15 minute clip from Rabbi Akiva Tatz’s Mesillas Yesharim shiur – important for all to hear

Please listen to the 15 minute description of our life.  It is important for us to comprehend every word.   It gives us a fresh perspective on how to use free will as Hashem intends for us to use it. (Anyone interested in finding out more about Rabbi Tatz’s Mesillas Yesharim shiur can contact jewishworkshops@jewishworkshops.com)

The second shiur on the playlist is from Rabbi Yaakov Zalman Labinsky who brings out the same topic illustrated in the three weeks period of time

 

Enjoy

Do we realize how patient and loving Hashem is by His Gift of Free Will

Do we realize the patience and kindness of Hashem and this world and the lifetime that He has extended to us?

 

How is it possible for us to think we can exist on our own independently when we see how a baby is born and how people pass away?  Yet that is exactly what Hashem designed by giving us a lifetime where He is hidden – He gives us consciousness and perceptions and an ego that feels independent for a good reason – and that good reason is to give us real free will to remember Him and have a relationship with Him.

 

Yet we forget.

 

We assert ourselves but we forget to put Hashem in the center.

 

Before this world of tikun, of repair, there were 974 generations in which every soul came into the world, felt independent from Hashem, and that thought made them punishable by death instantly. 

 

Not so now. 

 

In this world of tikun, we have that same thought but Hashem tolerates the insult of our sense of independence on our own so that we can bring the holiness animating the depth of that distortion through our heart and mind and return it to proper service of Hashem, devoting every moment to putting Hashem in the center over that natural instinct.  In this way, we rectify the generations before this world, unifying our animalistic and divine souls. With our independence comprehended as attached to Him for His Purposes, our independent free will makes it possible to utilize our existence to reveal Hashem in this world over our natural desires.

 

By Hashem having mercy on us for having a first impression of independent existence, we receive a lifetime in which we may reach for higher consciousness that builds eternal identity.

 

Here is a playlist with two on-topic discussions of this vital understanding.  Below is a 40 minute clip from Rabbi Yaakov Zalman Labinsky’s Growing through series findable at www.becomingdivine.com that explains with clarity from the perspective of the three weeks how suffering (being distant from Hashem), free will (nullifying the ego), and the revelation of light (rectifying the self to be a lens to reveal Hashem) are, indeed, our main mission.

Rabbi Akiva Tatz, in Jewish Workshops, gives a weekly class on Mesilla Yesharim and he also explains this in great detail.  With permission from Jewish Workshops, here is a 15 minute clip from Rabbi Tatz that is so important for every one of us to understand. (Learn more about joining these workshops and similar programs by emailing Jewishworkshops@jewishworkshops.com)

The goal of sharing this important information is to encourage us to investigate our upset feelings when our will is frustrated….all the powerful internal winds that blow through us with passion are coming to be healed, not dramatized.  Healing comes through our crying out to Hashem.  When we understand that crying out to Hashem IS consciousness that it is all His Plan, that we have the will to serve Him and yank the spiritual energy knocking us from side to side from the depths of pain to the heights of Simcha, we properly can use free will, humbly and yet in revealing Hashem, reveal our own true greatness that we are to achieve as our mission.  Ironically, our ego will no longer desire that honor because the Simcha of being connected to Hashem satisfies far better than any fleeting egoistic or animalistic goal.  We are to seek to understand this more and more deeply every year.

 

The passion to yearn for Hashem provides the “electricity” that can transport the holiness from its hidden place in our challenge to revelation and connection and unity.  The passion breaks the bond of “me” into “self” and “light”. 

 

May we be zocheh to rise in our level of consciousness from love for Hashem and may we soon see a new light in the world.

 

Something we CAN do when we feel something is not right

The topic is red hot.  Anger.  Fear. Something is NOT RIGHT!!!!

 

Fill in the blank – surely we all have this experience in our lives, where we feel powerless, we feel vulnerable to losing something, and we feel there is injustice or cruelty or evil. 

 

I am guessing that everyone reading this has something in mind, but in case you don’t yet, stop and try to remember a time when you were in pain saying …something is not right here, this is broken, a terrible injustice.

 

That precious part that is crying out – it feels like us, like the real me, mortal, vulnerable, victimized, unfaired against, oppressed….

