Sarah Yehudit Schneider, in a book entitled “You are what you hate”, pages 152-153 explains from the book Toldot Yaakov Yosef on Parshat Lech Lecha from Rabbi Yaakov Yosef of Polonoye what the term Shechina means.
It is a basic principle of faith that the whole world is filled by Hashem’s glory and that there is no place void of Divinity. Hashem is One.
“Though Divinity is equally present in every point of time and space, it is not equally revealed through them. When the light, love, oneness and goodness of Hashem is perceptible in a place, we say that the Shechina dwells there, and the place or moment becomes a tabernacle in time or space that holds the manifest glory of Hashem. When the light, love, oneness and goodness of Hashem is concealed in a place, we say the Shechina is in exile, meaning that it is present, but hidden.”
“The Shechina permeates not just the physical layer of creation, but the emotional, mental and spiritual planes as well. The entire spectrum of soul-light enclothed within the space of creation is Shechina…Nothing exists apart from it. And though it is Divine, It infuses both the holy and profane, the virtuous and the wicked. Even evil has a drop of Shechina glow at its core, otherwise it could not endure.”
When in our day we experience something passionately that keeps taking different forms in our mind, we are experiencing a fallen spark – the shechina in exile – a bit of light concealed by coverings which are giving us a fiery experience. When we utilize real free will and exercise our emunah, we remember that what our intellect is experiencing is a spark in need of receiving awareness of Hashem, enlightenment. By realizing we are powerless and not in control and that Hashem has created us as a being that extends into this chaos for the very purpose of drawing light into it, we nullify all of our interpretations in favor of showering compassion upon that fallen spark. Surely we want to be the channel through which it receives light, yet what is pulling our life force is the same darkness that is giving us passionate imaginative fiery negative interpretations.
By showering compassion upon the Shechina in exile in the experience, we recognize Hashem and our role, to be the pipeline through which the light may travel. Why? That pipeline is our very nervous system and when we submit and separate and sweeten by showering compassion and doing battle with the negative downward pulls, we are improving our nervous system to a place of healing – real healing – where our first reactions are more and more in accordance with Torah, kindness, mitzvahs and avodas Hashem. Imagine feeling passionate about that! The body willingly comes to such a state of pleasure from serving Hashem when we repeatedly and consistently nullify our lusts, urges, cravings, negativity, and survival instincts.
Nullifying means shifting our consciousness from self-consciousness to awareness of Hashem and that He is doing everything and to bring that deeper and deeper into the nested thoughts that we have, never to believe anything else, but to forge forward running and returning the koach of anything that stands between our seeing clearly that Hashem is all loving and doing everything.
The reason we are born is to weave eternal garments for ourselves. As wonderful as friends and spouses are, and as welcome as their love and support is, until we take the time in personal hisbodedus to make the connection between awareness of Hashem and the vessel tainted with a fallen spark and do a mitzvah of the Torah so that the light may reach that spark, we have not woven that eternal garment. It is Torah that pulls us out of the coverings over the concealed light, nothing else can. Hashem makes the yetzer hara and gives us the remedy, Torah.
We are souls in a body. The body is neutral. It is up to us to see to it that the body is dominated by the Shechina, not by what is keeping the Shechina in exile. And surely we do not want to add to what is concealing the Shechina, for what we are adding is our own life force we are given to weave eternal garments with. We know we are growing closer to Hashem when our body is more and more responding naturally with Torah and kindness as its source of simcha.
It is well-known that evil is what conceals Hashem’s light. The more layers concealing His Light, the more compassion on the Shechina in exile it is up to us to shower upon the Shechina in exile, along with our prayer that the the light be restored to being revealed light through a mitzvah we do, and asking that the concealing layers fall away.
Each one of us in our individual lives is given these challenges multiple times a day. Often what happens is that we get drawn down, embittered, becoming hopeless. This is an opportunity to shift our identity from that cyclic self-consciousness to empowerment to shower compassion upon the entire thought chain, for there is only Hashem concealed in the vessel of the messages of the thoughts. A thought is a vessel and a soul, just like everything else. WE can recognize that and relate to its pure soul and perform the mitzvahs and live according to Torah that tells us what is permitted to us and what is not. Then Hashem absorbs that thought’s soul and the vessel of the thought dissolves and our mind and heart heal.
May we realize that our potential relationship with Hashem is as a created soul in the raw material of the body to Hashem the Soul of the world, and when we do, then He takes care of our bodily wants, urges and needs in a way that heals and brings simcha and closeness with Him in the manner in which He intends, a love relationship with Him.
You are not the triggered emotion or your bodily reaction although these are the outcomes of our challenge to draw forth the sparks that feel viscerally real. This place is the stage for our choice..shall we believe the messages or redeem the shechina in exile? Obviously if we identify with the message, we add our life force into the heap and get more and more spiraled between lack and self-consciousness.with emunah that all there is in the world us Hashem Who is doing everything, we can instead choose to emulate His Compassion virtually placing a counter magnet over the soul trapped in us, in the other, in the nature itself. When we do that, and provide a new garment for It through a mutzvah, we release the Shechina that agrees to be bound by nature from Its vow. He then moves all the life force to Him and in the void, restores revealed compassion.
We are this rusty pipe that can move clear water.
By strengthening ourselves in emunah, we step into the empowerment of will Hashem has given us to heal ourselves from our natural bond with nature and to also impact the physical world