Our basic design is made imperfect by Hashem, Who creates us lacking in two areas. From these two areas, our unconscious impulses naturally draw us to our survival instincts, unaware that it is beyond our nature to satisfy.
Nevertheless, our desirous animalistic instincts begin their pursuit. These two areas we pursue for satisfaction from the material world are respect and love. Unfortunately, it is not possible to fulfill these drives from the material world. And that is the design Hashem intends, so that we turn to Him, Who IS able to fulfill both a sense of love and giving love as well as a sense of meaning and value.
How are we created lacking in the area of value?
Although Hashem made us in His Image and breathed a soul into us that has the capacity to become holy, we do NOT have the capacity to become Hashem, obviously. This inherent and huge gap leaves a longing within us. Our soul constantly yearns to be unified with Hashem.
How are we created lacking in the area of love?
When Adom was in Gan Eden, his awareness and experience of Hashem’s total lovingkindness was clear. After being expelled from Gan Eden because of having eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, awareness and experience of Hashem’s total lovingkindness became confounded by concern for our mortal existence and all the concerns of our daily life. We put ourselves in the center and lost clarity about Hashem’s constant lovingkindness because we view it through the lens of our individual existence, which confuses us.
When we are in a negative experience, if we understand ourselves well enough and take a breath before reacting, we may be able to find where we got drawn across the line from connection to Hashem’s lovingkindness to disconnection and pain. The impulse triggering the disconnect may be either a lack of feeling loved, a lack of receiving proper respect or honor, or a mixture thereof. When we are experiencing the impulse, and we consider the words and actions of others who may have brought us to that place, or when we consider the dire circumstances in which we find ourselves, do we also say to ourselves – so and so thinks that is okay to do? That is what passes for adequate in the eyes of …my boss, the hospital, the school, etc. And then we are in the grips of responding in kind, no different from what we often see in a two year old who sees someone take a toy and then tries to do the same. That same jealousy, if we do not spot it for what it is, brings us deeper into the darkness and identifying with the forces of darkness.
What can we do? It happens to all of us. It is our natural makeup. Are we to live in a supernatural way? How can we be expected NOT to react this way?
When we understand that our imperfection is there for us to create an eternal identity, we can develop confidence that our impulse and energy to go into the darkness is nothing more than a compassionate part of our soul that has learned over the years to be practical and powerful according to the forces that appear to work in time and space. When we have confidence that within what we are experiencing as pain is a part of our own soul that wishes to have its sentence commuted from darkness so that it can once again be connected to Hashem as the soul yearns to do, we have the strength to move forward with emunah and gratitude, to unify our soul, to harmonize the apparent opposites and experience the joy that results from doing so. Once we have the experiential understanding of what it feels like to be connected again to the lovingkindness of Hashem and His Will, to be in its flow of chesed, to feel the expansion in our inner world which is housed by our body, our perspective facilitates our ability to move our hearts back into the hands of the designer ready to do Hashem’s will.
Where has the natural lack of love and value affected me, that I feel so negative?
Thank you Hashem for showing me a part of my soul that got trapped within natural logic and coping mechanisms. Please redeem my soul from the grips of it. I do not want my soul confined in this way but rather to serve You. It is my choice. Please help.
The confidence that we need to have is to know with clarity that it is a far greater power and joy to be a franchise of Hashem’s Will rather than a competitive startup!! And never worry about the circumstances that began the impulses – the matter was designed for us to find our trapped soul and, once we make the correction, the One Who designs makes a new design. It is important to comprehend what is our role and what is His. In this way, whatever happens, as long as we are serving Hashem, can bring us inner calm and joy. We are not in control of the outcomes in time and space. We are given these matters to build eternal identity. We do this when we see our lackings and return our trapped soul to serve as it yearns to, for connection to Hashem – the All Loving and only Being with any value -while in time and space.
Confidence comes from experiencing the joy of doing this.
Perhaps a moment of reflection on the powerful wind that affected Europe leaving destruction in its wake might motivate us to comprehend that there is a Being that is all powerful and give us an inkling of how His Power that He lets us wield is best used by us.
For this discussion, the term for spirit ruach is our personal wind, the wind of our soul, of the unique characteristics we struggle with to bring our existence upwards towards our neshama from our nefesh, our animalistic unconscious impulses. Will what blows through our conscious mind become entangled with actions representing the unconscious snares of lacking love or respect, or will the consciousness that Hashem gives us as part of our life force awaken to its hidden but built in love and awe of Hashem, and through free will unify the opposite imageries of the nefesh and the neshama, clinging in connection to the True Power of the world, Melech HaOlamim?
We each have unique personal journeys, challenges and characteristics to overcome as well as gifts to grow, in becoming a lens through which Hashem’s Mercy, which is the basic truth of the universe, can be seen.
