Some people inquire more than others regarding our purpose in life. If this is a topic of interest to you, the following material may be of interest.
The first reading is from the Arizal on Parsha Chaya Sara (written by Chaim Vital and translated by Rabbi Moshe Wisnefsky.) It speaks about the pitcher that Rivka Imeinu had on her shoulder when she drew water from the well for Eliezer’s camels. It brings out the deeper significance of the kindness that she did and its redemptive qualities. My purpose for showing this segment to you is so that we can see the relevance in our daily lives, perhaps even every moment of our lives, when we are choosing between our natural urges and clinging to Hashem’s kindness for inspiration on how to behave. Notice I did not say react. There is a huge pause between react and behave that we all know to be a good idea. What this material is showing us Is how in that huge pause we are really empowered to bring something into the world far beyond the circumstances of our individual lives. Rather we are able to take our meager moments and convert them into far-reaching meaningful expressions of Hashem’s Love in a plea for His Light to be revealed in this world.
The language of the Arizal may be hard to comprehend. So here it is again in the language of the Rabbi of the Warsaw Ghetto, Rabbi Kalonymous Kalman Shapira, whose manuscript on Jewish Spiritual Growth was buried in the ground and found after the war. It has been translated into English by Rabbi Yaacov David Shulman.
Rabbi Doniel Katz gave an introduction to how to actually do this work that again reinforces the basic truth that all there is in the world is Hashem and we are here to serve Him by pulling back what attracts us to act based on ourselves in the center in favor of removing the veils that keep Hashem’s lovingkindness and mercy from being revealed in this world. His introduction can be seen on Facebook reposted here
The link is in the description box below along with links to just the mp3s.
So much of our teachings focus on how to conduct ourselves. What gives us inspiration and strength to do so is to understand deeply that all there is in the world is Hashem and that our lifetime is a mere platform to let Him know that while we are alive with free choice we remember that the greatest pleasure of this world and the next is to be involved with revealing His Lovingkindness. There is no greater pleasure than to be part of revealing Hashem in this world and there is no greater pleasure in the next world than the consequence of having remembered to do so out of love and awe of Hashem while we are in a place where the Truth is hidden. Imagine. Hashem gives us the key to turn on the lights. What does it require? It requires submission of all that we otherwise think we can do regarding our own survival, our own ability to control our destiny, and our own pursuit of happiness.
With every deviant moment of jealousy, lust and craving for honor (fire, water and wind) is a hidden part of Hashem coming to be revealed as love and mercy in this world by our taking through our mind/heart vessel and prayerful speech. Our condition may feel low but what we can do in that moment is creative, expansive, and redemptive.
Let this inspire us to cleave to Hashem in our darkest moments, to discern if what we are experiencing is an element of unrectified anger/fear/fire, desirous/longing/water, egoistic/fast-moving confused judgments/wind, or sad/lazy/earth.
We can speak to Hashem – what am I experiencing? Keep repeating the experience of fire, or wind, or water, or earth. Identify what it is and if it then reveals another experience, like first fire (anger) and then water (longing), repeat that, asking at each step to please use the energy hidden in it only to cling more closely to Hashem’s 13 attributes of mercy. Choose this over and over until the storm subsides and clarity permits us to conduct ourselves without bringing a negative reaction from the triggering presentation into our storylines.
May we each understand deeply the teshuva we can really do that not only brings clarity to our lives but also reveals into the world a light of redemption.