 

And it may actually be the truth, that the circumstances stink, that there is a real threat to taking from us something we love or value.

 

But we are saying to ourselves “something is not right.”

 

SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT!!!

 

Keep saying it until you see the problem with saying to ourselves that something is not right.

 

Do you know?

 

Everything that happens is coming from only one return address.  Hashem understands what is going on and everything Hashem does is for our very best. 

 

Yes we may be losing something.  Yes we may be in terrible straits. We may not understand what is good in what we are going through.

It is how quickly we connect our hearts to it with “something is not right” though that is increasing our pain.

 

As soon as our survival is at stake, our natural  “me (animal soul)” rather than “self (eternal soul)” begins investigating the matter and seeking counsel.  And which inclination is the first advisor to our animal soul?  The yetzer hara, the Soton, has dominion over the natural world.  Hashem gives it the power to run things including to be the wisdom we find through our survival instincts from deep in our unconscious and subconscious mind. 

Ever see a two year old throw a tantrum when you tell them no?  Where did the toddler learn to lay down on the floor and kick and scream uncontrollably?  We as parents don’t model it.  And it is “natural”.  We are seeing the effect of being “plugged into” the “good” advice given by the natural part of us.  Just yell and scream and the squeaky wheel will get the oil.

 

I want it, I have good judgment, you are not giving it to me, something is wrong, I feel angry or upset, disrespected or insulted, depressed, hateful, vengeful….I think you get the idea.

Now for the big question.

 

Which one is it?

 

Do we believe that everything Hashem does is for the good or do we believe that something is not right?

 

If we believe that everything Hashem does is for the good, and we are in such terrible pain, and we WANT to believe that everything Hashem does is for the good, then the next step is passionately to arouse in the same heart that is suffering a deep love for Hashem.  Into the atmosphere of love that we create, speak out loud and tell Hashem something is not right, something feels not right, but I know this is from you and I can’t let go of what is drawing my soul to it like a magnet, that I am clinging against my will to something is not right when I know that everything You do is for the good.  I have no vessel to hold that this is good…I get knocked over and drawn instead to something is not right but I don’t want any of the outcomes that come from believing and clinging to something is not right.  Every pathway there is deficient and I feel so stuck.  On the merit of my crying out to You Hashem, please have mercy on my soul and help me instead to cling to everything Hashem does is good, even if I lose what I am afraid I will lose here.  I wish to use the part of my soul that is drawn automatically to something is not right to instead reveal Your 13 attributes of mercy.  Please I wish to return the spiritual strength of what is deficient to proper avodas Hashem because I love You Hashem. 

 

And now comes the hardest part. WE HAVE TO STRIVE FOR TRUTH to get passed our deceiving messages and beliefs, designed to keep us good customers of the yetzer hara. Now comes the confession and regret, taking ownership for the soul’s clinging to deficiency.

 

I see the pattern here.  It goes back very far.  I have never really wanted to see that my soul, which feels so justified, is really clinging to the advice of the yetzer hara.  So many times in my life, I have listened and now I see why the outcomes of listening to this pattern have really never worked out.  I admit it.  I am embarrassed and ashamed that I did not have the strength of character to be truthful with myself before this and see that I, by thinking something is not right, with such conviction, made myself vulnerable to listening to advice from the yetzer hara.  I thought I was doing what was necessary to survive or even to help!  But now I see that my heart attached to the wrong inclination and that came out in my actions, despite my well-meaning intentions.  Please forgive me and please may this teshuva be acceptable to You. Please help me create a better vessel in my heart so that the “good” advice of the yetzer hara can roll right by without my heart falling like a teenager in love with its messages.

 

Please help me to be steady and patient, consistent, and loving of Hashe so that I may enroll the strength of all my soul to do Hashem’s will.  And please may my teshuva be a merit for klal Yisrael that we may all benefit from any added light that may come into the world.  And may we all be able to reveal You more and more in this world.

 

So, when something is not right, it is not OUTSIDE of us that needs the fixing.  What happened outside is given so we can find INSIDE of us what we need to bring into avodas Hashem with love.  Our survival is in Hashem’s hands alone,  He alone gives us love, He alone cares for us, and He alone protects us, despite the way He may send people or circumstances in the process of doing so. 