When we have emunah in how Hashem’s kindness fills the world and how His Mercy is present within us by giving us life and challenge, we have the wisdom we need to connect with in order to do the work we need to when negativity begins to blow through us – wisdom that keeps us harmonizing the truth that Hashem is all merciful and all powerful with the experience of our perceptions when we are challenged and triggered, losing our balance due to imagery based in jealousy, desires, or craving for honor regarding our standing in the area of love and value.
This wisdom and emunah are what we need in order to distinguish our true self from our unique unconscious that otherwise feels like who we are, the parts of us pained when we feel lacks in being loved or respected.
If our unconscious runs things as is the normal condition unless we become educated regarding the soul and the purpose of life to bring about for ourselves a soul correction and acquire a greater proportionate amount of rectified middos, the actions and speech that our unconscious chooses to reach its goals in pursuit of its desires often leaves a trail behind it – who did we derail? Who did we turn over?
The force of power of our actions is from Hashem, for there is no other power to source it. He permits His power to be wielded and swirled in challenges we inflict upon each other knowing that He can use every step to bring about something good that IS His Will all the while giving us real free will.
When we acquire certainty that the kindness of Hashem is at all times present in our existence, our body and material as well as our soul selves, when we know that He has filled all the world with that mercy, then no matter how we feel in the moment, it is also always true that He is filling us with His Mercy because He fills everything with mercy. That currency is a constant presence from Hashem. That is true whether or not we experience our moments as moments of lovingkindness. We may, in fact, be experiencing a moment of extreme personal distress or even as a moment of loss of life. Nothing trigger our survival instincts more than the tangible compelling perceptions of material reality, threats, illness, poverty and more. These material struggles are not imaginary to our mortal existence. However, when we know at all times that He is mercy and filling everything, it sets an environment for us that gives us the opportunity to become less pained and more connected. In fact, we can turn the pain inside out and connect back to Hashem with an experience of joy when we have emunah and trust that He is Melech Ha’olam. Our effort to choose to do so builds our eternal identity.
Hashem’s Will is the power that blows through the world. When we have our inner world’s ruach aligned with His Will with love and awe for how Hashem gives us this opportunity, we become vessels through which Hashem’s mercy can come into the world. This is very pleasurable, far more pleasurable than the attainment of what we had first considered to be lacking. When we realize it is His Wind/Will/Power that is blowing, we can either stand in opposition with our small candle, thinking we are the light, and end up getting blown out or turned upside down, or we can catch the wave and experience tremendous pleasure of being with Hashem’s Will.
The emunah that we are creations and therefore embody compassion from Hashem is crucial to us to trust in order to call upon that hidden truth in moments where our perceptions are leading us hard and heavy over the threshold of connection to Hashem towards darkness due to lacks in the areas of love or honor or both. We already contain the natural resource of compassion we need because it is part of our created being, although hidden in our hearts. Before we go automatically into the darkness itself, if we can see the threshold floor of love and value that the forces of tuma are giving us images to act in ways that are negative and destructive, away from connection and holiness, we have the insight we need to realize we in truth are not the person reactive to unconscious impulses of the animal soul. Instead we see we are beings that have the ability to recognize that through free will, Hashem gives us the personal choice to be connected to Him and thereby bring His Mercy implanted within our nefesh visibly into the world through our speech and deeds.
Each path is unique in our struggle. Yet the setting in which our unique struggles and journeys take place is one of compassion, one where Hashem’s Will and Power prevails, one that we can choose to align with when we have clarity and confidence that He is Compassionate and as His Creation His Compassion fills us and is therefore findable within us for us to choose to give it voice and expression over the natural presenting impulses.
When we speak about love me, love me not, or respect me, respect me not, the two basic cravings of our natural identity, the ego, that gives us real free will, it is fundamental to remember:
Love is only possible because Hashem creates love. His Love, which is the root of kindness, is the Source of love. There is no other way that we would be able to love or feel love if Hashem did not emanate the sefira of chesed, the characteristic of kindness, whose root is love. Love fills all the world at all times. It is Hashem’s basic trait, compassion.
The only Being that has any value is Hashem because He is the only Being that is actually alive, despite the lifetime that He makes possible for us. We are having an experience of life because Hashem, Who is alive, breathes into a body a breath made in His Image capable while in a body of experiencing the perceptions and existence in time and space we know as our lifespan. Hashem lives for all eternity. After we no longer have a body, how will we experience eternal life? To the degree we choose to be connected during our lifetime to Hashem, that is the degree of love we build for all eternity. Hashem has value. When we recognize that the values we are drawn to because of the imagery of the impure forces designed to give us free will are NOT going to connect us to Hashem’s love and value, that is our true struggle point. We need the emunah, the power of the soul, to help us move our hearts to love Hashem and reveal His Value in our speech and deeds OVER the natural impulses that keep us believing in somehow attaining happiness from acquiring or stopping something in time and space.
