Entering Tu B’shevat in the afterglow of Emunah Day and building a new beginning with it

This article is dedicated leui nishmas my paternal grandmotherRechie bat Willie, my maternal grandmother Sara Rivka bat Chaim , and my mother, Rota Devorah bat Gavriel Leib, whose yahrtzeits are 12th, 13th and 24th of Shevat. May their souls have an aliyah.

Today is Tu B’Shevat, the new year of the trees.  What if we see ourselves as having our roots in shemayim, our soul, and that we are individually here on our mission to produce the fruits of our efforts to serve Hashem?  We are in Shovavim, the period of time where we continue to purify our thoughts so that we we draw into our hearts a new level of chochma rooted deeply in kadosh, tearing off the physical husks, the kelipas, that naturally occur.  Each year, we attempt to identify the areas of our lives we are ready to shake free of unrectified characteristics, to break out of bad middos so that the purity of the character trait can do something kadosh in this world.

 

We are given life with consciousness so that we may choose to delight in Hashem despite the naturally presenting alternatives competing as a source of delight.

 

We are born without knowing Hashem as the Only Being that is actually alive and without a natural feeling of Hashem’s total unconditional love

Torah tells us to look for both – for the truth that we experience life because Hashem is the Only Being who is alive and grants us a timespan in a body and a world that He Alone creates, and for the truth that at all times we are surrounded by a world filled with His Lovingkindness and unconditional devotion to us, even though we do not sense it naturally.

 

When we understand consciousness IS the self and that the conscious self has real free will to comprehend our condition – the temporary but immensely valuable condition called life – and that the experience of life is to develop clarity that He is our Sole King so that we may best serve Him and create eternal life as well as joy in this world, then we are prepared to stop skidding on the black ice of our unconscious (regarding love and value) and instead catch ourselves before we fall into the imagery (kina,  taiva, and kavod) of the designer of evil, the imagery of the yetzer hara, who capitalizes on our skidding on doubts regarding Hashem’s love for us and doubts about real value.

 

On Monday, there was Emunah Day.  Below are some highlights, including some audio clips, to help hear and understand more deeply why and how to find our self, our consciousness, and how to use our free will and choose to come to be purified.

 

Here is the transcript in English of Rabbi Schwartz’s remarks:

Rabbi Schwartz began by wishing us a good morning.  He reminded us we are here in Yerushalayim,we are close, within eyesight of the makon Hamikdosh, the source of everything. The Gemara says that the Makom Hamikdosh is the source of all beauty.  The place where creation began.  The beginning of the experience of the universe.

 

Yerushalayim, the place where Adom was created from, let’s return to this place.  When we speak of Adom Harishon, we are speaking of every human from and onwards.  The Gemara in Sanhedrin explains, where was the guf of the human created?  from the afar of bavel.  What about the rest of the body, incuding us, and the rest of the world.  where was the head created?  Israel, specifically it was created from the place of the misbeach, the altar where the orbonos were brought, the place of atonement for the human being.

 

We should be cognizant of the fact that our heads came from the makom hamikdosh, and it is the nature of the human being to always yearn for the beginning.  we always yearn for the place from which we came. 

 

Every Jew, every Jew that has a feeling that he is Jewish yearns to come to this place, to the Kotel, and it is even nonJews who come to this place, all 70 nations. Why?  because Adom’s head was created here.  we are therefore drawn to this place.

 

HKB took Adom HaRishon, our ancestor, and He put him in the garden of eden, and then adom harishon transgressed.  HKB banished him from gan eden, to serve the land, to work the land, from where he had come.  where was that land?  that was eretz yisrael, the makom hamikdosh.

 

we therefore have a very strong yearning. but even stronger in the depth of our soul, we have yearnng to return to the place we were banished, namely gan eden.

 

and yet even a stronger yearning does a human have. not only to return to gan eden, but the torah tells us that HKB formed a human and breathed into the nostrils of the first human the breath of life, making us a hailel mamikal, our intense yearning is to go back tot he source of life, to be close to Hashem Himself.

