After listening to the above shiur by Rabbi Sitorsky on Parshas Matos Maateh, someone forwarded the link to inner.org, which details many of the same ideas regarding the month of Av, Rosh Chodesh, and of course, Tisha B’av.
Perhaps the most moving message is Hashem’s total love for us that is never broken, the love of a Father for a child, Av. While the relationship that Hashem wants for us is the chochma/binah, husband/wife, male/female relationship, He wants this because Hashem wants us to enjoy the relationship with Him for all eternity. Since the destruction of the Temple, that relationship of husband and wife is in separation, galus.
What we hear from these shiurim is that our first step is to really realize that we do not want the galus. What do we want?
We want to sincerely feel Hashem in our hearts so that we speak and act from love of Hashem with awe in the design. But what if we don’t sincerely feel that?
We are still able to make the effort to feel love for Hashem and have awe in the design, even if only intellectually. We can tell Hashem with words that we love Him and have awe in the design and that we want is to feel His love and mercy so that it is natural to us, in our hearts, over what we are feeling naturally, so that we may repair the relationship by revealing His love and mercy into the world.
What blocks us is our unique personas and our survival instincts. We have a kelipa over our divinely given soul, and it is built into our nervous system and intelligence.
What we can acquire is a trust that
- the creative power of speech and
- the built in cause and effect attributes of prayer that are completely within our free will to use
are all He is asking of us, to reach upwards beseeching Hashem to restore the relationship, to help us feel His love and mercy so that we may reveal it over our otherwise naturally felt survival instincts and persona. We want to make kiddush Hashem instead of kiddush “me.”
Today when I volunteered at the hospital the daughter of one of the patients who is in his nineties and very ill told me that her father was anti-religious and that only a short while ago rode a horse. When I expressed surprise, I was told that really he had hoped the horse would throw him off to his death. Yet he wanted to be remembered by his family as someone who at that senior age rode a horse.
For myself, I want to be remembered as someone who tries so hard to rely on Hashem and rise above the arrogance and self-consciousness and fears that otherwise drive my heart.
We can make the effort to cry out to Hashem and tell Him that we love Him and understand the design – of being a holy soul made in His Image encased in a kelipa made from the zuhama, a husk over that soul and then having that soul inside a kelipa placed in a covering called a body so that we have real free will. We have the ability to feel love for Hashem by evoking a moment of gratitude as well as for awareness of the beauty of the world. Yet how do we know if our effort – asking to feel Hashem’s love and mercy so that we may reveal His Love and Mercy – is being answered with a “yes”?
How do we know if Hashem is granting us our wish to circumcise our heart so that the kelipa opens enough to inter-include the zuhama’s hidden positive spiritual potential with the love and awe that we make the effort to cry out with, joining in with and strengthening the yearning that is our connection to Hashem?
Just as a placenta breaks, so too when that “membrane” on our hearts opens, we may find ourselves in a realm of emotions and memories and confusion, swimming in what feels like a yerida into the dark and wondering what is going on. Holding steady, remembering to love Hashem and understand the design, to cry out all the details of what is being experienced, may also bring up the imprints in our subconscious that have been dictating our survival tactics for so many years. Holding steady means that we are inserting chochma, the wisdom of the Torah, the “male” attribute, into the mix of our will and our intellect.
If we remember that we want to be remembered and seen by Hashem as someone who tries to rely on Hashem and rise above all this and we submit our emotional content to Him, beseeching Him that we instead be able to sincerely feel His love and mercy instead so that our survival instincts naturally realize that we are reliant on His Will alone, that is an effort that takes us further towards the desired goal.
Perhaps calmness will be restored. Perhaps more inner strength will be felt. Perhaps less insecurity will surface when interacting with others. Perhaps we will be more sincere when we walk through our day clinging to Hashem in the moment to see what it is that we might do to feel His love and mercy so that we may reveal it.
Making any effort to put Hashem in the center of our lives and cling to Him because we no longer want galus but instead sincerely want geula is recommended at all times, but especially for the next nine days.
May this Av be the menachum Av of geula.