Love fills everything. Hashem fills everything with His Compassion. That includes each one of us, even if we don’t experience that love. The feeling of love is not needed to have the emunah that it takes to know it is all love. We are His Creation and therefore by definition, love fills us. Saying thank you to Hashem for the apparent bad as well as the good acknowledges that we have the emunah to understand His Love fills everything and how the forces of corruption give us imagery to drag us from clinging to love and value from Hashem to its imagery of where love and value come from – the wanderings of our hearts and eyes. The more we understand our tendencies towards false beliefs, the easier the path back to connection to true love and value. That effort is the struggle. And for that effort, regardless of the outcome, we build eternal identity.
The movement of our lips crying out to Hashem that we thank Him and know it is good even though we don’t feel it acknowledges that Hashem fills all the world with His Lovingkindness, including us and whatever pain we are in or drawn towards, and that we choose instead to be part of that stream of love. It is, after all, love that we are needing for our survival. Let’s go to the Source of Love! And by so doing, we have also attached our inner world to the only Being with value, pleading that our lifetime be for reflecting His value into the world. That, then, is the best self-esteem a person can attain, to be a reflection of the only Being that has any value. We have brought the love animating the opposing forces back in line with connection and clinging to the Source of love, thereby elevating all the raw material of our nature.
When we experience the inner calm that this effort produces, we understand.
May each of us grow in our emunah and elevate the forces of our nature in so doing.
Perhaps our survival needs could be summed up as defensiveness designed to fulfill our perceived needs for love and a sense of value or purpose. Why are we searching so for these as basic survival needs?
Intrinsic to our existence is the recognition that we are inter-dependent beings. Despite our belief in our ability to be fully independent and self-sufficient caring adults, deep down we understand something very primary. And that which we understand in our soul is that we are not ultimately in control. Our consciousness naturally wants to cling to a dream of fulfillment of complete autonomy, but the more consciousness we attain, the more we see this nagging reality of inter-dependence. Thus we might naturally pursue what we believe will “secure” us, so that it may bring us love and value and restore our natural belief that we can exist autonomously.
Torah teaches us that the love we seek comes from only one location. Love is Hashem’s attribute. All love is rooted in His Love. Ahavas chesed is a sefira that Hashem uses to create the world. There is no other place for love to draw from.
Torah teaches us that the value we seek is an identity of respectability. Hashem is the One Who has value. He infuses Himself into the world, into inanimate, vegetable, animal and human existence. There is nowhere to attain value from other than from the reality that Hashem has infused Himself into the world thereby giving it meaning and purpose. Our value increases as we realize how to serve Hashem and shine real meaning and respectability into the world, helping to reveal His Truth and love in the world.
When we realize that value comes from reflecting Hashem into the world and that His Lovingkindness is His Essence, we can know with certainty that lovingkindness exists within us because we are His Creation. Even when we do not experience such a feeling, this truth comes to our rescue.
That part of us which is made in Hashem’s image by definition has this value, along with everything else that is far more confusing to discern its value (its value is more hidden, but because it is a creation, it too has a root of Ahavas chesed.) Often our automatic negative thinking weighs us down. What is going on?
Somehow, the wisdom of the forces of tuma/impurity/damages are drawing images for us that trigger jealousy, desires, and a craving for respect. The strength of this force is coming from an angel of Hashem designed to challenge us. It wishes to suckle off the holiness of our soul that is made in the image of Hashem. In order to do that, it seeks to pull us over the boundaries of love and value rooted in Hashem’s lovingkindness and infinity to its images of love and value, rooted in subjective egoistic creations that Hashem gives us the free will to pursue instead.
We have real free will. If we are not in tune with the unconscious gap teasing us with the truth that love and value are not really attainable by our own autonomy, how will we counteract those images and properly choose to cling to Hashem and draw upon His Essence, lovingkindness, to help us bring these two opposing appearing images together into a compassionate blend of body and soul?
After listening and reading the source materials below, I am forming an opinion that Moshe teaches us in how he davened to Hashem to rid Egypt of the plague of frogs how to do this. The Torah says Moshe cries out, that he shouts to Hashem to please stop the plague of the frogs. Those who do hisbodidus are familiar with that term, cry out to Hashem. We see our lowliness, how we are not in control of our basic reactions to our perceptions other than to call them out to Hashem and beseech His assistance. And that is what Moshe teaches us. That is enough and Hashem answers. Why?