 

there are therefore threee levels of our longing to return. the first level is our body longs to return from the place the head was formed, the bais hamikdosh.  moreover our soul yearns to return to gan eden. and our inner depth yearns to return to the source of light, to the almighty.

 

Most people have a longing to connect to the almighty. most people who are familiar with the concept of gan eden yearn to return there, and most learned people have a yearning to return to the bais hamikdosh.

 

so we have been talking about the inner essence of the Jewish people. How actually do we bring ourselves close to Hashem, gan eden and the bais hamikdoh.

 

The human therefore is composed of a body and a soul.  What is the highest point of the body which has within it the essence of the soul?  that is the heaad

 

So the head is the highest point in the body and it is the key to the feeling of our soul.  Our task is to understand how to focus our head on the bais hamikdosh, gan eden and Hashem Yisborach.

 

chazal teach us that the air of eretz yisrael makdes us wise, it activates our heads, our sense of ruchnius, of spirituality.  through this the spirituality our head has the opportunity to focus on the bais hamikdosh and the things that are spiritual.

 

the more a person separates himself from the physical aspects of his life, the more his yearnings for the spiritual increases. contrarily, the more we indulge in the physical, our spiritual yearnings wane.

 

there are two types of yearnings for spirituality that we are capable of activating. one is located int he physical and one is more divorced from the physical.

 

examples of ruchnius based on our physicality are eating matzah and living in the succah.. these are two mitzvahs that spiritual yet involve our body.  on the otherhand there is the type of mitzvah that is totally spiritual without a physical essence to it.  such as lighting shabbos candles erev shabbos and yom tov that is totally spiritual.

 

A person grows in stages.  First he will do a mitzvah, a spiritual act but is rooted in the gashmius, like eating matzah or living in a succa, and as he develops he yearns for mitzvahs that are devoid of a physical essence.

 

these two typse of yearnings,  the spiritual rooted in physical and that whch is purely spiritual, correspond to the bais hamikdosh, a physical entity. the head was created by the earth at the har habayis.  gan eden is totally spiritual.

 

we can now understand why more people have a yearning for the bais hamikdosh than for gan eden.  we live in a physicl world and therefore it is easier to relate to a concept of spirituality rooted in a physcal essence, a place, a bais hamikdosh.  it is more difficult for a person to relate to gan eden.

 

The concepts of moshiach,  resurrection of the dead, olam haba, are concepts that are spiritual, an entity which is a spiritual entity.  who is a o ben olam hava.  someone spiritual who has achieved the yearning, which is devoid of a physical essence. 

 

what is our task?  our task is to take our guf and our nefesh and endeavor to elevate them from their focus on the physcal world.  this is a gradual process and this is something that each person on his own level at his own pace is able to accomplish, one level at a time.

 

on a deeper level, of course we have to try to activate our penimius, our inner essence, to increase its yearnings for that which is spiritual and devoid of a physical connection to yearn for gan eden.  that is our task, to not only try to rise gradually in terms of doing the mitzvahs, which help us elevate our physical connection but also they actvate our inner essence which yearns to associate with the bais hamikdosh.

 

each person needs an opportunity for hisboninus to contemlate, are we strengthenng oruselves or becoming weaker, going in the opposite direct. are we strengthening our yearning for the spiritual or are we allowing that yearning to dissipate.

 

we are near the makom hamikdosh. we have to arouse our penimius, a path, a way of life we continue with, not just temporarily.

 

we are speaking about gradual level but we have not talked about the ultimate.  what is that ultimate.

 

Just as a baby with his or her mother spends all of her time focused on the mother, there might be eating opportunities in between, but hascally the baby is totally dependent on the mother, spends all of his or her time with the mother. so too, we should view our selves, our inner essence, as being dependent upon and focused on the Almighty, and that is the ultimate.

 

the pasuk teaches us that a person gradually leaves the fold of his family his parents, and he sets up his own home.  and we shuld appreciate that as we grow, we are leaving the physicality, which so governs our life, with the hope of establishing a stronger connection with the Almighty.