 

He is the only Being that is actually alive.  We have consciousness through which we sense life.  Let’s use consciousness as He intends us to use it, to passionately love Hashem, to then prayerfully speak to Him – asking that He bring the sparks of holiness hidden in the depths of our “me” nature from the darkness back to His Infinite Light.

 

 The passionate love for Him and the creative power of speech extract the animating holy spark hidden in a husk of otherwise emptiness.  The result is a transformation of spiritual energy that builds us into better vessels to serve Hashem and affects the elements of the world’s capacity to reveal Hashem’s light.

 

Hashem wants us to desire our relationship with Him more than we desire the apparently lacking subject.  Hashem wants us to know there is no other Source for the fulfillment of our desires.  He Creates us to have a relationship with Him. He alone knows what is good for every one of us.

Investigating some thoughts about how hugging our hearts can be intellectually understood

One of the blocks to emunah is our attachment to our goals in time and space as being the outcome of our taking responsibility and steps towards them.  While adult responsibility is obviously required in a world of time and space, there is a spiritual principle that must be held side to side with our efforts.  That spiritual principle is that success is up to Hashem alone.

 

There is a scientific principle too which I am attempting to piece in as well.  The principle is that matter cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be transformed from one form to another.  For example, water can be solid, liquid, or vapor. All can be identified by their atomic components, hydrogen and water.  The difference is the speed at which the electrons are moving. Ice is when the cold slows down the electrons. Liquid water is when the electrons are in a regular range of heat. And vapor/steam I when heat has been added to increase the speed of the electrons.

 

I investigated briefly if the molecule can also be returned to hydrogen and oxygen atoms. Here is what I found.

 

Discovery of an efficient artificial catalyst for the sunlight-driven splitting of water into oxygen and hydrogen is a major goal of renewable clean energy research. So far, Milstein’s team has demonstrated a mechanism for the formation of hydrogen and oxygen from water, without the need for sacrificial chemical agents, through individual steps, using light. For their next study, they plan to combine these stages to create an efficient catalytic system, bringing those in the field of alternative energy an important step closer to realizing this goal.  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090406102555.htm

 

When the molecular bond is broken, the hydrogen becomes a source of clean energy.

 

I really don’t totally understand, but it seems to me a great help in understanding what happens when we take our soul away from bonding with the desires of our eyes and heart and return our soul’s desires to Hashem’s will.

 

Desires and cravings would be in the category of water/will – Water in its purest form is Torah.  We are instructed to make Hashem’s will our will.  We serve Hashem by following Him over our natural drives and desires.   Thus, the “water” in our soul seems to naturally attach to something that is NOT Torah or Hashem’s Will – and that would be the desires of our heart and eyes.

 

Are you following me, where I am going with this?

 

If I naturally bond with the inception of a desire that comes from a place to which my heart and eyes bond immediately and unconsciously or subconsciously, then when I arouse in my heart love for Hashem and create a true environment of connection to Hashem, is that enough to break the molecule and return my soul in a pure way to cling to Hashem?  Yes.  Now the key question – is this a way of seeing how positive influence can be created?

 

The reason this is so important to me is that much of the negative charges we carry when we judge others could actually hold the “cure” to our plight!  That is, if we are willing to do the work of releasing what is bonding our soul to the negative charge and return our soul to bond with Hashem, do we release the spiritual material that creates the “cure?”.

 

I am pondering this deeply.  I wonder if this is how brachas can be given when someone is insulted and does not respond.  I wonder if this is how the “spark of Moshiach” that is in each of us to contribute is released.

 

Just sharing my thoughts for the day.

 

 

Why change our hearts?

This blog is a place where I share the journey that I have been on all my adult life.  If it helps anyone, I am glad.

 

I believe that not everyone needs to do the work that I have had to do, the depths that I have had to go to in order to restore regulation to my life.  Thus, if what I write here is not understandable or if you understand these ideas without needing the sharing of how I got there, it only means that our journeys and missions are different, not that the reader is not doing enough.

 

Each of us is given a different package.  I see the beautiful professional works and businesses of others that reflect many gifts and wholeness in body and soul. Not everyone has to heal on the level that I share.  That said, if you do need that level of healing, perhaps this next piece will be helpful, I hope.