The shiurim and articles below reveal that there is a way to draw Hashem’s essence into the darkness in our lives thereby transforming ourselves as we let go of the natural jealous, lustful or honor-seeking images inspiring us to pursue love and value according to our faulty survival instincts that believe we are in control. By acknowledging through crying out that He is in control, we then summon love for Hashem, meaning love for His Midda of lovingkindness and all that He gives to us. Thank you for this moment. Thank you for letting me remember how loving You are so that I may in this moment, by loving Hashem, awaken in me Your essence. May I please not only be like You right now, but please help me to be with Your midda of lovingkindness in a greater more expanded way that will reach further, including into the faulty survival instincts that are responding to images thrust before me by the koach of tuma that wants me to go into the darkness of jealousy, lust or pursuit of honor. I do not wish to go. I am being dragged across the threshold boundary of where love and honor come from by Your angel and I am asking to be saved from these biting and painful images, imges which I have relied upon. I wish to give these up, mesiras nefesh, to throw these images into the furnace because I love Hashem. Please help me bring the soul within me that is made in Your Image and Likeness to cling fully to holy pursuits of love and value, emulating Your attributes of mercy and bringing honor to Your Name. Please may my words cause Your Mercy to redeem the part of my soul that is momentarily blinded by the false imagery so that my body submits to the truth regarding real love and value. Please may my teshuva be pleasing to You and may my efforts be a merit for klal Yisrael. And please may we soon see a revealed world where the whole world will know that all there is in the world is Hashem Who is all loving.
This process of bringing light into the world is not a one time effort. This is something we can do our entire lives, as long as we understand it as the reason we are here…to build our eternal identity out of the natural resources of our temporary existence here. It takes emunah. Without faith in what the Torah tells us, how can we do battle with the natural images each moment that compellingly draw our hearts from love and value coming from Hashem to love and value coming from the pursuit of their imagery?
We must not give up and live within the natural imagery. Mankind is much greater than that. We live in a world that is entirely spiritual although it appears physical. Our role is to follow the spiritual truths in order to survive for all eternity in a manner that will be pleasant.
When we cry out that Hashem should save us from what is plaguing us, when we remember to love Hashem because all love and value and care and protection come only from Him, we have an anchor to keep our souls that are made in His Image from being lost to the damaging forces that exist to give us free will.
Thank you Hashem for my lifetime. Thank you Hashem for Torah. Thank you Hashem for being lovingkind. Thank you Hashem for giving us a pathway to You and to peace.
Please listen and read the sources below. Do you find what I find?
Short Torahanytime.com clips on Va’eira regarding the frogs
…Now Rebbe Nachman will teach how all of the elements of this lesson are alluded to in Rabbah bar Bar Chana’s narrative.
And this is the meaning of what Rabbah bar Bar Chana said: “I saw a certain frog.” And the commentator Rabbeinu Shmuel (Rashbam) explained the Aramaic word for frog that Rabbah bar Bar Chana used by translating it into Hebrew astz’fardea. The word tz’fardea is composed of two words: tz’far (similar to tzipor, “bird”) and deah (“knowledge”)–that is, a bird of knowledge.The birds of holiness comprise the knowledge and mochin of holy malchut.
“That was as large as the town called Akra D’Hagrunia.”
The name Akra D’Hagrunia sounds similar to the Hebrew for the phrase “Cry out with the throat” (Isaiah 58:1): k’ra v’garon—that is to say, melody, which is a sound that comes forth from the throat. In other words, Rabbah bar Bar Chana perceived and comprehended the level of the birds of holiness from which melody is drawn.
“And how large is Akra D’Hagrunia? The size of sixty houses.”
This alludes to the idea discussed earlier that the opposite of the birds of holiness are the birds of the husk, from which the melody of the unworthy singer is drawn, which harms a person’s service of Hashem. That is to say, a question is raised: By what means is the level of “crying out with the throat”—the sound of a person’s melody–rectified, so that unworthy melody will not damage him in his service of Hashem?
The answer is: By means of sixty houses—that is to say, by means of sixty tractates. And this connection between sixty houses and the Talmud can be derived from the fact that Rabbeinu Shmuel explains, “The Talmud says this.” The straightforward meaning of Rabbeinu Shmuel’s explanation is that this question and answer—“And how large is Akra D’Hagrunia? The size of sixty houses”—is an interpolation by the Talmud and does not comprise the words of Rabbah bar Bar Chana.
But homiletically, the phrase “the Talmud says this” can be read as stating, “Say [words of] Talmud”–that is, that a person should learn Talmud.
As a result of learning Talmud, which incorporates sixty tractates, a person rectifies the voice of his melody. This is because, as was explained earlier, the Talmud, which is composed of six orders, corresponds to the six rings in the larynx. It therefore rectifies the voice of melody. And then unworthy melody cannot harm this person’s service of God.
“A snake came and swallowed it”—the snake swallowed the frog. And Rabbeinu Shmuel explains: “Rabbah said this.” The straightforward meaning of this explanation is that this sentence was stated by Rabbah bar Bar Chana and is not a comment added by the Talmud.
