As we head into the final search for chometz, I would like to continue to share my journey towards awareness of Hashem’s constant love and supervision.
For years, I have made a habit to get up and immediately daven before doing anything else, and to learn a little Torah before going forward. Today, it took me longer to get to that because I took my phone with me to the rest room and spent longer there because of that. What happened as I headed to daven was that the animal soul headed straight towards the standard “payoffs” that the zuhama – the projection of illusion given to the Soton to test us. In plain english, I fell. And I was in pain, thinking seething thoughts.
Because I understood that I needed to roll back to the soul correction, I first used the process on what I was seething about. But, Baruch Hashem, Hashem showed me that the root of it was my own soul that infused the animal soul instead of being first grounded in prayer and Torah.
This reminded me of what Rabbi Mendel Kessin taught in his recent shiur on Pesach. He teaches that the zuhama had been depleted of its kedusha and that had we not sinned with the Golden Calf, the Soton would have died. When we sinned with the Golden Calf, the kedusha re-energized the zuhama and to this day, at the seder, we are attempting once again to remove that kedusha from the hands of the Soton.
As soon as I did teshuva – confessing, apologizing, resolving to not do that again – the seething stopped.
There are two parts to what I did. The first was to realize that the Shechina in exile is the force causing the distress and that it is distinct from the circumstances. The second was to surround it emunah in Hashem’s constant love as the reality and feel love for Hashem, placing the force – the Shechina in exile – within a safe and loving place.
From there, the inner dialogue to find the truth is meaningful. Many times, if we do not first set the environment as safe and loving, the same words in inner dialogue sledge-hammer us! Critical, hurtful, painful, even abusive corrective messages that just cause us to sink into avoidance and push back are NOT NECESSARY. Why? Because the force and the message are not one unit!!!
The force is the Shechina in exile, in our false beliefs, faulty perceptions, as well as within the illusions the Soton projects to all of us due to his domain over nature, including human nature. The messages are the illusion itself in our interpretation of the circumstances painted by the Soton that he projects to which our animal soul attaches BECAUSE WE HAVE NOT FIRST EXTRACTED THE SHECHINA IN EXILE from within our belief system. These two, the force and the message, spiral off each other…the projected illusion that comes to us as a thought and the ego based false belief that we mistakenly think is us.
It is imperative to see the distinction. The force is the Shechina in exile – there is No Other Power. It is kedusha given to the Soton with which to tempt us. It seems to have a life of its own as a result.
Why does the animal soul believe the messages of the zuhama – the projection that the Soton sends? It is because we do not separate our neutral body from the identity that has developed in time and space, our ego. We naturally see our image as us, and this is inherently FALSE. Shall we make our lives stable within falsehood or shall we make an effort to do our primary mission, to reveal Hashem’s light in the world by rectifying our ego?
We are not our body, we are not our image, we are not our ego, we are not our mistakes, our aveiras or our painful circumstances. We are a spiritual being placed in a body in order for that spiritual being to come in contact with the raw elements of the world, earth wind water and fire in order to bring into those elements Hashem’s Love.
When we slump in despair, we are believing that the world or people have power, we are believing the illusion the Soton is designated to project to see if we will recognize our Creator in the force and choose to submit all of our thinking and emotions to the true reality.
It is hard to accept that what we believe is an illusion.
Torah teaches us that this illusion is a barrier to being aware of Hashem’s goodness and love and is there solely for us to break through, to break the barrier and extract what bonds us to the illusion so that we may attach to His Truth, Love.
We are empowered to do this by having real free will. The focus of our free will is on the force in what we experience, not the circumstances. We have zero control over circumstances and zero control over outcomes. But we have 100 percent control over our effort to recognize our Creator as the only Power and to will to go above our natural urges and impulses, even if we are sunk in them. How do we make this effort? Through emunah, loving Hashem, and prayerful request asking Him to please help us bring all of the force within us to attach to Him so that we may reveal His Love.
Torah teaches us how to do this. If we do not know how, we can turn to the Torah to help us. Tanya, Mesillas Yesharim, Hilchos Teshuva, Ale Shor, Chovos Halevovos, Nefesh haChaim are all good places to look. If we do not have time to learn 5 minutes a day, perhaps we might try to find a way to do so. When we are facing forceful inner emotions, the Torah we learn is there to speak back to us, to help us understand where we are and to guide us.
My journey has been many decades long. There are no short cuts. It does not matter where we are on the journey. It matters that we are on a Torah path to attach to Hashem with awareness and to detach from our natural grasping of the payoffs offered by the Soton through the zuhama, his system of illusions and deceptions that drain our spiritual being into the darkness.
May we all choose life. May what we redeem from our personal challenges be a merit for the soul as it exists within us, our family and all klal yisrael. And may our awareness of Hashem’s constant love bring to the entire world a new light that all should be able to see Hashem’s Goodness and feel Him.