In the Faith and Confidence class taught by Rabbi Moshe Genuth, he teaches us about a place called the seething waters:
Rabbi Genuth teaches that darkness is higher than light. Our mind is illuminated at all times, but often by fictitious needs. Any thought that is not purely Hashem is in need of refinement, we have to free ourselves from pre-conceptions of what Hashem is. Hashem is infinite so there is no one conception of what He is. It is up to us to recreate vessels all the time! Hashem is everything, His Goodness is everywhere. We want to connect with Hashem as He is, in Infinity. Our mind causes Hashem to be finite.
Rabbi Nir Menussi in his shiurim on Anatomy of the Soul draws a picture for us to help us understand keter, which is composed of will, pleasure and emunah. He draws a diagram of a man, the head is emunah and the body is pleasure, and the man is in a cylindar/tub from the shoulders down called will/ratzon. Thus, pleasure and faith are really the same thing. What this means is that when we strengthen ourselves in emunah, we are realizing that doing so brings us to Hashem’s goodness and that this is the pleasure for which we are created, to delight in Hashem and for Hashem to delight in us. What blocks us is that the line of emunah and pleasure is embedded into the will so that we become more complex in our personalities.
For this reason, we may find ourselves in the seething waters!
It is important to remember at these times that Hashem has not left us here alone! Our mind has merely made Hashem finite and given us the false belief that we are in control and our judgment, which is geared toward promoting our natural will, is in need of implementation. And of course, these messages carry with them all our natural emotions of taking revenge, bearing a grudge, speaking disrespectfully, making fun and the like.
In the glossary of the Tanya there is a description of ratzo vshov – run and return -that gives us a glimpse to the challenge we face when we find ourselves in the seething waters:
For a deeper analytical look at how ratzo vshov, run and return, accomplishes the task of bringing us to a place where love for Hashem becomes integrated in our hearts, the glossary also gives a definition for itkafia and ithapcha:
What do all of these clips translate for us?
The pleasure that is the inner drive of our will is a singular part of our nefesh elokis that extends above our will to a simple pleasure of delighting in Hashem, despite the fact that we are not in touch with this experience. While intellectually we are taught this, because our drive to implement what we know is confronted by our will that is confused by the messages of self-consciousness, our drive to implement caters to our self-consciousness. This is because our natural intellect is an outgrowth of our natural will, its parent so to speak.
Only when we learn Torah are we capable of comprehending that the bond between our natural intellect and our drive to implement it is something that we are sent to dissolve in favor of Hashem’s Torah and doing His Will. Yet even so, how do we do that when we are in seething waters, experiencing that drive to implement according to our best natural judgment?
Here are two stories from the biography of Rabbi Asher Freund:
May these examples of applying what we know help us all to see that at times of seething, our primary work is to dissolve the handshake of our external vessel’s connection to the messages of the forces of nature. How? When we comprehend deeply that the force of that bond is full of potential pleasure to be internalized in our heart that will bring true happiness and simcha into the world – through Torah and mitzvahs, which are one with Hashem – we strengthen our emunah and use real free will to cry out to Hashem that we wish for all of the energy filling the matter to only be given to us so that we may enfold it into a mitzvah, into learning, into chesed so that He may be revealed in this world.
And as our animal soul comes to love Hashem more and more as a result, may we see the eradication of the forces of darkness and a new light come into this world.