In Elul, I set one goal for 5779. That goal is to regulate my emotions so that my speech and deeds reveal a heart that loves Hashem with all my heart, all my soul and all my might.
I chose this goal because I recognize that my natural thinking takes me to places that are scary and stormy automatically. I recognized that this must be Hashem’s Power trapped because there is No Other Power.
I also recognized that I simply did not wish to experience Hashem’s Power as scary or stormy, that it is my will to experience Hashem as He is in Truth, loving and compassionate.
It therefore became clear to me that something is diverting His Light to an idea that gives the world or other people a seeming power. The natural survival instincts then become triggered and the animalistic instincts and urges take over to defend against the perceived threat. In a split unconscious second, we find ourselves in judgment and scanning to place blame or shame. My year has been to back up to the place I blew past – what I now recognize as the place where I am being given an opportunity to make a soul correction, to release from my inner bias and nature a spark of kedusha hidden there.
Keeping in mind the teachings of Rabbi Asher Freund, it is important to realize that Hashem is doing everything. Absolutely everything. That includes how the kedusha got trapped in our bias as well as the circumstances that bring out the impact of its being concealed in our bias.
We are not in control of the circumstances, despite the animalistic desire to be in control. We are in control in the effort we make to recognize our Creator and to describe, confess, and ask for His Love to be felt so that we may reveal His Love instead of what we are experiencing, We are a creation We will to be a channel across which the kedusha trapped in our bias may flow into this world.
Who we are is our effort to be this channel. To be a channel means that we submit all of our natural thinking along with the mechanisms of the natural thinking in order to prepare the mind and heart to serve as the channel. This means literally that everything we believe and think is purged, emptied into the true reality that Hashem is the One and Only Who Loves us.
What gets in our way is our desires for love and for honor. These are the kelipas of taiva and gaiva in which we naturally exist. No need to berate ourselves for being there! Recognition of what we are up against helps us in the moment. We recognize where we are – wanting love and respect – and immediately telling Hashem that we will to go above those natural wants because HE IS THE SOURCE OF LOVE AND GIVES US THE CAPACITY TO LOVE AND IT IS ONLY BECAUSE OF HIS INVESTMENT IN US OF A SOUL THAT WE HAVE A CONNECTION TO HIS HONOR, THE ONLY HONOR THERE IS. Hashem is the only being that is alive the only being with value. He generously gives us the experience of life so that we may comprehend Who He is. Thus do we thank Hashem every moment, for the glory of experiencing life, love, honor – even in the feeling of lack – because we comprehend these terms. Understanding His Love and His Honor and what it means to be a channel across which love and honor can be seen in this world helps us field every moment for His Sake.
In every moment, we have our bias. When we comprehend the opportunity to submit, in order to be the channel, sparks of Hashem’s Infinite surrounding light that are concealed flow into the world in a way that we do not comprehend fully, We soon enough find ourselves living again in our bias, our body, our animalistic urges and impulses, but we recognize these as a garment that is removable from the Force vitalizing them.
And this is the key message, The Force and the urges and impulses do NOT have to flow together, The Force – the kedusha vitalizing our experience – through real free will may be directed into this world in a way that reveals Hashem’s love and mercy. When we submit and make this effortful choice, it often feels like we are being dragged over fiery coals, for our urges and impulses and survival instincts are strongly clinging to these hidden sparks of kedusha and do not wish to let go! Our choice is crucial though. Shall the Shechina in exile within us sustain the darkness that feels to us like our natural urges and impulses and instincts? Or, are we willing to ask Hashem to answer our will to go above our natural urges impulses and instincts so that we may be a channel to bring the Shechina in exile into this world as its pure essence, which is light? The effort to use real free will and to use speech to ask means that we recognize Hashem as our Creator and that there is No Other Power and that we desire for our body to associate with His Love and Mercy and to not be attached to bias, deception or anything that blocks, denies, or diminishes His Love which is at all times the entire true reality.
Eventually, the subtle biases that we have – to be loved, to feel valuable, to be powerful – begin to lose their foothold over us. As we attach more and more to Torah, mitzvahs and acts of kindness, we detach from urges, impulses, instincts, taivas and gaivas. We literally have the potential to provide a channel through our unified mind and heart. We have the potential to be a channel for the Shechina in exile to flow from the vitality of the taivas and gaivas to integrate with Hashem’s Love.
We do this through recognizing His constant love and returning love to Him. Knowing Hashem is all loving provides an environment of safety. Awakening a reciprocal love for Hashem validates that we are, indeed, filled with a soul from Him and that by being connected to Him – and not independent beings – we have value because He has value and we are an emanation.
Scientifically, bodies need to feel safe and loved in order to calm down the animalistic urges and reactivity we naturally experience. Our human intellect, our binah, is matured when we attach it to chochma, the awareness of Hashem, of His Love, of His Torah, of His Oneness. The spiritual flow of love that comes through us quiets the fires of our imagination and intellect and cools off the winds blowing our emotions. In that moment, we have the real free will to submit whatever constricted thinking is keeping awareness of Hashem from being pervasive in our lives.
As we enter into Pesach, may we comprehend the beauty of life and the real opportunity we have to bring the Shechina – the female expression of Hashem’s Name-that agrees to be in exile within human nature from the exile to be integrated with the male expression of Hashem’s Name, Torah and love.
Normal human living means being balanced and stable living within the natural world, where the Shechina is in exile. While we are keeping oraht and mitzvahs well, are we asleep to the task of redeeming the Shechina in exile, the purpose for which Hashem creates us?
Throughout Jewish history, Hashem rocks this boat with anti-semitism and suffering. When we willingly take on to regulate our emotions in order to be a channel, and we choose to apply ourselves in this effort to redeem the Shechina from our immature intellect, we are being proactive. Either way, the Shechina in exile will be brought to integrate with Hashem’s love once again.
We were redeemed by Hashem Himself through the sefiros. The Hagadda does not mention Moshe, the one who taught us Torah and led us out of exile. Each person is vitalized by Hashem and Hashem alone. Hashem is doing everything. We are being given an experience in order to recognize Him which means that we submit our first impression of our own power to the truth of Hashem as the One and Only. When we “let go and let Hashem” we are involved in a tremendously effortful battle to submit what feels real and painful. All of our thinking falls into the category of what needs to be submitted and purged into the truth of His Love.
How do we submit and purge?
Grow in emunah and bitachon that the force and the emotional circumstances do not have to be attached to each other. The force is the Shechina in exile and we may recognize that truth and ask that it be attached back to Hashem so that we may serve as a channel for that force to come into the world as light and love. Each “but” that comes up can now be viewed within the safety and value of Hashem’s light,and Hashem’s light and our love for Hashem re-absorb the Shechina in exile in the painful or stormy thougth or emotion – oh, that has a root in the bias that I have power – I submit that vitality. Oh then they will get away with it – I submit that vitality. Oh, I won’t be loved – I submit that vitality. Oh, I will be laughed at or ridiculed or hurt or damaged – I submit that vitality.
Hashem is 100 percent in control 100 percent of the time. No exceptions. The world does not have power. Only Hashem has power. Hashem gives us emunah, will and the power of speech.
May we take pleasure in being proactive in using these powers to unify His Name and may we soon see His light shining in the world.