The words, “A snake came [and] swallowed it” means that as a result of a person’s learning Torah not for its own sake, the snake—which is a term for the Sitra Achra—swallows it—the person’s learning. The Sitra Achra draws its energy from Torah learning that is not for its own sake. That kind of learning cannot rectify the voice of a person’s melody to keep unworthy melody from being able to harm his service of Hashem. And that is alluded to in Rabbeinu Shmuel’s having explained: “Rabbah said this.” This phrase may be homiletically read as “to be called rabbi.” That is to say, as a result of a person learning Torah in order to be called rabbi, the snake will swallow his learning.
And what is the rectification for this? “A raven came.” The tale uses the Aramaic word for “raven.” And since the student might not know that word, Rabbeinu Shmuel explains it by translating it into Hebrew: “oreiv.” And that is to be understood as follows: As a result of learning at night—the word oreiv coming from the language arvit, night, “the raven came and swallowed” the snake—that is, and the raven protects him from the snake (mentioned above).
Learning at night influences a person to learn Torah for its own sake. Then the snake—which is the Sitra Achra—cannot swallow his learning.
And the reason that learning at night protects a person against the snake is stated in the next part of the narrative: “And the raven then went up and sat in a tree.” The Maharsha explains that it—the tree–corresponds to Abraham. And that is because it is written regarding Abraham, “He planted an eshel” (Genesis 21:33), which is a type of tree. And it is known that Abraham is on the level of lovingkindness. Abraham corresponds to the sefirah of chesed, Isaac to gevurah and Jacob to tiferet. Abraham worked his entire life to extend lovingkindness to others. And so this tree alludes to lovingkindness–that is, that the thread of lovingkindness that is drawn onto him—onto a Jew—as a result of his learning at night protects him from the snake (as mentioned above).
Rabbah bar Bar Chana concludes: “Come and see how great is the might of that tree.” That is, Rabbah expresses astonishment that His lovingkindness—the thread of lovingkindness that God pours onto us–for us has grown so strong that even regarding this fact—that a person learns Torah not for its sake–it, God’s lovingkindness, can protect him and influence him to learn Torah for its own sake, as a result of which the snake will not swallow his learning.
Now in the context of his having taught that melody is the structure of malchut, Rebbe Nachman will explain a mishnah in Pirkei Avot.
And this will explain the juxtaposition of the clauses in the following mishnah: “Make yourself a rabbi, and acquire yourself a colleague, and judge every individual favorably” (Pirkei Avot 1:6).
On the simple level, it is not clear why these three items are placed together. But the matter may be explained in accordance with what Rebbe Nachman taught earlier, because, he stated, as a result of a person hearing melody from a worthy singer (as above), he rectifies his structure of malchutand he fully accepts Hashem’s sovereignty. Thus, as was explained earlier, by means of melody David was able to rectify his structure of malchut. And this is alluded to in the words of the mishnah, as follows.
First, “make yourself a rabbi.” That is, that a person should rectify the level of malchut. This is because the title of “rabbi” alludes to rulership and greatness. And that comes about by means of: “acquire yourself a colleague.” The Hebrew word for “acquire” is k’nei, which is spelled the same as the word kaneh, “larynx.” That is to say, this comes about by means of the larynx, from which the voice comes forth—that is, by means of the melody that emerges from the larynx.
The Hebrew word for “colleague,” chaver, has the meaning of binding and clinging. Holy melody is termed a “colleague,” since that causes the two cherubim in the Temple to bond face-to-face, “like a man embracing his wife” (Kings I 7:36), When the nation of Israel does the will of God (Yoma 54b).
The Talmud explains that when the people of Israel do not perform God’s will, the cherubim do not stand face-to-face. Only when the Jewish people do God’s will do the cherubim turn their faces to each other (Bava Batra 99a).
And so the bonding of the cherubim to each other alludes to the clinging of Israel to their Father in heaven. By means of the melody of holiness, the Jews cling to their Father in heaven, and then the cherubim also bond together, face-to-face. And thus melody is called “colleague.”
And via the melody called a “colleague,” we rectify the level of malchut, which is alluded to in the word “rabbi.”
And then, when he—this person–rectifies his level of malchut and he can rule over all that he wants—as was stated earlier, as a result of having rectified the level of malchut, King David was able to rule over Israel–and he can kill one person and give life to another, and as a result the world will be destroyed, because he will treat wicked people strictly and kill them, regarding that it—the mishnah—continues and states: “And judge every individual favorably.” That is to say, a person must judge every individual favorably, for the Holy One, blessed be He, does not desire the destruction of the world, because “not for chaos did He create it—to be inhabited He made it” (Isaiah 45:18). God gains satisfaction from the few good deeds of every Jew, and God has use of every Jew, even if he has been wicked. And in addition, He does not desire the death of the wicked but their repentance.
After having taught that worthy melody is drawn from the birds of holiness, which are the mochin of holy malchut, and that unworthy melody is drawn from the birds of the husk, which are the mochin of malchut of the husk, Rebbe Nachman now explains the source of the melodies of contemporary cantors.
