In the highest place of each one of our souls, called the yechida, we are all one. Hashem has only created one soul, in the world of emanation, called the world of Atzilus. Hashem designs the soul of man in order that we are a means whereby His Infinite Light can come into the world and the world not be nullified. In order for THAT to happen, the soul He designs must be visible in this world. In other words, the body He gives us is built to reveal His Honor. The animal soul that serves as an alternative so that we have free will, which is naturally revealed, is there to be nullified.
The degree to which we have so nullified the animal soul in favor of revealing the Divine soul and thereby His Infinite Light comes into this world is the topic of our effort and our prayers. When we sincerely will for this to be so and we make every effort including beseeching Hashem that it be so, He feels responsibility towards us and activates the Divine soul to draw forth from the animal soul whatever sparks are trapped there. These sparks are then unified with our Divine soul and available to be revealed through the mitzvahs, prayers, chesed and Torah learning we do, providing simcha and often refuah for ourselves or others.
For Hashem’s honor to be in this world, we use our lifetime for learning Torah, avoda, chesed and mitzvahs. This is His Design that He tells us to do, that these are His Will by which His Infinite Light shines forth in this world. What we overcome within us, the implosions that happen because of the opacity of the animal soul covering over our love and awe for Hashem in any given moment, is “powered” by the sparks of tohu that have fallen into our subconscious, our natural animal soul. There is the possibility that this opacity can become more and more transparent as we nullify the animal soul with love and awe and avodas Hashem.
The process is run and return.
The wisdom is to know that all there is in the world is Hashem Who is doing everything and Who loves us. He gives us real free will to receive all of the force He sends, either through the Divine soul or through the animal soul, and to recognize Him in either event and choose to reveal His Infinite Light by doing mitzvahs, learning Torah, doing chesed, or praying.
Now we may think…oh come on, there is more to life than that!
Well, sure there is. But to the degree we draw a circle around the above and then put things in another circle that simply does not intersect at all with the Divine purpose, without meaning to, we are missing an opportunity to weave eternal garments for ourselves and reveal His Honor.
Should it feel to us as though such pursuits are for limited times or for the very devoted, it is a good idea to reflect back upon the simcha that we have in the moment when we, indeed, have awe and love for Hashem and do something with expanded consciousness that He is doing everything and that He loves us.
Whether it is changing a diaper, drinking a coffee, driving the car, doing the laundry, organizing something, doing our professional work – is there one second at all that we are doing it on our own?
If we comprehend that, our view that we are doing it and what does Hashem have to do with this obviously has a blind spot. Yes, Hashem agrees to go along with our natural moves because He is Elokim, and He agrees to go according to nature. But He is awaiting – patiently I might add – recognition from us that there is a Creator and He Creates us and that we are NOT here alone nor are we the ones bringing our efforts to fruition.
If we ARE bringing awareness of Hashem into the moment, then our action surely will be aligned as either a prayer, a chesed, a mitzvah or learning Torah. How? In considering that He is doing everything, we breathe in hisbodedus to ask Him to help us bring all of our heart and all of our soul and all of our might to bring out His Honor and serve Him. That redeems the sparks and that is avodas Hashem wrapped into the circumstances that presented themselves.
If we are NOT bringing awareness of Hashem into the moment, then quite possibly our effort is remaining within the opacity or even, chas v’shalom, thickening the opacity that conceals His Honor from being revealed in the world.
Twenty years ago or so, managed healthcare came into being and the physicians who wanted to stay independent of this had to form networks of independent professionals in order to be able to stay in private practice and independent of the managed care insurance rules. Grouping together was purposeful and helped to keep them giving good medical care.
When it comes to avodas Hashem, each one of us has a direct line of communication to Hashem, an ability to run and return based on the use of real free will every moment of our lives. We are taught that anything we put between our divine soul and Hashem is avoda zara because, although it seemingly might help us to a certain degree, if we forget about putting Hashem into the picture, we have added opacity rather than transparency for the Divine soul.
Our relationship with ourselves, that is with our divine soul and our animal soul, is healthy when we strive in hisbodedus to comprehend where our soul is entangled with natural but wanting to go above the natural in order to reveal Hashem. Our emunah is our faithfulness in doing this and our bitachon is actually taking the time each day to struggle and do the work and then have confidence that we have, indeed, made a run and return,
We have a vulnerable sharing chabura called teshuva from love where we are grouping together to share our runs and returns, thereby giving strength to each other to do it as well as opening up what otherwise might remain with opacity within us, a blind spot that we did not realize to bring in awareness of Hashem.
By running and returning the holy sparks enlivening the animal soul that create opacity, we unify the sparks from the subconsciousness to join with our awareness of Hashem. The subconscious is a layer into which Hashem places sparks of Infinite light that are considered “male”, reactions from the surrounding lights. By bringing Hashem into the picture with love and awe through our understanding, our binah, the “female” aspect, we receive Hashem’s Infinite Light and this heals our hearts and gives us the opportunity to infuse this Infinite Light as our intentions in doing mitzvahs, praying, learning Torah and acts of chesed. These “garments” of our thoughts, speech and deeds provide transport for the Infinite Light to come into this world. He does all of this.
We live in a world of intentions where we have to sweat to bring awareness of Hashem into the picture at the times when Hashem is the last thing on our minds. Growing in realization that there is a Creator who creates us and that in every moment we have a mandate to run and return and include an intention to reveal Him is a choice that we are here to make.
Our kavannah in davening is a good litmus test for our opacity to transparency level. Whose honor are we concerned with revealing, His or do we think we have honor other than our ability to reveal His?
May we embrace this path and see it as a path of peace, of joy, of redemption and of eternal life.