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
From The Arizal on Parsha Va’eira Apples from the Orchard
…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 as tz’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 malchut and 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.