In the month of Shevat that begins next week we see the beginnings of spring, with Tu B’Shvat when the process of sap running through trees begins.
Three days after this 40 day initiative of gratitude (see www.jewishwomenunite.org to sign up) ends, we celebrate Purim, a time when Hashem’s hidden kindnesses are revealed and we experience great joy in knowing He is behind every detail of our lives.
What is it that has to change in order for Hashem’s kindnesses to be revealed in this world and not hidden? Let’s remember how Hashem became concealed, from the story of Adam and Eve eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
The nachash told Eve that Hashem did not want them to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because they would then be like Hashem Himself – Creators – and Hashem did not want that. Hashem never said that, but He did make us with vulnerability (wanting honor and love) to make this mistake in order to give us real free will regarding where we seek honor and love from – Hashem or a false belief (that we can be creators). This suggestion from the nachash, that they COULD be creators just like Hashem if they eat and disobey Hashem’s commandment, put Eve into enemy territory, into the grips of jealousy, wanting to be a Creator like Hashem so much that she desired the food (lust) and rebelled against Hashem (seeking honor) and she ate and gave the fruit to Adom.
When I think about this story and try to learn from it in my inner world, what comes up for me is how much we want to be seen in the very best light. It seems our natural inclination is to project an image of ourselves as flawless and worthy of respect. Of the utmost respect!! And, of course, if we are worthy of respect, then we are definitely worthy of being loved and having our needs met. Now we see what others have, and what we lack, and our imagination takes us into enemy territory and into darkness and danger.
Sometimes I feel jealous when I see situations that are upgrades to mine. Do you?
What saying thank you does in such a moment is it helps us move out of “enemy territory” and back into healthy relationship with Hashem, which restores to the highest degree possible our ability to be with/one with Hashem by asking Him to help us act like Hashem.
How does asking Him to help us act like Him restore the relationship that Hashem designs for us as ideal? It recognizes that we are NOT Hashem but rather His creation here to serve Him in the moment.
Hashem creates our soul in His Image but, in reality, we are not Hashem. Thus, there is that existential shortcoming. He is Hashem and we are not. We have free will to choose to be connected to Hashem by emulating His Kindness or, heaven forbid, disconnected from Hashem through a choice, albeit stemming from a natural survival instinct reacting to an existential threat to our self-image/ego, to use the forces He gives us to “create” for ourselves something we believe will “fix” the matter, even if every step may not be to Hashem’s will as stated in Torah.
Hashem does not wish for the holiness of our life force to be “fed” to the forces of destruction, i.e. things we create that we believe will bring goodness to us even though it is not Hashem’s will as stated in Torah (we wish to be creators). So He Hides – as an act of kindness – until we, with our free will, make a choice to connect again. The faith that saying thank you demonstrates begins that reconnection.
By virtue of the Creation itself, we are NOT, obviously, Hashem! Yet we wield forces that stem directly from Hashem – the sefiros, the middos that form the world, the utterances, that correspond to emunah/faith, taanug/pleasure, ratzon/will, chochma/wisdom, bina/understanding/imagination, chesed/kindness, gevurah/strength, tiferes/harmonizing of opposites, netzach/endurance, hod/humility, yesod/bonding/foundation, and malchus/kingship/humility. These characteristics have a force of doing in this world. The doing is done ONLY by Hashem. Yet we can acquire greater measures of the middos and thereby be given more force to direct. Who is doing it? Hashem. Who, through prayer and relationship with Hashem initiates the presence of the force here in time and space? Man.
When we acknowledge this, we stop misinterpreting our lives. If we have been insulted and we are feeling disrespected, that moment of forgetting that we are not Hashem and that He is behind it places us in enemy territory – anger, pain, sadness, limitation, frustration. And in that place, the forces that ARE our life force given to us to form an eternal identity instead become nourishment for the forces of destruction, the army of the yetzer hara. “Thank you” reminds us that all that is happening is that Hashem is placing some forces that naturally exist in our inner world and are awaiting rectification/re-connection to Him in our “inbox” for us to re-direct in a manner that will then give us the capacity to act in a manner that will reveal those forces in a way that shows that He is Hashem, lovingkind, compassionate. We do this with the simple understanding that He is One despite how we feel. When we choose to love Hashem and say thank you, I see my natural thinking and I do not wish to be in this limited, constricted space but rather in connection with You, that reality, the essence of truth, helps us unify the opposing force within us to that truth. Hashem is One. We pull off the mask that our natural inclinations and perceptions present as truth, that we have been disrespected and therefore unloved and must do something to survive. Survival depends on Hashem alone, for He alone is thinking up absolutely every moment and object and circumstance. So let go of thinking WE control the outcomes!! No need to worry. Hashem is NOT LIMITED.