 

we should appreciate that there are stages in growth.  the baby, and the  the teenager who on the money end is struggling to being indepenent but is depenent on the envirionment he came from.

 

In the same vein, the two forms of relationships with Hashem.  a person wakes up, takes care of his obligations, davens, eats, his daily life is seemingly  then independent of hashem.

 

the other form of relatiionship with the lamight is more penimi.  the inner essence.  he might be 80 years old and he still has to eat his daily food and many activities that root him to this world, but he is muchly connected tot he almighty.

 

This person who has an inner connection with the Almighty gets up and says mode ani, he thinkis of Hashem, talks to Hashem and feels Hashem in his every action.

 

this person who has a developed inner connection with Hashem in all his thoughts, the Torah tells us in parsha tuma, please give unto me a doation, but I shall dwell within you.  when you connect to Me I will dwell with you. then the person will be a makom kadosh.

 

this is the third form of longing for Hashem.  we talked about the succa and eats matza, rooted in physical   we spoke about the woman that lights candles, erev shabbos, and even that person who is muchly connected to Hashem but it is through a physical medium.  the third type of gaguim is the longing of the neshamot of klal yisrael, the souls of the Jewish people, purely longing for a connection with Hashem.

 

May Hashem enable us to peel off the conection to physcality to rid ourselves of improper middos and dayons and reveal the strong connection with which we may conect to Hashem Yisborach.

 

My point in general is that our very lives are created with two true lackings , a lack of value because we are not Hashem Himself and a lack of love because we are not physically aware of His constant unconditional love.  These two lackings are the human condition.  Each of us is born with a soul fused to a body with these lacks in our unconscious and we come skidding into the world  on our survival instincts unconsciously reacting to these real lacks in love and value, but crashing into others thinking they are the cause of our pain …he didn’t respect me, she didn’t love me…playing these lackings out, crashing into everything and everyone  rather than taking a moment to say “thank you Hashem for life” and the opportunity to purify myself and return to the level of Adom and higher!  By choosing  love for You, I am remembering that You create love and even if I don’t have a physical person who loves me or to love, I have the root of love always , YOU.  That immediately restores us to kadosh, peeling away the designer brand images of the yetzer hara otherwise leading us to negative action based on our natural thinking that we have real autonomous independent existence.   When we realize we are now back in the flow of love coming into the world, our value is restored – our best value is to reveal His Value and Lovingkindness.

Here is a two minute clip from Rabbi Cable on the topic of this nothingness we are sent here to reach:

 

Here is a two minute clip from emunah day Rebbetzin Heller describing the importance of each individual’s efforts and the profound impact possible…it is for each person in their life, on each one’s journey,   I find it of interest because it shows what Rav Schwartz and Rav Cable are motivating us towards – in each of our lives – an inner world of choosing

Here is a short clip from Rabbi Nivin regarding the Chinuch that brings out why love of Hashem matters so much and is so central.  I post this because it helps us understand how important gratitude is, how thank you shows love and how growing in love for Hashem over our sense of autonomous independent existence (Rabbi Cable clip) is a sign of our growth in emunah.

And finally here is Rabbi Nivin talking about Rabbi Wolbe and how we come to be purified and grow up our lower soul

Anyone interested in Rabbi Nivin chaburas can reach him through www.newchabura.com

Anyone interested in Rabbi Tzadok Cable chaburas can reach him through www.thebinahtree.com

 

For the complete program, see these links on Torahanytime.com

Donie Katz emunah day https://www.torahanytime.com/#/lectures?v=55888
orit Riter emunah day https://www.torahanytime.com/#/lectures?v=55885
tzadok cable emunah day
yom tov glaser https://www.torahanytime.com/#/lectures?v=55887
itamar schwartz https://www.torahanytime.com/#/lectures?v=55857
aryeh nivin https://www.torahanytime.com/#/lectures?v=55856
tziporah heller https://www.torahanytime.com/#/lectures?v=55891

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