Rabbi Akiva Tatz has started Hilchos Teshuva through JewishWorkshops (firstname.lastname@example.org). In last week’s shiur, Rabbi Tatz gives a detailed explanation of how using our free will to do teshuva from love is worth the inner effort. Rabbi Tatz explains that Hashem brings us to rectification either through our inner effort or through suffering, but He desires us to do it through our effort from a place of love for Hashem. Obviously, a child that does teshuva from an inward place is no longer in need of punishment to affect the child’s conduct.
Let’s integrate a few thoughts.
All there is in the world is Hashem. He is the Only Being that is alive Who gives us the experience of life through placing a spiritual being in a mortal body that He Alone sustains.
Hashem gives us consciousness so that we may have awareness of Him so that we may ask of Him and He may bestow good upon us.
Hashem gives to us many talents and powers, including speech, free will, and emunah. He desires that we use real free will to follow the morality of the Torah and thereby bring His Goodness into the world in a way that reveals His Goodness.
He has given us awareness and these powers so that we may be aware of Him, be grateful for the experience of life so that we may come in contact with the four elements of the earth, water, fire and wind. In so doing, we have the opportunity to use real free will to bow to Him with whatever enlivens our urges and impulses. There is Only Hashem. We will for the Shechina in exile in the urges and impulses stirred by the hashgacha pratis to please be released from what conceals His Good. We ask that our hearts and mind be a channel to bring forward His Good into speech and deeds that fulfill Torah and mitzvahs and His Compassion, that His Concealed Goodness sprout forth visibly. We are capable of making these moral choices despite that it might feel like we are passing over hot fiery coals. The reason we are capable is that it is a moral choice that we will, that we speak out as our choice, and a prayer that we ask Hashem to please release what vitalizes our blocks from the block so that we may indeed bring the concealed good into the world. Hear Rabbi Mendel Kessin describe our blocks in terms of the zuhama, what was injected into Adom when he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Our contact with these four elements comes from our natural body, our animalistic soul that experiences the consciousness inherent in inanimate, vegetable and animal life when we consume these or have thoughts and emotions. Remember, the vitality of all comes from only One Source, the Source of Life, the Creator and No Other. Recognize Hashem by recognizing there is His Power and Consciousness in the vitality. We thank Him for the opportunity of life to have consciousness that recognizes His Power and we ask that because we love Him, that the Shechina in exile in the matter be redeemed.
Anything that has vitality is filled with the universal one Consciousness that we experience although it is on the level of the form it takes. Thus, when we ingest food, the vitality we receive is coming from a place that has no moral choice into our being. We are capable of moral choices, to follow the Torah and to emulate His Compassion.-Often, because we are not aware that our consciousness is in order to become more and more G-d-conscious and grateful for the opportunity to do a G-d-like act and will to go above our animal nature, our talents and life force often turn towards taking and self-consciousness. Innocently, in “I want to do it myself,” we inadvertently make ourselves the power and deny or diminish Hashem chas v’shalom.
When we divert the gifts given to us away from G-d-Consciousness, we often also break something in the world for which we eventually have to do teshuva from a place of love. Why? If we were not focused on the morality of the Torah, then something else comes into the world that breaks us and the spiritual structures.The root causes of our errors in G-d-Consciousness are jealousy, anger, or taiva. Jealousy is the core, the feeling of lacking something. It stems from the awareness that we are NOT the Creator and want to be as great and simply cannot. Thus we attempt to try to fill that gap by taking from the physical world or using our gifts and talents to feel good through the use of power over others. If only we understood properly the good He desires to bestow! We would instantly submit to His Will.When we realize this is all futility, and we choose to do teshuva, we actually are then acting as much as Hashem allows us to act like Hashem. Only Hashem is able to go above nature. But we can sincerely will to go above our natural urges and instincts and ask Hashem to please help us clean off the channel of life force that is our spiritual being in a body because the animal soul is willing to submit its will for the purpose of His Will. We want to make the moral choice! We are not inanimate, vegetation, or animals! Hashem sustains all, whether or not moral choices are made or capable of being made. BUT WE HAVE REAL FREE WILL IN ORDER TO CHOOSE TO BE MORAL. We can will through submission and proper use of our talents that His Good become revealed through our choice to uphold the morality of the Torah, and we get credit in the form of eternal life for this inner effort. Let us undertake a willingness to remove the garments our soul that confuse and block us with painful judgments about ourselves or others. Let us see that the Source of the powerful experience is Hashem. Let us see it as the Shechina in exile in the hashgaha pratis of our lives He gives us so that we are able to recognize Him, ask, and receive the ability to reveal that goodness. We are empowered with speech, emunah, and real free will to ask Hashem for the privilege of bringing the good concealed in the fiery challenge into the world in a revealed form, infused from the inner effort of our awareness of Him, our gratitude for being alive in order to be aware of Him and to love Him.
Our choice to see we are here for this purpose is our choice to attach to Him for all eternity.