The simple truth is that Hashem designs us knowing that this place of desiring to be a creator within us is imperceptible to us unless we seek to bring it out of love for Hashem to our conscious mind through self-investigation and prayerful request. When we recognize Hashem is Hashem and we are not – in this way, something within us improves and we think of something compassionate to do so that we channel creative force as He Designs us to do. That compassion we channel is Hashem’s midda that we are revealing, and from there, that force can operate in the world. It is Hashem’ force that we reflect into the world by choosing to remove the veil of our natural thinking that we could be creators like Hashem.
This is how Hashem can come to be seen in this world. When each of us makes this choice, as often as possible, in our inner world, His Compassionate force flows into the world. Thank you for all the good, and thank you for the opportunities to bring opposites together when things appear not good.
May our tests become easier as we reveal Hashem’s kindness more and more. And may we soon see a revealed world.
“Thank you” resets with emunah where our free will otherwise surfaces when ego is challenged.
When feeling disrespected or unloved, free will often slips past that initial trigger point. Often our free will seems instead to make choices after the resulting survival instincts set in, usually seeking outward “fixes” (blame and shame) that feel justified based on the understandings from our external albeit inward appearing world of “me”.
Better to say thank you and notice our essence/compassion/daas is trying to direct compassion to “feed” the me. Do you agree, do you see how the mortal “me” is not the eternal part of us, the part of us that lives in this world and the next? The “me” is external but felt internally because of the design of our lifeforce, a neshama and a body.
If you see this, the understanding can help shift free will point to the trigger of respect or yearning for love itself, before survival instincts kick in. Remember, love, care and protection come ONLY from Hashem, so our survival instincts that overlook that are based on a faulty understanding that WE protect ourselves.
We can ask Hashem that in the very spot of darkness, in the noticing of the issue of respect or yearning for love that feels like a threat, that we request to reveal His light from the apparent darkness itself – believing His light (love, care and protection) is there and only concealed due to our “me”. That vessel can become a light channel.
Say “Thank you! I wish to be material that reveals You in this world (and thereby use my free will and lifetime to create my eternal identity as one with YOU for the next world). “
When we love Hashem in this heartfelt way, He increases the midda of compassion in us giving us clarity and calmness, and its “doing” force in our subsequent actions that reflect His Mercy has our name on it.
Rabbi Nivin, reachable through www.newchabura.com, teaches us to understand the fundamentals of the male and female egos. Although it might sound politically incorrect, it is imperative to understand how Hashem has constructed us so that we may develop an eternal identity of joy from this temporary existence.
For women, the ego is based on love me love me not. For men, the ego is based on deferentially respect me or not. These impulses are so deep within our natural life force that the messages slip past our conscious mind and we pick up the matter somewhere into the survival messages that follow.
It is important to understand that when we are in a negative place, it is because we got confronted with something that differs from our view of ourselves and how we wish to be seen. If we see this as a matter to deal with in terms of spirituality, our approach will be far different from our otherwise natural approach.
The spiritual challenge is to realize that our essence, the part of us that is connected to Hashem, is at risk of enlivening thoughts and emotions that are damaging and hurtful, either to ourselves or others, and that it is a CHOICE, albeit we do not see the place where we have free will yet.
When we understand that there is no essence in the world other than Hashem, then it is easier to begin our investigation regarding what misguided belief is being kept “alive” by our very soul, despite the feeling that we are “victims” of some circumstance.
Self-knowledge is needed to get us out of the world of shame and blame.
Once we realize that our image of ourselves has been challenged, we may not yet see how it is love me love me not or respect me respect me not, so let’s take a look at our imagination trail. Would we associate what we experiencing in the category of Kayin and Hevel in jealousy and murderous rage? The generation of the flood, lust gone unbounded? Or the generation that rebelled against Hashem with the the tower? Or a little of both?
Talk out each segment until we see that our thinking is not true. Then see, is it love me love me not? Or respect me respect me not? Once that is revealed, then we have clarity that we are dealing with the human ego that is giving access to our essence to thinking from our natural existence that is damaging. Do we want to have this thinking created as our identity for all eternity? I would think NOT.
Thus our task is to confess this to Hashem. I have this line of thinking, filled with jealous, lustful, or craving honor images but I do not want this thinking now or for all eternity. Please help me excavate my essence from the natural attraction to this line of thinking and instead may the essence You give me, the life force You bestow, reveal compassion, Your Essence.
Without the wisdom of the Torah, how would we otherwise know that taking the time to do this actually brings into the world a doing force of compassion? It is not US that does it, although it comes through us. It is our choice to hold back the hurtful thinking generated by our egos that makes all the difference. Hashem creates the darkness within us but WE decide if we choose for Him to reveal His compassion or continue to conceal it. At least in our own inner worlds. And beyond in a way that we may not fully comprehend but trust is true.