 

The more I cry out from my painful, confused mind for Hashem to help, the more I understand what I am doing and the more comfortable it becomes.  Here is what it feels like when something triggers me and I get disconnected from remembering that Hashem only does good.

 

Imagine a water pipe coming into the house and from there to the kitchen sink. What happens if that water pipe freezes and cracks or leaks?  There is no water in the sink obviously, but the water also ruins the ceiling and can flood and damage the house.  All that potential, instead of reaching its proper destination, ends up not only wasted but damaging the house.

 

That is what it feels like when my clouded thinking begins and quickly fires up to worry or distress.  I have learned to recognize enough of it to see that it is a thin veil, not my actual self.  Even though for decades I listened carefully to the “good” advice that my natural inclination gives at that moment, all it is doing is taking the potential of my soul and diverting its strength into an imagination web  causing me to cry about all the threats I feel to my honor and details of my life.  It can intimidate me into thinking I won’t survive or won’t survive as I had envisioned, blaming others.

 

How important is it for me to worry about this?  How important is it for me to listen and feel pain and stuck trying to figure out what to do when most of it is not in my control yet I feel I must take action?

 

ALL of this thinking has nothing really to do with survival.  Survival is in the hands of Hashem alone.

 

The puzzle piece is, how does it help here on earth if I return all this potential koach to Hashem by remembering that all He does is good and that it is time to bring out from my heart my love for Him?  How can that possibly be the answer?  Isn’t that ignoring personal responsibility?  Am I in denial?  Am I suppressing my feelings and avoiding helping myself?  All lovely messages from the natural “me” master inclination, designed for me to twist, turn and lose sleep, overeat, say or do damaging things and more, so that the koach of my soul goes to the sitras achra rather than to Hashem.

 

The koach that is swirling in the natural “me” master inclination deceptions IS the koach Hashem is waiting for me to send to Him so He can utilize that koach material to send the success…when we unify our soul in service to Him out of love and desire for connection, knowing He is the one who fixes us, then He has mercy on us.

 

We provide the raw material, namely we send the koach that was going towards the ground and below upwards to its Creator Hashem.  With the love in our heart that sweetens the koach, we recognize the truth. And then He brings that positive influence into the world.

 

The truth is that all there is in the world is Hashem. He thinks all of this up JUST to give us the opportunity to call out to Him and “get the credit” for unifying our soul.  Our lifetime has consciousness and free will but our life and all that happens is an utterance of Hashem.  We are to make ourselves a better vessel for receiving a flow of koach that can reach into the world through our speech and deeds.

 

Our consciousness is given to us through our mind/heart combination.  When we hug our hearts with Ahavas Hashem instead of leaking the koach all through our gut and out our mouth with hurtful deeds and speech, we truly serve Him.

 

No need to worry about survival.  Love, being cared for, and protection have only one return address.  Yes, there are ways to join forces to damage others, to build roadways, to develop communities, to govern.  But success is up to Hashem alone.  When we are determined and we are doing it for Hashem, He gives success.  Yet we must stop three times a day to daven because going all in at a moment in time can disconnect us and being disconnected for too long can take us past remembering the truth, that He is the only thing that exists and lives, and then we make the mistake of overreaching and that can be damaging to ourselves or others.

 

Keeping Hashem in the picture, remembering to love Hashem in every moment, and fearing being disconnected for even one second are commandments for a reason – for our protection from getting too far into the grips of the natural “me” master inclination that can leak our koach and make a damaged mess.

 

There is a part of us that we perceive as “me” that is really external to the part of us that is the self.  The self knows the Creator and senses His involvement with every breath.  The other day I was driving and for some reason I stopped several feet before a crosswalk, unlike me, who usually drives into the crosswalk to peer to the left to see if I can turn right.  But for some reason, I stopped that day. In a second, I saw a man who was walking on the edge of the crosswalk.  Had I approached, I would not have hit him but it would have scared him.  When I reflected on what made me stop so out of character for me, I got the experiential insight that Hashem really is Mashgiach, running everything.  That moment is a moment I will never forget.  I seek out that awareness every second of my day now, trading up to it over every lower rationalization or worry or fearful thought, peeling back the wind that would otherwise blow firey imagination through my system and instead crying out to Hashem to send all the koach to restore it to add my name to that place from which He can be experienced by us and from which we can reveal Him in this world.  Daven for Klal Yisrael in that moment, that the entire community of the Jewish people should all be considered redeemable because of this teshuva.

