The 24th of Teves was the yahrtzeit of the Baal HaTanya, Admor Shneur Zalman of Liadi. Rabbi Moshe Weinberger explains in detail the spiritual content within us that it is up to us to unify so that we may shine a light that reveals Hashem.
He explains using the terminologies of Rochel and Leah, the Imahos.
When we have a difficult emotional challenging experience, we feel it and are so pained. Torah tells us that Leah cried her eyes out because she did not want to be Esau’s wife, and that her beauty became hidden. The world does not see her beauty. She lost her external beauty. Her beauty is the hidden world, the world of penimius.
Yet it is Leah’s beauty, when joined with the outer beauty of Rochel Imeinu forms the complete beauty within a revealed world.
When we have a difficult feeling it is up to us to use tefilla in Hashem’s presence, with awareness of ein od milvado consciousness, to open up the channel in order to empty the channel of the positive spiritual content trapped in the constricted place. We do this with Torah in mind, so it is in the format of male (Torah, chochma) and female (Tefilla). We ask Hashem to please unify the spiritual content with what Hashem sends as revealed compassion to our yetzer tov so that our yetzer tov is strengthened and so that we may stabilize a unified revealed light in our hearts from which to act.
Keep in mind that opening the constricted channel means that we are opening something that feels raw and animalistic. There are National Geographic videos that show lions and a cheetah. It isn’t pretty. The force, the attack, the victory, the eating. When we open the constricted channels we must be prepared for the look and feel of what we are opening. The look and feel is NOT who we are. It is the urges and impulses of the animalistic instincts within the neshama and heart that are given to us for us to empty out and bring to holiness through relationship with Hashem.
In Getting to Know Your Soul, Rabbi Itamar Schwartz explains the root of our forces in terms of earth wind water and fire. When we experience the raw animalistic look and feel in Hashem’s presence and can narrate it to Hashem with the wisdom of understanding the roots are in the natural elements earth wind water and fire, we are also inspiring ourselves towards pushing beyond reason and understanding because we see that what emunah and bitachon are telling us is true – that we are one with Hashem here to do a tikun, a repair, that positively impacts nature, rectifying our characteristics and middos.
When we pray recognizing Hashem as the Creator, and notice and name what is in our constricted thinking asking for all of its spiritual content to merge with our yetzer tov and settle in our heart, we initiate an exchange where the body that has grabbed our holiness to feed its trust in its urges ad instincts can now be re-filled with the holiness we return to Hashem.
We take off the husks, the constrictions, by noticing, naming, telling Hashem with emunah and true bitachon in the process that we want to NOT want what we want. Noticing the threads of earth wind water and fire help the body also submit to the truth by giving it awareness in its own language of emotion that it is a key player in affecting the natural world.
The bitachon is reliance on the absolute truth of the world being compassion, the universal element, Hashem’s innermost truth. It is NOT TOO HARD to notice and name what comes out of the constrictions when we open our mouths in tefilla with focus on ein od milvado. However, it FEELS to hard because the yetzer hara works at all times to lower us in our eyes, to give us the feeling that we are small and inadequate and insignificant.
Emunah and bitachon give us the awareness of Hashem to see the opportunity for what it is – to use real free will to empty the constricted thoughts and feelings, knowing we are in reality tzelem elokim that are not shaken by the imploding of emotions with truth and confession out of love for Hashem so that we may restore whatever parts of our soul are trapped in the constriction to the side of holiness. In this way, we may walk with Hashem and know what He wants of us in the moment – He wants us to be in a constant state of run and return, to not live in our constricted thoughts and feelings but rather to be fluid with running and returning to refine from the husks the hidden compassion that we alone are given to bring to holiness and then to absorb in our hearts and reveal in our speech and deeds.
Listen here to Rebbetzin Tzipora Harris talk about how trust in Hashem helps us with stress. “The final test at the end of days is the test of trusting in a loving Hashem.”