Thus if each of us, in our own inner worlds, makes choices that reflect Hashem’s compassion into the world, a doing force is present that chooses otherwise to hide in order to give us real free will to have a relationship with Him forever.
Let our investigations begin. May we have the emunah to face what we find inside without damaging judgments of ourselves or others, but rather to help us yearn and plead with Hashem to help us excavate our essence from what grips us.
We have been discussing how self-understanding is necessary to leave behind the world of blame and shame. Anyone who grew up being blamed or shamed understands the pain of thinking about who we really are.
Maybe we think that the parents, teachers, kids, or whomever blamed or shamed us really did know better. So then what? We still have a survival instinct to defend ourselves, to somehow continue to see that we trust in ourselves – even though we might be wrong in the eyes of others, surely we cannot trust their view alone!
What if by speaking out all of these conflicting and painfully hurtful messages about ourselves to Hashem we could re-integrate our soul and our belief in ourselves as Hashem intends – that we see ourselves as souls beloved by Him, connected to Him, made in His Image, in order that we can reflect His compassion into the world?
Even if we have no connection to Hashem, even if we have been hurt so much that we trust only our view no matter how limited or flawed, is there a part of our heart that reacts? A negative reaction is also a reaction! That reaction to the possibility that we are made in Hashem’s image and beloved to Him surely evokes some response. Listen a moment to that response, even if it is a stone cold pause. That is still a response.
Now talk it out. Keep talking, listen to all the thoughts that come out, all along realizing that what we are hearing come from our mouth is pent up, suppressed impressions from a time when we were dependent, in our formative years. Keep saying it out loud until it no longer sounds true, but rather until we can see there are flaws, childish interpretations, and even falsehoods there.
So now we have a choice. We can trust in the perceptions that have formed our material self, or we can consider that perhaps we really are souls beloved by Hashem Who has given us free will in order to draw His Love into this darkness in our hearts.
Which is more likely? Is it more likely that my understanding is correct and that I have control over what happens next? Or is it more likely that Hashem is in control and His Will and Torah are true and Torah understanding is needed to bring into our hearts and lives some truth?
Even the question reveals the problem – is there One, Hashem? Or are there two, Hashem and me?
Surely we exist. But what is our existence? We understand that the length of time for our existence is not up to us. We understand that what happens to us during the time we exist is not entirely up to us. So what exactly IS our existence, if not the use of our free will to recognize that we can reflect Hashem into the world and choose to do so?
He Who gives us free will gives us real free will, and therefore we are permitted to believe or not in Hashem. Hashem leads us in the path we wish to go.
So let’s examine the options. I can believe that I exist, that I have some power over my destiny but not complete power, that I am mortal, and that if I have a good attitude and thank Hashem for the good, overall I will be happy in life. OR, I can believe that Hashem is alive and that He gives me an experience of life through perceptions in a body, that when I have a painful experience and trust in Hashem, I am able to use Torah based imagery that speaks to the impulses I naturally feel and thereby I can choose my eternal identity based who I choose to be, by remembering Hashem in every moment, with love and awe to reflect His Compassion into the world.
The muscle needed is faith, emunah, and trust, bitachon, in the truth that He is One.
What if everything material is created so that it can reflect Hashem into the world? What if we, by our choices to see our material bodies in this way, would feel light and love filling us with so much inner joy that we understand and appreciate even our challenges and what we can bring together in those moments?
Those of us who were nurtured with blame and shame know how important it is to make sure that we are sensitive to the feelings of others because if we are not, we are likely to get it over the head. If we forget to take something into consideration, we were taught something about ourselves that was surely not in line with being made in Hashem’s image.
And that hurts.
What if we are able to take that painful channel and from the pain itself shine love and light? How can we draw joy into such a channel?
Do you remember that if you multiply a negative number by a negative number you get a positive number? So too, if we have a painful feeling, and we recognize and admit it to Hashem and ask for help, telling Him that we see why we feel this painful feeling, be it a consequence of jealousy, desire or craving for honor, that painful admission acknowledges our faith and trust in Hashem and in the soul He places in our body and that makes a pinhole opening into which light and healing can flow, if we are sincere.
It is the pain of submitting our image of ourselves, our desires, and our longings that heals the pain of what false beliefs torment us. It is the images of a mitzvah or a refinement to a character trait that now can reach into and merge our koach to reflect Hashem into the world through our hearts, in speech and deeds.
May we each begin to realize that we are not here alone, nor on our own, nor in control. May we each choose to see our material existence as Hashem’s creation and our lifetime as an opportunity to take all these resource and create for our conscious self for all eternity something that resembles Hashem’s lovingkindness.
Know that after we do teshuva for all our errors, every moment of effort is what we will have forever. It is the best retirement plan out there.
Want to try out these “muscles” using food taivas?