 

May we find our way to reflecting Hashem into our every moment and may He soon be revealed in this world.

 

Our Primary Career

The compelling firey emotions that roar through our blood in an unconscious microsecond reveal a tremendous and high energy source seemingly within us.  This experience is one of nefesh behema, our animal soul, whose source comes from a place even higher than the source of our nefesh elokis, our Divine soul that is breathed into us. (see Rabbi Moshe Weinberger on Parshas Noach http://beyondanydoubts.com/2017/10/22/rabbi-moshe-weinberger-on-parshas-noach-and-on-yichudshabbos/)

 

Imagine that – some energy from on high is involved in our life, in our heart and in our blood, but it is not, in and of itself, who we are because it is external to our Divine eternal soul.  That means, after 120 years, unless we do the work of unifying that energy with the Divine soul, whatever identity we thought was ours simply will no longer be.  We are all going to a place of dust.  What, then, is all that commotion, wind, pain and confusion for?

 

With a spark  and a strong wind across dry land, raging fires destroy land and homes.  When fire is under control, it gives us warmth and light.  What controls fire?  Water.  Water is analogous to the wisdom of the Torah.

 

Our Divine soul receives a spark of wisdom and then our imagination builds upon it.  Are we going to keep the Torah in mind, controlling our imagination or is our imagination going to go on fire?

 

We know our imagination is on fire every time we are ready to bulldoze a situation thinking we know what is best to do and we have to do so whatever it takes, whoever we have to level in order to make “what is right” happen.  The mistake is forgetting that we have a primary career that supersedes each step.

 

Our primary career is to draw that energy through the vessel of mind and back to heart tempered with Torah and Hashem’s attributes of mercy.  Our primary career is to remember Hashem, that He is all that exists and is the only Power.  Our primary career is to submit to that reality and think before every step to make sure we are honoring Hashem and not taking our life force and bringing it into low impure places.

 

We don’t see it that way in the moment.  Instead we feel pretty helpless when our emotions are raging and our judgments choosing a path that we feel is just and right.  All we want is to make it come out properly, so that the matter will no longer feel like a danger or a problem.

 

We can think of a bunch of solutions and approaches.  We can consider the cost of taking each step.  But until we consider prayer, we have neglected the only option that CAN help, not only because Hashem creates success but because when we connect to Hashem, we can get insight beyond our logical thinking. We can expand our choices.  And those expanded choices may feel much more like who we really would be proud to be.  Then you know you are acting from your real self, your divine soul, the part that is at all times connected to Hashem and yearning to express Ahavas Hashem.  We have found the path that will give voice and expression to the part of us that is built to reflect Hashem’s light into this world.

 

So how many times today did you pause and consider Hashem’s Torah and attributes of mercy before you took any action, from a bracha, to a chesed, to a relationship? 

 

We are but a membrane here temporarily.  We can unify our soul and use the physicality we have for 120 years according to our free will.

 

What do you choose?

 

If you like, try to increase the number of times you think about Hashem today.  Then increase it tomorrow, and more the next day , and the next.  When you see that your day is filled with menucha and Simcha and that you no longer wish to act in any way that might disconnect from Hashem, perhaps our hearts will be well on the path of the just.

 

And may we see a new light speedily in the world.

 

Rabbi Moshe Weinberger on Parshas Noach and on Yichud/Shabbos

These two shiurim by Rabbi Moshe Weinberger complement each other, bringing out key information on the purpose of our life and how to grow

More on changing our heart

Perhaps the most frustrating thing is to WANT to change and to find oneself not really making the desired changes.  This is most apparent with habits, like overeating, smoking, biting nails and more.

 

But inside of us, we also want to change our hearts.  We might be prone to fear or anger or to being judgmental.  We want to change our personality, but in the moment, it feels so futile.

 

How many times can we tell ourselves to think this way and to remember this when speaking to that person only to find what when we are talking to the person, we get just as triggered as ever. Like wind blowing fire through our bloodstream, we shake, our imagination on fire, our anger stirring.  And we had just resolved not to do this?  What happened?

 

It feels so frustrating because we intellectually understand something we are not yet able to transmit to our hearts.

