The place of our free will is within our inner world of emotions, emotions that are considered part of our body, the seven lower sefiros of the omer, which at this time we work to improve. Our goal during the time between Passover and Shavuous is to bring more and more of our emotional reactions that have negativity in them from those animalistic instincts that conceal Hashem’s love and kingship to something more divinely inspired and transcendant. The gifts of free will and speech enable us to reveal Hashem’s love and kingship through the very emotions and speech that we choose. We have real free will to do this, and we can change our hearts and our inner worlds simply through our own choice to anticipate how it would feel to experience His Love and Kingship in lieu of the negativity we naturally experience. We need emunah and bitachon from our mind to hold us steady, to stay in the circle of His Love and Kingship. We anticipate the tremendous feeling of HIs Love and Kingship because revealing that love and kingship through our speech and deeds heals and enhances our lives not only in this world, but it tethers us to Hashem for all eternity. Our choices to use free will in this way, while we have free will, is how we can best use this lifetime.
Imagine. From the strength of our negative emotions can blossom instead an anticipation of feeling Hashem’s love and kingship that strips off the concealing negative interpretations, healing our hearts by bringing truth. love and real Kingship into our emotions, speech and deeds. Our thought to do this becomes the transformative tool, and the muscle we need is emunah, and the strength we need is white fire will to exert the emunah.
If negative reactions could fall of our hearts, and we would instead shine our true selves, what would the world look like? Each of us has the potential to bring the spiritual material within us from within its constricted presenting state to an expanded, transcendant state that brings our soul more deeply into the organs of our bodily existence in an important impactful way. The spirit can enter the body more and that is kedusha.
Rabbi Akiva Tatz speaks about this regarding Nishmas…please listen beginning at minute 31:55
KATZ, NAPHTALI BEN ISAAC (Ha-Kohen; 1645–1719), rabbi and kabbalist. Katz was born in Stepan (Volhynia), where his father was rabbi. In his youth he was taken captive by the Tatars but managed to escape. He succeeded his father as av bet din of Stepan and then served as rabbi of Ostrow (1680–89), Posen (1690–1704), and Frankfurt on the Main (1704–11). In the latter year a fire broke out in his house, destroying the whole Jewish quarter of Frankfurt. After he had been maliciously charged with preventing the extinguishing of the fire because he wanted to test his amulets – in the use of which he was expert – he was imprisoned and compelled to resign his post. He went to Prague, staying in the house of David *Oppenheim, where he met Nehemiah *Ḥayon and even gave approbation to his book Oz le-Elohim (also called Meheimnuta de-Kalla; Berlin, 1713). From 1713 to 1715 he lived in Breslau, where together with Ẓevi Hirsch *Ashkenazi he excommunicated Ḥayon after realizing his true character. In 1715, after King Augustus of Poland had rejected his application to be restored to his post as rabbi of Posen, he returned to Ostrow where his son Bezalel was rabbi. While journeying to Ereẓ Israel he was taken ill in Constantinople and died there.
Among his works are Pi Yesharim (Frankfurt, 1702), kabbalistic comments to the word bereshit (“in the beginning”); Birkat ha-Shem (2 pts., ibid., 1704–06), including Semikhat Ḥakhamim, consisting of hadranim (see *Hadran) and Kedushah u-Verakhah, novellae to the tractate Berakhot; and Sha’ar Naftali, poems and piyyutim (Bruenn, 1757). Several works are still in manuscript. Katz was one of the important halakhic authorities of his generation and one of the greatest kabbalists of Poland. His image persisted in the memory of the people, and many legends and wondrous tales about him circulated for many generations. He conducted his rabbinate high-handedly and as a result met much opposition from the leaders of the communities, which was apparently the cause of his frequent wanderings. Despite this he had a sensitive soul which found expression in his poems, piyyutim, and prayers which have been published in various places. His well-known ethical will (1729?) contains profound thoughts and moral instruction and some see in it one of the first sparks of practical *Ḥasidism.
Perles, in: MGWJ, 14 (1865), 92f.; M. Horovitz, Frankfurter Rabbinen, (1969), 98–114; Horodezky, in: Ha-Goren, 1 (1898), 100–2; Kaufmann, in: REJ, 36 (1898), 256–86; 37 (1898), 274–83; idem, in: JJGL, 2 (1899), 123–47; M.M. Biber, Mazkeret li-Gedolei Ostraha (1907), 63–69; Lewin, in: HḤY, 6 (1922), 261–63; M.E. Rapoport-Hartstein, Shalshelet Zahav (1931); Davidson, Oẓar, 4 (1931), 453; Narkis, in: KS, 15 (1938–39), 370–2; Halpern, Pinkas, 206ff., 601; Peli, in: Sinai, 39 (1956), 242–60; A. Yaari, Meḥkerei Sefer (1958), 55ff.