Important understandings about our hearts and souls from Parsha Teruma

Each one of the Jewish people was asked to make a donation to the tabernacle, but the donation was left up to each individual, what would be donated as well as how much.. “From each person whose heart moves him.”

Our donation was an expression of each individual’s feelings about his relationship with Hashem. Thus, donating (which literally means elevating) is a deep spiritual experience.

The Arizal, when discussing the spiritual dimension, makes frequent use of the male/female metaphor. The basic concept of creation is is Hashem Echad Who has created a world that appears to exist outside of Him. This concept sets up a tension – Hashem assumes the role of male and the creation that of female, in order for the ultimate union of Hashem and creation to occur. The world was created for the purpose of this ultimate union as Hashem envisions it.

The Arizal explains how the two hei’s in the name Havaya, yud k vav k, which are each 5, are subdivided by 10 according to the sefiros chochma bina daas chesed gevurah tiferet netzach hod yesod and malchus, making each hei really fifty, the letter nun. From the nun and the final nun, the Arizal explains the feminine role.

The nun has a bent segment at the bottom. The final nun extends below the line. The feminine aspect of creation “is that which draws the Divine energy into the task of rectifying and elevating the created world.” The Arizal explains that this entails a certain danger, since through prolonged contact with aspects of reality that are not conscious of holiness, the perspective of those aspects might rub off onto the feminine aspect and cause confusion regarding the pure intention. The feminine aspect of the upper hei is binah, the intellect is able to withstand the impurity. The feminine aspect of the lower hei is malchus, expression, is bent upwards signifying the need for malchut to refrain from going too far in its task of refining “reality.”

Thus, with our Divinely given intellect, we may analyze and evaluate the insight of chochma, purifying chochma from any subjectivity we may have due to imperfections in our ability to perceive and recognize the truth behind the insight. Bina functions with judgment and severity. Likewise, gevrauh limits the indiscriminate giving of chesed in order to bestow goodness according to merit. Malchut then defines these in the lower and limited and constricted world.

What we are being taught here is that when it comes to expression in this world, we are to recognize how far our physicality may safely proceed in refining reality based on our bina, because going too far in our efforts can derail the original intention of the feminine aspect of creation, which “is that which draws the Divine energy into the task of rectifying and elevating the created world.”

How do we draw the Divine energy into the task?

We do this through ratzon. Will. We do this with will to follow the Torah and emulate Hashem’s Compassion. With our expression, our prayers, constantly facing upwards, and our bina, our intellect, clinging to Torah and chochma, describing to Hashem everything to the last detail that we are perceiving, and with our hearts loving Hashem, we are empowered by Hashem to use our life force, the movement we all feel inside of us, to run to Hashem what seems imperfect, angry and painful and beseech Him to return to us a healed essence of our inner being that we may stabilize in our hearts so that our speech and deeds bring Hashem’s Will into the “reality.” Our role is will. We have no ability to touch one aspect of the creation except through will and prayer. Hashem has an entire spiritual world through which He is Omnipotent. But He gives us real free will. And emunah. And the creative power of speech.

May we begin finding where we blast past the valves from safety to danger in our pure desire to rectify the world. May we realize that our movement to run and return through will and prayer is a far more effective use of our powers. We can catch ourselves when we see our negative patterns. And if we blast past that reflection, and heaven forfend, we suffer a painful consequence, we can still catch ourselves and do teshuva.

And may we all experience the simcha of our inner being as Hashem finds a home in our hearts.

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