 

What helps with our hearts is speaking to our heart from our heart. All the reasons in the world will not change our heart.

 

Our heart believes what it feels and it believes it is necessary for our survival to feel this way, because somehow that will “protect” us or make sure the other person will stop the annoying or threatening action.

 

So our heart is trying to protect us.  It can be very misguided, but it means well!  It cares about the “me”, which could include our family, our community, our business, or anything that we perceive we need to survive.
How are we to help our hearts update its database?  After all, it is recalling occasions a b c and conversations d e and f.  And then there was g h and i.

 

In fact, it is not an intellectual discussion that is necessary.

 

Rather, it is an experiential understanding that what has happened is that part of our soul is running after a time and space solution being suggested by the appointed angel in charge of nature, the Soton, whose boss, Hashem, wishes for us to evince our souls from its grip and reattach to Him.  Hashem wants to know if we are putting ourselves in the center or Him in the center? Are we learning and integrating Torah, are we asking Him for help in overcoming the natural downward pulls, and are we taking every step to emulate Him?

 

The heart often can let go of what it thinks will bring it peace and instead put Hashem in the center when we give it a taste of what it feels like to be in Hashem’s embrace instead, an embrace that IS peace and joy.  Our mouths are our emunah.   When we arouse love for Hashem in our hearts, it fills us like a balloon and we feel somewhat transcendent in the moment.  With that feeling also flowing, we can now attempt to speak out loud to the part of our heart that is in pain.  We can have compassion on it, understanding every detail of why it feels the way it does, and we can invite it to come and find out for itself where real love comes from, Who really cares for us and Who our survival really depends on.  When our hurt heart feels the focused love and warmth on the emotional winds blowing through us, we are hugging it.  The longer we hug it, the more likely our whole heart will begin to hold on tightly and calm down.

 

We have the start of changing our heart.

 

It may take many efforts over a long time, but we CAN collect the disconnected parts of our soul that have taken refuge in the temptations that our eyes and hearts go after naturally and re-unify our soul to serve Hashem.  Our focus at all times is to realize we are a mere membrane here temporarily to do mitzvahs, learn Torah, and reveal Hashem’s 13 attributes of mercy in the acts of kindness that we do.

 

We are here to be selfless so that we can serve Hashem as His Nation, thereby creating eternal identity for ourselves and making it possible for Hashem to be revealed in this world.

 

The effort we expend can be exhausting.  When we try over time and the next time we see the same person, our anger or fear flares, we might feel defeated or that it is hopeless or impossible to change.  That would be once again the lovely automated response of the Soton who would really like to keep us as a customer.  Success is up to Hashem alone.  It makes no difference if we are not yet successful.  We are successful when we make the effort to cling to Hashem and unify our soul.

 

How do we go on?  One moment at a time.  Eventually, our heart will let go of its fears and broken bad habits.  We will have the courage to live believing and trusting that no matter what, our love from Hashem will continue, we will be cared for, and we will be protected only by Hashem. That bond in our heart will grow and expand and be our salvation.

 

Rabbi Rietti suggests walking along and calling 1 800 ALMIGHTY as if on our cell phones.  We can tell Hashem in detail our story.  Out loud.  In detail.  And as we do, we begin to understand it is external (albeit internally felt) to our soul and we can ask Hashem to help us be more like Him, that we do not want the outcome of anything this part of us would naturally lead us to, and to please help us because  WE WANT TO REVEAL HIM IN THIS WORLD.

 

May we all soon begin our primary career, serving Hashem by rectifying our characteristics, as He intends for us to do.  And may we speedily see a new light.

Understanding inner growth and shining more light

When we say an event in our lives helped us grow, what exactly does that mean?

 

There are intuitive ways of understanding it, but, let’s try and see from a place of understanding the spiritual structure of our lives what it means.  The reason is that understanding the structure when we are in the middle of a challenge the next time can help us cling to the wisdom of what we need to do.

 

Lets look at Avraham Aveinu, who had ten tests.  His mission was that he recognized Hashem and rectified what Adom had originally had in mind to do when he chose to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – to come closer to the darkness and remember there is Hashem and serve Him even though darkness surrounds him.  Each test that Avraham went through helped him bring Hashem’s mercy deeper into his heart and into his speech and deeds.

