In the preliminary prayer service every day, we thank Hashem for the soul within us.
“The soul that You have given me is pure. You created it, You formed it, You breathed it into me….”
According to Rabbi Chaim Vital, the Arizal taught about this prayer that the soul is pure in the world of Atzilut. As it descends to the world of creation, it acquires influences from the coarse shards of the world of tohu that collapsed. And, as it descends into the world of formation, even coarser shards attach to the soul, until the soul, with layers of coarseness, receive another influence of the forces of tohu as the soul is breathed into our bodies in the world of asiya, the world of action.
Should we be distracted by attempting to vitalize the forces of tohu we are intended to uplift, our souls become busy with actions that are conscious of our own survival instincts and self-preservation, for this is the hallmark characteristic of the world of tohu. Yet, despite knowing this, our minds are naturally attracted to this more immediate and compellingly felt distraction as if it is the real self, which it is not. Understanding that the only Being that is alive is Hashem can help us comprehend this, although it takes a great deal of pre-emptive thinking and hisbodidus to feel as true.
Notice, however, the powerful influence of the thoughts we are magnetically drawn to naturally. Just think…were you insulted this week? If so, on a scale of 1 to 10, how strongly did you feel it? How many times did it bother you? Does it still hurt? If so, how much…the same or less? How quickly does the part of you that wishes to take action cling to ways to do so? Is the intensity growing or getting less?
Chances are, the feeling hurts just as much and is just as distracting as the first day it happened.
Instead of thinking about what to do in response, let’s try something else. Erase the circumstances but keep the spiritual energy present, meaning, hold the emotion in the heart but as emotion on its own, as if it has been taken out of context and could be bottled. On a scale of 1 to 10 how potent is it? Now let’s describe it to Hashem – can you see from describing it that it is concern for the self even though totally natural and understandable? This is important in order to comprehend the process of tikkun we are being asked to take to bring the fallen shards of tohu back to Hashem. PEEL. Submit.
Without the context, the spiritual energy can be experienced as being void of the feeling of love for Hashem and void of experiencing His Kingship. Through the free-willed use of prayer, we can ask Hashem to feel His ever-present love and constant kingship even to here, that it is our desire to feel His Love and Kingship in this dark place because we wish to reveal His Love and Kingship and not have our souls serve the context that is so distracting from doing so.
With emunah, we understand that whatever happens next will be something far better than following the dictates of the presenting circumstances. We may not know what we will feel. However, it is our role to unify the spiritual force which we decontextualized from the circumstances and prayed to feel connected back to Hashem. This is how we serve Hashem, by unifying His Name and our soul. Heal, separate.
Once we feel the spiritual energy absorbed by the feeling of Hashem’s love and kingship, the pain of the circumstances will dissolve and a heartfelt action that reveals Hashem’s love and kingship will surface in our minds. REVEAL, sweeten.
Hashem is real. Torah is true. The ability to serve Hashem is only in this temporary lifetime. The reward is eternal bliss. And the feeling of being closer to Hashem in this world is the pleasure for which we are created.