and know that everything is good no matter what, and we choose to adjust our imperfect understanding back to that in order to restore the order of Hashem’s Glory being all there is in the world, we release the firey passion in the anger, fear, judgment, condemnation, arrogance and more so that the passion can ascend through passion for Torah learning and in tefilla asking Hashem to please help us cling to His 13 Attributes of Mercy.  Once we begin redirecting the passion upwards, we have accomplished the first step of the BESHT process  of teshuva of submission.  This is from Hashem.  It is good.  It feels bitter and we cry out to open relationship.

iron to a blast furnace to liquid steel

once we submit the bitterness, with love in our hearts to reconnect happiness to Hashem’s 13 attributes of mercy, we can begin to rectify the elements of human nature from the ego that covered over Hashem’s glory in water, fire, wind and/or earth with the intention of now using the passion to burn off the mask over those elements as they exist in our makeup.  Just as we go to an eye doctor who puts lenses over our eyes to correct our vision, so too can we correct the elements of water, fire, wind and earth in our human nature.  With love in our heart for hashem and awe for how He creates the world, we can realize that He is asking us to release the Shechina from the mask He utters over His Glory as it exists in our specific human nature .  Hashem is willing to suffer with us in this bitterness in order to give us the opportunity to say Hashem is One for which He gives us eternal reward! When we look at the bitterness to find the desire, the taiva, that was our image but not the good that the Source of all vitality uttered as good and to find the anger or fear, the gaiva, that was our image but was too solid and trapped the passion for Torah and prayer in a worldly search for happiness, we are literally redeeming the Shechina from the galus of our human nature.  As we do, we gain access to that life force, that passion and that glory for experiencing the happiness of reflecting a greater amount of hashem’s 13 attributes of mercy into the world. The example of this is when Avraham got up to greet the three travelers knowing that rising above his nature to do a mitzvah would give him a greater experience with Hashem.  Throwing into the firey passion of Torah learning and prayer whatever impurities compose the mask over what conceals Hashem’s revealed good in our nature is our burnt offering and confirms to Hashem our love and awe of Him, our desire to uplift this world, and to draw His 13 Attributes of mercy into time and space in a stronger passionate way.  our identity really becomes our effort to do so rather than the impurities we throw into the caldron to burn off lower levels of existence.


The power of the life force that comes from Hashem to us through our tzelem elokim then flows upwards in His service. When we express it in our actions and speech, we are connecting the life force with the revealed glory of what had been concealed in the elements of our human nature.  doing so nourishes the universe in a way that only people can do.  This is the arousal from below through which we affirm with love and awe of Hashem that we have solid emunah and experience our connection with Him as tzelem elokim as reality over the image of ourselves that is ego based.  We know we have been granted success when we experience calmness, find ourselves no longer headed toward the vortex of the whirlpool.  Instead, we feel excited and experience the sweetness of reflecting Him into our actions and speech.


steel neck between heaven and earthsteel lock

We are the neck that connects heaven and earth.  When we force our passion with emunah back to connecting to the Source of the life force, Hashem, out of love and awe of Him and a desire to serve Him and bring His 13 attributes of mercy to the world, we complete a loop that nourishes the universe and increases our capacity for pleasure, real pleasure, that being the experience of reflecting His attributes into the world as a stronger system for doing so.  Hashem fully knows what comforts and individual desires we long for.  He wants to give them to us.  But it is crucial that we understand our primary functioning and where the good comes from. Otherwise, it truly is NOT good for us to have what we want, for it traps happiness in externalities and keeps us far from our primary role as a system of life force here to experience the pleasure of reflecting Hashem into time and space so that HIS Glory can be seen in this world.


May our efforts and excitement to embark on the journey of uplifting our human nature for the purpose of releasing the Shechina from the galus of our egos, out of love and awe of Hashem, demonstrate our emunah and total trust in Him and how He has designed the world, and may that create the arousal from below that will signal to Hashem that we have done or are committed to doing teshuva and are the generation meritorious for redemption b’ahava, may it be this hour.