 

From here we can learn that when we are going through a test, it is because Hashem is giving us an opportunity to draw light (kindness, mercy, mitzvahs) into the darkness from a higher world.

How do you feel about saying it this way – that growing means reaching into the natural darkness and moving the boundary of darkness back, conquering inner space for light to enter.

 

Notice that growing would not be the correct term for becoming more adept at moving matter within the darkness itself.  That would be an iteration of a different term, such as personal power.

 

And, in fact, that is the struggle we have when faced with our challenges…shall we seek tools of personal power that sociologically appear to help us achieve our goals in time and space?  Or shall we search for the purpose for which Hashem sent the challenge, so that we may change something of our heart and push darkness away by drawing real light deeper into our speech and deeds?

 

These two do not have to be in conflict, but they often are.  Usually one compromises the other because when utilizing personal power, often Hashem is not in the center of our minds. When Hashem IS in the center of our minds and we use personal power, THAT gives us the best chance for success.

Why?

 

Hashem helps us serve Him when we are trying to do His Will.

 

But lets take this totally inward.

 

Lets remember the foggy glasses that we have, the knot of things we feel we lack that trigger us towards time and space goals.

 

Within our reactions to lack lie the characteristics that Hashem wishes for us to slowly exchange light for darkness.

 

He gives us a world with lack in order to give us opportunity cry out for Hashem, to ask for His Help.

 

Yet often we go around without the understanding of the root characteristic that is being triggered by the lack and instead of crying out for Hashem’s help, we just cry and cry.  We feel lost in the dark.

 

We can, even though the actual characteristic is hidden from our consciousness, still have the seichel to cry out for Hashem’s Help – that He should please help us put Him in the center and reassociate our souls with His 13 attributes of mercy over whatever is blocking us from doing so.  We can start there.

 

Year after year, we can bring light a little deeper into our heart.

And, if we are fortunate, at some point the core, the root of the midda in need of correction, will come into focus.  We can find the central theme that is at the root of every challenge, the core issue Hashem wants us to find and bring light to rather than be trapped in the dark.

 

One of the most important things parents can do for their children is to give them good education and a loving way to calm themselves down.  Little children have no seichel nor do they have the ability to regulate their feelings.  Parents teach, discipline with fairness, and, by being patient and calm, parents give children a way to internally acquire from the parents so that they can develop a healthy way to calm themselves down.

 

So too with Hashem.  We are His children.  He gives us the Torah and He disciplines us. He constantly loves us, is forgiving of us, is patient with us, and is merciful to us.  Hashem only does what is good for us, only what we need in order to learn how to “self-regulate.”    We can walk clinging to Hashem Who loves us and not want to lose that connection for any reason, because it helps us self regulate.  The simchas hachaim that we can have in trusting in Hashem is the greatest pleasure a person can experience in life.

 

In order to embark on this type of journey, to do battle with the natural forces of darkness and conquer inner space with light that shines forth, we need knowledge of the soul and the purpose of our lives.

 

The Ramchal has written in detail about this journey in Mesillas Yesharim.  The Tanya draws on the teachings of the Arizal and others to explain more about the spiritual structure of our lives and how to pray to Hashem for help. Likewise, Rabbi Ittamar Schwartz teaches this – see www.bilvavi.net

 

The importance of speaking prayerfully to Hashem about our faults and mistakes at the same time we exude from our hearts a feeling of  loving Hashem and asking for His help IS the way we do the work of pushing the darkness back and drawing in light.  Success is up to Hashem, but if we make the effort, what energized the darkness will be drawn instead to loving Hashem, and we will have offered to return these sparks to their Owner.  Hashem has mercy on us and accepts and our soul can become unified to serve Him.  All the elements in the world are affected by our efforts in ways described by the Nefesh HaChaim.

 

Practically speaking, we must be willing to see the task at hand.  That means if I feel a lack, it means I have been placed on the battlefield and to describe the pain in detail while feeling love for Hashem.  Our emunah is in our mouths.  This crying out turns the circumstances stimulating our sorrows into vessels that can receive Hashem’s mercy and then shine the unified light, moving the darkness back.

 

May our love for Hashem and our emunah help us self-regulate so that we can open our mouths and ask for His Help.  And may we soon see a new light in the world.