It is important to go step by step to see how each one of us is empowered and has a key role to play in what manifests in the world. Because we are live with a soul made in the image of Hashem’s 13 Attributes of Mercy, we have a real power to create positive influence through the use of the Divine gifts of free will and speech.
Because of having eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, instinctively we are constantly appraising if we are receiving love and value or the opposite, being abandoned or annihilated, including insults to our ego and honor. This is self-awareness and without Torah, we conduct our lives pursuing love and value based on resolving the conflicts that we perceive as causing our losses in love and value. Self-awareness is to give us a subjective reality that feels like a real alternative to the truth, which is that the only glory in the world is Hashem Who glorifies us with a tzelem elokim in order to have a relationship with His 13 Attributes of Mercy in a being that could make that choice and experience the immense pleasure of doing so each time we rise above the natural subjective experience that poses an alternative.
The way we are designed is that our self-image is formed over the first 18 years of life, much of it before age 13, the age of higher brain functioning. What this means is that imprinted in our minds by design are reactions to receiving or not receiving love and value based on parents, teachers, family, environment and more. Hashem sets our free will point. When we are fully grown, our appraising mind continues its search for feedback what we are loved and valued and should we feel that our self-image is not being maintained – that is, someone treats us in a manner that is inconsistent with the image that we have of how we should be treated – our mind recalls all the originating circumstances and we project onto the matter patterns, beliefs and experiences from our early years as if it is truly happening. No matter how old we get, our subjective reality of who we are is our playing field. However, with Torah, we can begin to see how our reactions are based on fear of abandonment and fear of annihilation, and with consciousness of having a soul made in the image of Hashem’s 13 attributes of mercy, we can begin to do the work that Hashem creates us to do, which is to have compassion on the Shechina that is in galus with the emotions those fears generate and resolve the fears in favor of awe of Hashem. To the degree we experience a great deal of blame and shame as children, the more our soul is entangled by the snare that the instincts of fear of abandonment and annihilation pose for us,the more intense our upsets when these instincts become triggered and the more intensely we attempt to justify and defend ourselves against them.
It is easier to see the pattern from the perspective of our own suffering when we experience loss of love and value. Surely the Jewish people are the most abandoned and annihilated, it having been a very long galus. What do those who desire to destroy us do? They hate us and they take away our human dignity. How? Through very hurtful dialogue and through inflicting physical damage and death. Humiliation and extermination. Fear of abandonment and fear of annihilation trigger us tremendously. What is normal and natural is to try to defend ourselves. But what are we up against?
Those who seek our destruction feel that our existence is causing them abandonment and annihilation because that is their subjective experience based on their orientation. What we are up against are deep human emotions based on fears that are instinctive because we ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We have confusion of mind.
Torah teaches us that the Shechina is in galus within the darkest places of the human makeup. The Shechina is willing to patiently await the arousal from below of compassion upon the Shechina, awaiting us to realize our functioning as mankind.
The ninth utterance is let us make man in our image. The commandment that keeps that in place is the ninth commandment, do not bear false witness. That would include remembering that each person, including ourselves, is made in Hashem’s image and that the place of the world is the mind of Hashem. Let’s walk through our reactions when we feel humiliated.
Someone is exercising power or authority over us attempting to subjugate us to their will by humiliating us. In any language, it is easy to see how childish reactions to parents and authority can be triggered here. Even if our parents raised us well, the attempts of those with power over us, e.g. teachers, government, employers, etc, trigger the learned and remembered tools to resolve fears of abandonment and annihilation in societally accepted ways. There are social rules, there are laws, there are rights and the like to guide our conduct.
Have you ever seen a totally oppositional child, who has become “deaf” to his mother’s voice, doing whatever the child wants? The parents experience a sense of helplessness and the child does not learn social norms and rules but rather the power of humiliating others to advance the child’s own will. One of the most powerful ways of humiliating people is to make fun of them, to belittle them, to blame them, to shame them. The reason is that built into the tzelem elokim of every person is a mental measuring stick to see if we are reflecting Hashem’s image into the world or not. This is an aspect of the soul connected to our ability to receive the experience of happiness when we do indeed reflect Hashem’s 13 attributes into the world. The inner accusation that we are NOT doing so, that we have been untrue to Hashem, is very painful to the soul and if another person wields words that shame us, the soul wants to satisfy that person so that they see in fact that it is not true. Instead of clinging to Hashem’s 13 attributes as the source of our happiness, the opinion of the other person has now taken precedence because of their position of power over us, either in terms of money, beauty, social status, employment, or position. And we become triggered and our awe of Hashem becomes lowered and trapped in fear of abandonment or annihilation.
What happens internally is that often we begin to feel entitled to something we are not getting. This means we are interacting from a place of self-awareness rather than Gd consciousness. And from that place where we feel angry, frustrated, in need of setting something straight, a part of our tzelem elokim that is made in Hashem’s image is trapped along with the Shechina in a false reality, seeking happiness dependent on matters of time and space rather than pursuing the happiness for which we are designed, which is to reflect Hashem into the world.
The longer we pursue happiness based on matters in time and space, the more our tzelem elokim provides nurture for the lower realms in time and space without meaning to create any negative influences. Our very tzelem elokim, with all the good logical reasoning and justifications of our appraising mind, inadvertently is also forming beings that have a negative influence upon the way Hashem maintains the world. For Hashem maintains the world based on the influences that mankind creates through our thoughts, speech and deeds.
The task then is one of remembering to do the ninth commandment even in the face of being powerfully subjugated and humiliated by forces or people in time and space. How do we remember? Torah. Hashem commands us. Do not bear false witness. Remember at all times that we are made in the image of His 13 attributes, and that means having patience for ourselves and others when we both see how powerfully the appraising mind can draw us into the darkness of fears of abandonment or annihilation. The truth is that we can never be abandoned or annihilated in a two world picture, that our soul is eternal and has an eternal mission – to have compassion on the Shechina that is waiting patiently for us to submit to Hashem’s Oneness and use our free will to lead His 13 attributes of mercy into the world.
We can elevate fear of abandonment and annihilation back to awe of Hashem with love in our heart when we take the time to see Hashem’s unrequited love for us. That then produces compassion for the Shechina that is trapped in the darkness of our subjective reality and we can release the Shechina and return all of the light from our our own tzelem elokim that got trapped in time and space and ask Hashem to remold it all and give it to us in order that we reflect it into the world in a revelation of His Glory asking and beseeching Him to restore the foundation of the world, water, fire wind and earth to reveal His Goodness without the negative influences we inadvertently may have made. Please listen to the video above: