A comprehensive website about emunah and core Torah concepts, with analysis and explanation of the writer’s personal growth experiences in Avodas Hashem and understanding of our relationship with HaKadosh Baruch Hu.
The extremes of heat and light of summer bring out desires and a sense of independence to a degree that tests us in our ability to recognize and choose against acting upon them.
For the three weeks before Passover, we clean to get rid of Chometz, where has our ego gone beyond what is permissible in Torah? We find behaviors that we wish to corral and we ask Hashem to bring us from being enslaved to freedom. We then spend seven weeks expanding what we need to in order to bring that freed inclination into service of Hashem and contracting what we need to stop doing in order to bring that freed inclination into service of Hashem. In the seventh week, malchus, we live with our re-trained inclinations, and stand at Har Sinai to receive the Torah.
When we sinned with the Golden Calf, the work we did to bring ourselves to the level of Adom before the sin got covered over again. In one second, the keser, chochma and bina, the higher three attributes of the animal soul, dominated the heart of the Jewish people. The three weeks that could have been a joyous time of receiving the commandments have become a time of danger.
Nishmas Am Yisrael, Torah and Hashem’s Name yud k vav k are inseparable. That means our higher soul, the tzelem elokim that is made in the image of Hashem’s attributes of mercy, emulating His Keser is taught Torah in utero. When we understand that all of Torah is available at all times within us, we can approach the work of cleaning off the influence of the animal soul that is covering our awareness of Torah with its arousal of subconscious and unconscious desires, fears, defensive survival reactions and unrectified characteristics inherent in being alive.
During the three weeks, we seem more and more comfortable with the logic and guidelines of fulfilling natural desires based on worldly considerations and comfort. Yet we worked all year to improve our unrectified characteristics – how do we keep from losing them in this time of expanded light and heat that seemingly bring out wisdom in pursuing desires based on worldly rather than Torah considerations?
Parshas Matos tells us that the Leviim fought in the war with Midian because no one is exempt from the need to do battle with the subconscious and unconscious, which are the wisdom and understanding coming from the animal soul. Just as during the three weeks before Passover we cleaned for Chometz to reduce our ego, our gains in retraining our inclination now have to take their next step. During these three weeks, we have to ingrain into our thoughts by overcoming the animal soul’s influence that happiness and pleasure come from learning Torah, emulating Hashem’s Attributes of mercy, and living with faith and belief. The tzelem elokim, the soul that is made in Hashem’s image, has not forgotten this. The battle we do to impress upon the animal soul’s chochma and bina that happiness and pleasure do not come to us as it suggests builds into our brain boundaries that will eventually help us to contain the happiness and pleasure that Hashem desires to give us.
May we understand that love and value come from connection to Hashem’s Torah and attributes and that pleasure comes from the experience of revealing His Glory without impurities. May we speak out to Hashem when we feel a bitterness and tell Him with simple words that we know it is all from Him and that it is our choice to connect happiness and pleasure to the degree we merit to reveal His Glory and to please help us clean off the impurities so as to infuse His Glory into nature.
Until Moshiach comes we will continue to have a subconscious and an unconscious, provided by the animal soul directing us towards the fulfillment of perceived worldly pleasures and comfort. Yet we can do battle with it on an individual level and to the degree we make an effort with free will to reveal His Glory, we establish our name in the heavens and our capacity to draw His Glory into the world.
Here is an example of a teshuva written out . It is intended as a guide for what may be whispered in verbal introspection inserting the private details of the individual’s bitterness.
We are doing this teshuva naase v’nisma because the learning behind it is a cross-pollenation from many branches of Torah True Judaism. Reading through the words on the sheets themselves just with intention form positive influence and can help us when we are in the moment.
May our intention to release confusing emotions gripped with a subconscious will by saying Hashem Echad, thereby using the power Hashem has put into speech, serve as an arousal from below for which Nishmas Am Yisrael is designed – to be the neck connecting earthly forces with the heavens, the mechanism Hashem has designed in order for a flow of blessings from Hashem to fill our mental space so that what we reveal is the tikun for which we have come to repair in this world.
Please help us identify specifically where in our lower will we see distortions in the elements of water fire wind and earth that mask the revelation of Hashem’s Glory. Please help us rectify the elements with our free choice and in so doing release “the mother bird – the Shechina that had been trapped by the masking which the lower will latches onto as true but is pluralistic and not the primary source of all”, may all forces once again become part of the direct flow of Hashem’s revealed good. May “the eggs –- the animating light that is the strength of the will itself that bonds with the mask concealing Hashem-“ be harnessed by love of Hashem to connect the light into Hashem is One in order that we grow in our capacity to reflect into the world the light of love and value Hashem sends through tzelem elokim.
The ultimate goal is that revealing Hashem’s Glory as the pleasure in the moment becomes the pleasure that we naturally seek, that it is more and more naturally in our consciousness to reveal His Glory over the subjective pleasures of the animal soul and ego – including all experientially internalized yet external coping mechanisms, fears, triggered confusions, programming, traumas, and wrong ideas developed over time that we cling to but that trap the Shechina in galus with our suffering.
Over time, just saying these words with intention will help us expand a sense of identity to a context of relationship with Hashem and our primary role as Nishmas Am Yisrael that will give us more emunah and bitachon to release reliance on where we are stuck in challenges within thought and emotion, the concealed world, and say Hashem Echad to create an arousal from below that folds the energy that was existing in exile within those experientially internalized externalities back into the revealed world to reflect Hashem’s rav chesed.:
Submission: Hashem, I am experiencing a bitterness (discord, any negativity – bitterness is the soul’s experience of distance from Hashem)
Kavana: Within my subconscious or unconscious or basic human nature is a reaction that is keeping happiness and pleasure busy instead with radioactive/firey defensive or aggressive self-referencing thoughts. It is bitter, resentful, anger producing, terrifying, upsetting to feel so far away from receiving the love and value Hashem is sending right now [say out loud what triggered it and the emotion and open relationship with Hashem – cry out, it is bitter]. .
I do not wish to follow so reactively whatever naturally comes to mind! Please I turn to You with love in my heart to sift and discard what is blocking the experience of good in this moment. I have identified happiness and pleasure available as being diminished by circumstances that have triggered this reaction. [describe the circumstances] Instead I turn to You realizing that this discord has as its Source You and that there is something You desire for me to fix within my nature. Therefore I submit to Your Oneness in order to either rectify a bad characteristic or to redirect the strength from what is masking Your Glory from being revealed in the elements/sefiros of water/chesed, fire/gevurah, wind/tiferes and earth/ malchus. May the strength of what is masking the good dissolve from the circumstances and instead soar on the wings of love in my heart for Hashem to connect with the strength of Your revealed good.
Kavana: Knowing there is Hashem Who is good is the context – [tell Hashem “I wish to be seen by You as accepting the role of Nishmas Am Yisrael, using free willed choice and speech, the powers You bestow upon us, and may the words Hashem Echad serve as the conduit through which heaven and earth are able to merit receiving Your Revealed Glory together with previously concealed and now revealed Glory. Help me to expand the sense of identity that is naturally in consciousness to realize that his effort to make a repair and create positive influence IS the basis of esteem, not with the matter being confessed]
Separation:. Blessed is the Name of Your Glorious Kingdom Forever and Ever – Hashem is One – Hashem Echad.
Kavana: There is amazing light trapped within this matter, albeit stirred up from the subconscious, the unconscious, the defense mechanisms, the survival instincts, the bodily urges, the ego desires that define the unique personality and human nature You have designed for my effort and growth. By bringing to mind that the context of this matter is the awesome design that You Alone Create the world and with knowing that everything that happens is from You, is just, and for the good, I ask that with the words Hashem Echad, that You please move so that I may have more control to direct that light from nature uttered by You and concealing You to instead reveal Your Glory. Help me wipe off the impurities so that instead what shines in the elements/sefiros of water/chesed, fire/gevurah, wind/tiferes and earth/malchus is a revelation of Your Glory, a revealed good.
Whatever nature or human nature is covering over and blocking the experience of revealing Your Glory, please dissolve its strength into nutrients that with love in my heart for Hashem can be joined with Your Revealed Good. Please help me wipe off the impurities of imagination that is connecting to subjective taivas and gaivas and help me glue imagination to Your Attributes of Mercy so that revealing Your Glory flows without impurities through my heart.I only want to be who You want me to be! I want to be part of creating positive influence for the elements that are filled with Your Glory. The whole world is filled with Your Glory. By free willed choice and with the words Hashem Echad, may I please bring about the strengthening of Hashem’s revealed Glory in the world, a power You have given to Nishmas Am Yisrael to do, to elevate this fallen world. Help me to dissolve the strength of what is concealing You so that through the words Hashem Echad the strength is available to reveal Your Glory in the way You intended for Your Glory to be revealed in an enhanced way by Nishmas Am Yisrael uttering Hashem Echad.
Kavana: I realize that built into subconscious and unconscious reactions is human nature, and all nature is under the domain of the Soton! Please Hashem, give me free will over this area of human nature that is influencing emotion and thought through the unconscious, the subconscious, instincts, or animal soul motivations. The natural elements water, fire, wind and air are subject to Your Angel and without Your help whatever is being triggered is like a magnet automatically operating within the mind with suggestions and reactions and impulses and desires toward aveiras, hating others, bearing a grudge, feeling resentful, judging, taking revenge and more. With love in my heart for Hashem please help me function as You created us to, with free will and speech, to reprocess the strength of what is concealing Your Good into revealed Good.
[Describe the dissonance in the experience and what the challenges are]. I regret that I have fallen into the grips of these thoughts and emotions and all that I may have generated in speech and action by default. Please help me see for the sole purpose of wiping off the impurities coming through the influence of nature on the elements within me of water, fire, wind and earth and because I ask with free willed choice, please may I instead direct the potency of the impurities that come through a nearer nature to help solidify the light revealing Your Glory through speech and deed. That is my free willed choice, please help! And may any destructive beings that I am responsible for, by virtue of this teshuva, come to the side of merit for having taught me so that all of the light is now available in the elements revealing Your Glory.
Kavana : There is no glory other than Hashem. There is no good other than Torah. Hashem is One and by virtue of stating that, please dissolve the magnetic draw pulling downward with false promises of happiness, pleasure, value or esteem and please bring that force back as a magnetic draw to strengthen resolve to learn Torah, emulate Your Attributes of Mercy, and live with emunah and bitachon, giving love and value knowing survival is in Hashem’s Hands. This is real pleasure and happiness and is the pleasure Hashem desires to give us. Please help me broaden capacity to receive the love, value and pleasure You desire to give us so that I may reflect it through my heart into the world.
Just as we desire to correct our vision to 20/20 with glasses, so too please now help me confess, regret, apologize, make a plan for the future and do teshuva to rectify characteristics and to reveal the elements within aligned with the goals of tzelem elokim to serve to reveal Hashem’s Glory in the world.
[removing impurities from water/expanding what we need to with chesed] Please Hashem help with bending whatever the unbounded desires are [state them] to the truth that the Source of all Vitality is You, and may the desire only for what is good in Your eyes draw me so that happiness and pleasure are derived from divine dignity, Torah, emulating Hashem and living with faith and trust. Help me let go of impurities in taiva blocking the pleasure that Hashem designs for our essence so that I become a vessel capable of receiving the higher truer pleasure of devekus Hashem desires to give us. I am never abandoned in Your eyes and may this correction repair Adom’s sin that caused us to be thrown out of Gan Eden.
[removing impurities from fire/stopping what we need to with gevurah] Please Hashem help with burning out lower levels of expression of volatile radioactive subjective urges including anger, anxiety, arrogance and more (goals related to self-referencing of the ego, of happiness trapped in time and space and worldly affairs) in order that passion be directed for Torah and in tefilla declaring Hashem Echad. I am never annihilated in Your Eyes and may this correction repair Adom’s sin that caused us to be made mortal.
[removing impurities from wind/ restoring compassion through speech with boundaries and goals based on Torah and Truth ] Please Hashem through the words Hashem Echad, may the desire bound by knowing that You are the Source of all vitality Who Gives what is Good and only Good subdue radioactive arrogant responses so that together what forms is warmth and light that is beneficial and that reveals Your Glory. May our words which we say freely release the strength You desire to be reunited with You to create positive influence and shower brachas.
[removing impurities from earth/malchus becoming a solid vessel to reveal Hashem’s Glory] Hashem I direct the confusing bitter charge [i.e. the roots of potential for happiness and pleasure trapped in reactions of human nature and subconscious] be released [name them and identify them in as much detail as possible out loud]. Please help me confess and do teshuva and redirect in order to wipe off the impurities and falsehoods trapping light in the charge, and please move the strength of the charge to cling to revealing Your Glory, for there is no glory other than Hashem. Hashem Is One.
Kavana: With love my heart please forgive us for ever thinking there is any Glory other than Hashem and help me draw deeply into the desert of the subconscious place a healing so that revealing Hashem’s Glory flows naturally through mind and heart. Please help straighten out whatever is in the deepest recesses of thought and emotion with Your Will so that thought and speech reveal divine dignity, as the moon reflects the sun.
Humbly the effort to triumph tzelem elokim over the animal soul completed, at least for the moment, may the understanding of the experience of Your Presence as it was in Shlomo’s Temple that is lacking in the world because of the destruction seep into consciousness, that I feel a touch of how beneficial it would be to once again have Your Glory revealed. May this help me bring tears of sadness and longing for Your Glory readily to heart in every moment so that consciousness would stand ready to choose speech and deed that would help You to be revealed again in the world, true happiness and pleasure.
Sweetening: Please help me reflect love and value that You constantly send to us. Please help me reflect Your Glory through speech and deed, and may Your revealed good fill the elements water, fire, wind and earth without impurities of human nature so that Your Glory may be seen in the world.
Hashem may will, thought, emotion, speech and deed reveal Your Glory, tolerating insults, overlooking faults, bearing the burden of the discomfort of mind that happened when we ingested from the tree of good and evil causing experientially internalized externalities to appear in our mind as “me”, please forgive us for ever thinking there is any glory other than You, and please cast all our sins into the sea. Please may this teshuva that adds light that through free willed choice has been brought from human nature and dissolved into revealing Hashem’s Glory through the statement Hashem is One be a merit for Klal Yisrael.
May this merit for Klal Yisrael help that our generation should be meritorious for redemption b’ahava.
In the above podcast, Rabbi Yaakov Zalman Labinsky explains through the actual words in theory what the three weeks is about. Read the transcript and listen to the podcast and then below please see why this is so exciting and inspiring to really ask Hashem to help us reveal His Glory over our natural reactions.
Here is a transcript:
The three weeks of mourning precede the 7 weeks of consolation. It is called Bain HaMitzarim, between the straits. The root letters of straits is tzara, from mitzarim, tzadi raish hai which letters turned around spell ratzon, to want or to yearn. That is the basis of the root of the word yearning, ratzon, to run. The new ratzon the new yearning comes from the tzara itself. The new desire for greater closeness comes from the capacity of distancing itself and your ability to hold onto it, to contain the pain, and then be able to find a deeper yearning within the pain.
In ratzon comes from keser [Hashem’s Attributes of Mercy are in keter and we are made in His Image, meaning that our essence, our divine dignity, reflects Hashem’s Attributes of Mercy]. That is important to know. If tzara brings ratza, and ratzon is rooted in keser, and keser is the root behind chochma bina and daas! It is called the shorshe hamorchim – the root of the mochi is chochma bina and daas.. By a person awakening their ratzon and in the ratzon is the root of their keser which is the root of their moichim – you will draw down new moichim from a new yearning to get close to Hashem, to connect to Him and He will give you new moichim to perceive in general and specific, which is chochma (general) and bina (specific), and then integrated into daas based on the new yearning to return, which is based on the pain of the tzara.
For the seven weeks that follow the seven weeks of consolation, leading to Rosh Hashana, that [editor note: the work we do to do battle with the pain of letting go of happiness and pleasure associated with worldly matters and instead seeking to identify happiness and pleasure with divine dignity] will start to permeate your middos.
We can have patience during the three weeks to look at how our imagination regarding happiness and pleasure are trapped in worldly matters causing us to react with hurt and upset. We can make an extra effort in teshuva, asking Hashem to please help us release happiness and pleasure along with the Shechina that is in galus with the trapped happiness and pleasure. We beseech Hashem to please help us re-associate happiness and pleasure as He designs them to be experienced, as the result of learning Torah, emulating Hashem’s Attributes of Mercy (keser) and living with emunah and bitachon, faith and trust. Hashem desires to give us true pleasure, but our minds need to be a vessel that can contain that pleasure. When during the three weeks we introspect and work to experience what we lost, we develop a yearning for Hashem’s presence. That understanding of real pleasure is an important teshuva. we build into our minds a shift from what we perceive as happiness and pleasure in worldly matters to a higher and truer happiness and pleasure. Our mind becomes a vessel to receive real pleasure proportional to the pain we held and did battle with when re-associating heartfelt pleasures with what Hashem designs for us to be real pleasure. When we get a glimpse of the new pleasure that Hashem wishes to give to us – devekus based on our essence – we realize its superiority over where we previously defined happiness and pleasure.
Such a teshuva accomplishes a real change in our will and our thought. it uncorrupts something at the deepest switch inside of us, giving us more consciousness over an area of our mind that we did not have before.
There is a women’s teshuva call, easy, gentle guided teshuva, to help us with this work every day of the three weeks, except Shabbos. The calls are at 8 am and 10 pm eastern time. the calls are recorded and are posted at www.brachagemach.com where you can get more details. If you would like to join us, please send an email to email@example.com
The frame of reference that the three steps submission separation and sweetening that we are using during our teshuva (www.brachagemach.com – if interested send email to firstname.lastname@example.org) to benefit the teshuva we do is important to understand more deeply.
In order to receive the true happiness and pleasure that Hashem wishes to bestow upon Nishmas Am Yisrael, we have to be a vessel that can contain it, meaning that it will feel like a pleasure to us.
For our mind to expand from the happiness and pleasures we associate with worldly matters, physical and emotional satisfactions, a sense of value based on the appearance of being capable independently existing beings, we need to grow in yiras shemayim.
We have an inner strength to ask Hashem to help us bend our firey responses when experiencing a lack of love and value from other people. We beseech Hashem to help us release happiness and pleasure from being trapped in the thought that we must “do something” to secure our perceived need for love and value from people or events. The way we beseech Hashem is by effacing with yiras Shemayim anything that blocks us from the reality that He Alone is creating every detail of our circumstance in order to give us the opportunity to realize Hashem is One, to internalize what it means to say Know there is Hashem. KNOW IT, even in that moment.
Knowing it in that moment effaces the grip that our natural being, our ego-development even when healthy, trusts as the source for happiness and pleasure. Knowing there is Hashem in that moment, releases the soul’s source of happiness and pleasure to its true root, its inseparable connection to Hashem.
Happiness and pleasure come from learning Torah, emulating Hashem (toleratiing insult, overlooking faults, bearing the burden of confusion of mind, forgiving, and casting sins into the sea) and living with emunah, faith that the Source of all Vitality is Hashem and bitachon, trust, that our our firey reactions can burn out lower levels of existence in order to instead flow passion for Torah to create warmth and light. Our effort to do so is the basis of real esteem and the consequence of doing so is the experience of real pleasure as we build our mind’s capacity to receive it and prefer it over the natural we just effaced.
This effacing of worldly matters during the three weeks is a teshuva that comes at a time that has the potential to be a time of holliness but got covered over because of the sin of the Golden Calf. All progress we make in returning happiness and pleasure to serving Hashem helps us to repair the false belief that there is any glory other than Hashem’s Glory.
How do tyrants gain power? The world unfortunately has many examples of brutality, of killings, of actual control over the lives of others, of those who adversely affect the lives of others in order to dominate and to require submission of the others to the will of their tyranny. When it comes to the physical existence of people, it is not hard to understand why people fear for their lives and conform. That is a natural human response.
One reason to love Hashem is that He is all loving. He gives us a Torah and multiple times a day, He tolerates our insults to His Stated will, we say the wrong bracha, we omit an after bracha, we have a negative charge against a family member and more. Hashem knows every emotion, every ounce of electrical impulse, within our makeup because at every moment it is He Alone Who is providing the Source for its existence by uttering it into existence. Hashem weaves the circumstances of our lives together so seamlessly though that we lose sight of His Constant Presence, His Omniscience, and His Omnificence.
The hiddenness of Hashem is in order to give us free will. Yet it also gives tyrants a tool to dominate, and that is through the illusion that they are in charge of our lives, our survival, in what esteem the world community will hold us. For those who do not have Torah to help see Hashem’s hiddenness, it is easy to understand how emotions can be swayed with political means.
There is a place in every person that needs love and value. It is oxygen for our existence. As people, being well thought of, cared for, appreciated, and having a productive existence is imperative to having a healthy life. There is no question about it. It is obvious that a tyrant can take that away. What is not obvious is that it is only with Hashem’s permission. And what is really hidden is that the success of the tyrant does not mean that Hashem favors the tyrant. In human terms, in terms of human justice, it seems that way, that Hashem “rewards” the tyrant by subjugating the Jewish people to their actions. In Torah terms, in terms of the function of Nishmas Am Yisrael, there is a more elevated effort towards creating positive influence for which Hashem desires to give us real eternal reward.
In the Holocaust, the Nazis took away productivity, took away the jobs and positions of the Jewish People. They forced us to wear garments labeling us as Jews. In this way, they used their power over the physical realm and their speech to create labels intended to strip away the divine dignity of the Jewish people. It hurt the part of us that is physical. It was crushing. And then because they convinced themselves and others that the Jews were not really human, they went through with their plan to eradicate us, annihilating six million people.
Over the years we have become very sensitive to that place where our sense of feeling loved and valued based on emunah and bitachon in Hashem has been ridiculed, tortured, lowered, and murdered in order for tyrants to appear victorious over His People. That connection between the Jewish People and Hashem is our Bais HaMikdosh. It is a special flow. When our physical existence or ability to survive in healthy environment is threatened, unless we are so very strong in emunah and bitachon that we FEEL our love and value coming from Hashem, chances are that our happiness and pleasure will become trapped in goals seeking responses from external sources. No one is immune from this.
The Torah response is to understand at all times that EVERYTHING is Sourced in Hashem and He is the one to turn to. We lift our eyes and cry out regarding the bitterness, in prayer, Hashem this is bitter! We are turning to You! Hashem Echad! Even if we don’t understand.
Hashem wants to give us the relief we want. He wants to fill us with the pleasure of feeling love and valued by Him. He is in a constant state of desiring to do this, for this is the purpose for which He creates the world. Yet if He sends this chesed to us and we do not have a vessel to receive it, what will happen? We will not be able to contain the pleasure. It will just fall away and we will still be seeking the happiness and pleasure from external sources, believing that is reality. In other words, Hashem’s chesed to us would not be good for us! Why? Because even if intellectually we want it, our hearts are biased towards lower pleasures, an inevitable consequence of having had our existence challenged, traumatized and exterminated and threatened throughout history.
That is the area we need to restore. Each one of us can, in personal prayer, identify where we experience a discrepancy between the way things appear to be and the reality that everything Hashem does is good and just. Even if we can’t articulate all the ways our complaints and charges interfere, we can say two words with intention and sincerity. Hashem Echad.
Hashem is One. He is the Source. There is No Other Power.
Whatever it is that I seek through whatever means outside of Hashem that I seek it, that hishtadlus is not the hishtadlus that will prepare me to receive the real pleasure Hashem wants to give to us. We can argue with that a long time with many proofs. But Hashem wants our hearts and He knows when He has our hearts.
We know when we have given Him our hearts when we experience the pleasure of revealing His Glory over our natural urges otherwise.
Hashem wants a relationship with us. He wants us to spend time dissolving, bitteling, our sense of having any glory whatsoever that is not His Glory. He wants our egos to surrender to animating His Glory and His Torah and emulating His Attributes of mercy. He wants our imagination to happily connect to the role of Nishmas Am Yisrael and He wants to give us the pleasure He intends for us, the pleasure of being that vessel which reveals His Attributes of Mercy. The Jewish people are intended to be as the moon reflecting the sun, with no light of our own.
All day long Hashem tolerates our insults awaiting us to remember Hashem Echad. May His Love for us give us strength to reconnect our yearning for love and value, for happiness and pleasure, for our survival, to our hishtadlus to learn Torah, emulate His Attributes of Mercy and to live with emunah and bitachon revealing more and more His Glory and less and less the false belief that we have light of our own. Whatever doubts come up upon reading this, that is the work on our hearts we must do in order to become a vessel that can receive the pleasure He desires to give us. Individually, it is our tikun. And once we bring ourselves glued more closely to Him, and take our next step revealing His Glory, that is our yeud, our unique role.
No matter where we find ourselves, in government, politics, professions, positions of power and leadership, these principles apply to every Jew and it is a worthy pursuit, to remove what blocks His Glory from flowing through our hearts. Effort to do so creates the spiritual beings that can then help us in our positions to serve Hashem and make kiddush Hashem.
Before we are bar or bat mitzvah, existence is dependency on our parents and our neurocircuitry and thinking are developing. A nurturing environment reduces the amount of trauma that gets lodged in our memories. Yet no matter how secure an environment, the structure of the human brain is such that perceived threats trigger our defense mechanisms. Because everyone has a soul that is made in Hashem’s image, each of us understands ourselves as meritorious for being loved and valued. If a child is in a natural environment where messages damage the child’s ability to experience being loved and valued by the parents, the teachers, friends, community, the natural defense mechanisms that associate with child-like misinterpretations become incorporated into our brain reactions. We develop unhealthy fear, a fear that we believe but that is not real. The fear has fallen from healthy fear, awe of Hashem. And when that happens, when we don’t have healthy fear of Hashem, awe of Hashem becomes trapped in thinking that happiness and pleasure come from worldly matters, such as other people. Such fallen fear covers up our divine dignity.
We have intrinsic divine dignity because we are made in the image of Hashem. Effort to reveal Hashem’s glory is the basis for esteem.
Our fallen fears create more layers over our divine dignity and that blocks our ability to reveal His glory, for the coverings over our heart divert our attention through imagination toward self-referencing goals. The more damaged we are, the more layers and the more magnetically the winds can stir up our imagination to quickly pull us away from real Divine dignity, tzelem elokim, and instead sell us on the illusion of pleasure to be had if this one or that one respected us, loved us, treated us better, ad infinitum.
Even for a person who has awe of Hashem, when someone “hits” us with an insult or an unkind word, physiologically we react with a red alert, a natural brain reaction that, when we have awe of Hashem we can “:field” and subdue the natural reaction. A person with awe of Hashem then reacts kindly in return with a respectful response or with loving boundary setting. Yet when there are many instances that a person feels that their divine dignity has not been recognized by another person due to the manner in which a request is made, a statement is said, a comment directed, a desire expressed and more, the natural reaction of red alert becomes more and more associated with the person and the circumstances, and this begins to cover up divine dignity unless a person, using emunah and concerted effort, is determined to grow only in healthy awe of Hashem.
We can take our “red alert” reactions and with love in our hearts tell Hashem this is bitter and we know it is all from Hashem, that He is One. We can then begin to sense the amazing animation from the natural and distill its strength with intention to grow in awe of Hashem for how He has created the world and His People. By declaring Hashem is One, we create a spiritual being to lead us in the path we desire to go and we pat that strength from the natural to solidify awe of Hashem to a new level. The strength that we can add can only be obtained by going through this process of relating to the circumstances with emunah, opening the love in our heart to Hashem to declare He is One, and then asking that the animating energy that flows through our heart reveal only His Glory. It is the role of the Jewish people to do this. Without Torah we would just do what is natural, experience a diminishment in our divine dignity, react as if it is dangerous, and then perceiving ourselves as good, take action to secure what we feel we need to in order to preserve ourselves. Such actions generally blame the other person, stripping them of divine dignity, and then we shame them, causing injuries to have them doubt their divine dignity by giving them painful emotional experiences that cloud things over.
All of this happens because of one huge problem: We left Hashem out of the picture. Our divine dignity became obscured because we fell victim to the winds that blew through us strong self-preseving reactions out of fear of abandonment or annihilation or both. When such an error happens that our imagination becomes associated with our fears rather than with emulating Hashem’s attributes of mercy, the forces of nature have triumphed in covering our divine dignity and whispering in our ear a faulty basis for determining if we have love and value.
Such a victory for the yetzer hara succeeds in lowering everything. Yet when we beat even one small aspect of that natural fear, we can take the animating strength from the imagination and from the yetzer hara that naturally wants to dominate and instead have it enhance awe of Hashem. We can bring it to the healthy side of fear we have to fight for Hashem’s truth.
The place within our subconscious is remote from us. It is in our nature and the yetzer hara dominates human nature and has entrée to that subconscious place, to that switch in the tracks, like an infiltrator walking through a door that is open only to it, a door that may be locked to us!! It is very important in verbal introspection to dig and dig to understand our inner switch.
The door the yetzer hara has access to that is closed to us explains why we have sympathy for people who cry out from a place of feeling that their divine dignity is not respected. Because we are familiar with that feeling, without understanding it feels as though we have been insulted or denied divine dignity because of a challenge to awe of Hashem, we have empathy for it. The only problem is, imagination is building on fears and upsets that are not truly reflecting an understanding of revealing Hashem’s glory. If I desire to reveal Hashem’s Glory, I do not need to argue with yours. Instead, by revealing Hashem’s Glory, I see the divine dignity of the other and Hashem is in the picture. Since everything is Hashem, such an approach is bound to be effective.
With emunah, we rise above our red alerts in order to do battle with internal winds that would have our divine dignity concealed in favor of self-referencing goals. Emunah and healthy awe of Hashem help us strengthen our ability to reveal Hashem’s Glory through our thoughts speech and deeds. The more we reveal Hashem’s Glory out of love, the more positive influence we create that leads us in the path we wish to go, to have healthy boundaries to keep negative attacking forces out. We have many opportunities each day to build positive influence in this area of awe of Hashem. When the challenges come, dissect them back into their elements – all desires must conform to Know there is Hashem and He is the source of all vitality. All anger and fear must conform to No other Power and fire must be subdued to create warmth, light and burn out lower levels of existence that cause pain. Ask Hashem for help in wiping human nature off the animating force and revealing His Glory instead.
This subconscious switch, when closed properly, connects our imagination to serving the truth that happiness and pleasure come from emulating Hashem’s attributes of mercy and nothing else. It feels like we are pulling ourselves from something real but that something real is false yet we believe it, as designed by Hashem, in order to give us real free willed choice. Yetzer hara, Torah tipped your hand! But we still have to work and work to discover the place this switch happens and to apply effort to reveal His Glory instead of the natural places of destruction our defensiveness is heading us towards.
When we truly subdue this inner switch, attaching happiness and pleasure to learning Torah, emulating hashem’s attributes of mercy, and living with faith and trust in Hashem, we will have the ability to draw Hashem’s glory into one of the darkest places of human nature, illuminating it and removing circumstances designed to direct us to hunt for the switch and make the repair.
May we soon see a new light in the world with redemption.
When we are compelled by our human nature, very often we conduct ourselves in a manner that is designed to achieve our personal goals. This is normal, every day human life.
Yet we also have a capacity to rise above in order to conduct ourselves in a manner that serves Hashem in an altruistic way. This is a moment of holiness. When we do have these moments of transcending our nature out of love for Hashem in service to Hashem for His Sake alone, what we reveal in our actions reveals His Glory – the love and value that is coming to us in every moment. It also removes something from our nature, dissolving something, rectifying our unrefined characteristics in the process, whittling away at the mask over nature as we take steps towards ein od milvado consciousness.
We can “donate” our unrefined characteristics and by revealing Hashem’s Glory not only rectify ourselves but we also create merits for the Jewish people. The Jewish people are one soul, and whatever we rectify in regard to our unrefined characteristics affects in a good way everyone, raising the amount of Hashem’s Glory that is revealed in the world and aiding everyone to a higher level from which people may have more choice at their own free will points to rectify their unrefined characteristics and in turn reveal Hashem’s Glory.
Posted here are recordings of guided teshuvas. Women who would like the handouts and to be on this distribution list, please send an email to email@example.com
At this writing there is military action with ground troops. if you have any bitterness, anger, resentment and the like within you toward anyone, please consider doing the teshuva below now to create positive influences for fire:
Please Hashem I feel the bitterness of resentment toward… (or anger, or judgment, etc.) I am calling out to You! The path these bitter feelings are leading me by default are unpleasant, there is no love to be gained from it and there is no value to my eternity for pursuing this. Wherever the trigger is coming from is Sourced ultimately in You for my growth, although it may have come through the animal soul that has impurities!
I wish to remove the impurities causing bitterness yet I ask to keep the strength involved in order to fold that strength into the element of fire that can serve to reveal Your Glory as follows:
to a revealed good use of fire that produces warmth and light and protection for our soldiers and for Israel
to nullify the weapons that fire upon us so that enemy fire has no ability to harm any Jew
to fire that destroys only what needs to be destroyed for the elimination of the threat to Israel
Please Hashem by virtue of this teshuva regarding the element of fire, may I strengthen within my heart and mind awe of Hashem to recognize when to repeat this teshuva in the moment, repairing unrefined characteristics with which to add to a rectified capacity to serve You and reveal Your Glory. May I develop an ever-deepening ability and passion to reveal Your Glory through rectified expressions of the element of fire and receive the experience of true pleasure, real love and eternal value.
July 18, 2014 erev Shabbos https://www.dropbox.com/s/fooofftbz9kx02w/july182014erevshabbos.mp3if you can please listen and use the sheet before Shabbos, teshuva today, for the first week of the three weeks, before Shabbos, might really help us in our efforts to break through to identity as divine dignity, tzelem elokim and to our ability to reveal His Glory in the moment.Please if you experience the calmness and clarity that these three steps are designed for, please don’t dismiss it. Please understand it is the sound of being in touch with the side of us that is so covered over. Please we want to yearn for this, to experience the pleasures that we are designed for, and seeking this true pleasure is the best way to have more consciousness and make choices when life is coming at us.
July 20, 2014 https://www.dropbox.com/s/exdn3i6vc9u7duu/july202014am.mp3 I usedhttp://beyondanydoubts.com/2014/07/17/teshuva-within-format-submission-separation-sweetening-example-toolbox/ this morning already and it really helped me notice what the mistake in my thinking was that was causing me to feel so sad – what is important to realize is that the process of doing this creates positive influence while we are doing our tikun. There is no blame or shame in having tikun to do. Having tikun to do is a sign we are alive BH with a subconscious, unconscious and ego which will all be true until Moshiach comes and our thought processes become clarified – but we won’t have free will then. we have it now and that is the benefit of doing this work now. And the positive influence we create in the process is the goal. We Nishmas Am Yisrael bring the lower K of Hashem’s Name yud k vav k closer to unifying with the upper K each time. We will use it on this morning’s call
The teshuva sheet we are reading from is a cross-pollination of Torah True Judaism and within it are the four steps of teshuva but the context in which we are doing that teshuva is a teshuva that returns us to our primary functioning as Nishmas Am Yisrael. By virtue of saying Hashem Echad, that effort takes what is static in the world and through our prayers “adds strength” to the world. Just for saying the statements that we say, we create positive influence through functioning in our primary role of nishmas am yisrael. That is the key. The hishtadlus regarding Nishmas Am Yisrael is to create an arousal from below of love with emunah, faith. The specific hishtadlus is to find that deep switch regarding where we associate happiness and pleasure and to deeply reconnect happiness and pleasure to emulating Hashem’s Attributes Mercy. Once we use free choice with emunah and love of Hashem to align happiness and pleasure with the reality that His Glory fills all the world and is the sole Source for all pleasure, then we are empowered to visit our unique tikun, how the warring inclinations within us are to be resolved with the four steps of teshuva.
Especially at times of national suffering such as now, remembering our role as Nishmas Am Yisrael and our functioning create positive influence by removing the mask of nature from what conceals Hashem’s Glory from being seen is of the utmost importance and is the context in which we are growing as we rectify our unrectified characteristics.
Rabbi Zibersteiin sent around 5 steps for dealing with the missiles in Israel. In chutzla a’retz, his third suggestion is really the main thing for us. In it Rabbi Zilberstein gives us a segula to nullify all harsh judgments. “You are just in all that happens as Your ways are Emes but I am the one who strayed” In the teshuva sheet we are using, this corresponds to the work we do in the section separation where we remove impurities, the specific impurities from nature so that Hashem’s Glory that fills all the worlds is visible.
May our efforts be the arousal from below in prayer and teshuva that Hashem is waiting for to bestow the arousal from above with all the blessings intended for the Jewish People as stated in Torah.
May our efforts to clean off our individual impurities benefit klal yisrael because are all one Nishmas Am Yisrael
May our increasing awareness of the empowerment that Hashem gives to Nishmas Am Yisrael through speech and davening help us have a new relationship with our suffering and challenges based on an expanded understanding of our identity as well as our esteem as effort to use tefilla and speech in this way
May the tremendous awareness we are gaining to bend and glue happiness and pleasure to emulating Hashem’s Attributes of Mercy, tolerating insult, overlooking faults, bearing the burden of confusion of mind, forgiving, and casting sins into the sea, become a merit for all klal yisrael as triumphing tzelem elokim over the animal soul and growing in the ability to see happines and pleasure in our consciousness as stemming from tzelem elokim in lieu of worldly concerns.
After this morning’s call, i had to go through a round of battling with the darkness of my will being very caught up on my own glory. Perhaps it was the next step in finding what I need to find in order to serve Hashem with deeper sincerity, in finding what I had to wash off that is masking His Good, I think so, but sometimes we can trip and fall in the mud. When our will has been telling us that this is “who we are” for a long time, it is meritorious that we take immediate steps so that such messages become less credible. BH the three quick steps of submitting, remembering all is good, telling Hashem that with the concealed energy and the will that was holding it I wish now to use the will to serve Him and then turning to a mitzvah, Hashem restored a sense of calm and inner quiet.That is a return to true identity, tzelem elokim inseparable from Hashem who is good. Above the clouds it is always a sunny day!!!!! The article below is important to making sure we don’t get kidnapped by the darkness.
Moshiach is not a spectator sport – if we don’t like what we are seeing in the world, we actually have access to make a positive impact on the elements of nature in the world that affect everything and that access is through our own unique human nature. In exploring the confusion generated within us from the experience of lack, of ego goals, and imagination applied to that, we can find where our lower will has been influenced by our human nature. With free will and speech we can “reset” the elements of nature as we experience them in our human nature, in teshuva. We are designed to do this. Our effort to do so is our esteem. Just as a liver cleans out impurities yet is not those impurities, so too, our free will and speech can do teshuva for what blocks us from reflecting true good into the world.
Below are the guided teshuvas from Sunday Aug 3 at night and Monday Aug 4 in the morning. May these help!
What you are experiencing is showing you something tremendous about yourself. the amazing strength is YOUR tzelem elokim.
When a coin is in an empty box, it rattles and makes noise.
When tzelem elokim is trapped in something untrue, meaning ego-goals, it causes us anxiety.
How can we affect nature? Nature is Hashem’s realm?
We have the power of speech and we have free willed choice.
We can tell Hashem, this strength that is rattling around in bitterness is amazing light. Please I wish to use this strength and all my strength to reflect Your goodness into the world. Please move this light and give it into my hand and lead me in the direction I wish to go which is to serve You with all my heart, all my soul and all my might.
tolerating insults, overlooking faults, bearing the burden of confusion of mind, forgiving and casting sins into the sea, living with emunah and bitachon, giving love and value, knowing our survival is in Your Hands alone.
In this way we begin the journey of tikun to shine light into a world of confusion and darkness. just making the effort creates positive influence. it is a loving and gentle journey. Hashem loves us!!! He wants us to be able to experience the pleasure of His Presence when He is revealed in the world. Let us work now to triumph tzelem elokim over the natural urges.
A women’s hisbodidus work group is forming. Here is an outline of what we will be doing individually yet together on the phone.
Please think of a situation that is not too overwhelming but is a good example of experiencing upset based on a lack.
1. Submission: Hashem I am experiencing bitterness.
2. Separation: Please whatever is animating this is Sourced in You. Baruch Shem Kavod Malchuso Leolam voed
3. Sweetening: Please Hashem I ask that this animating energy be moved so that I may use it to reveal Your Glory.
Submission: Hashem I am experiencing bitterness. I am crying out to You.
(intentionality – I realize happiness and pleasure have become trapped in a worldly matter, something that is experientially internal but external to tzelem elokim. As Nishmas Am Yisrael, we have a relationship with You. )
Separation: Baruch Shem Kavod Malchuso Le’Olam voed – Hashem Echad “With these emotions in my heart, I understand it is all from You. You alone are the Source of all the animation. I don’t understand all the emotions, nor do I understand how it is good. But I do understand that there is No Other Power and that everything is Sourced in You, is just, and for the good.. With my free willed choice I make effort to dissolve whatever is necessary to dissolve so that the animating energy is available to reveal Your Glory”
(intentionality – the world of nature is under the domain of the Soton. Hashem utters the world into existence, embuing His Essence into letters that yield the elements into different unique-appearing expressions. Our physical being perceives the world on the level of appearances. Our spiritual being has the innate role and power to reveal from the concealment of nature Hashem’s Glory when we submit and activate love in our hearts and choose emunah as the platform to have a relationship with Hashem and open a flow of shefa by “cleaning off” the mask of nature. The primary deep place we need to reach is awareness that happiness and pleasure are expressions of tzelem elokim that is inseparable from Hashem and experiencing happiness and pleasure in relation to learning Torah, emulating Hashem, and living with emunah and bitachon. Finding the switch inside of us, that subconscious split second, where we are deceived by nature that happiness and pleasure come from somewhere in this world is our unique tikun)
Sweetening Please Hashem I ask that this animating energy be moved so that I may use it to reveal Your Glory. I direct the animating forces involved flow through my heart to reveal Your Glory. Help me to tolerate insults, overlook faults, bear the burden of confusion of mind, forgive and be part of casting all sins into the sea and may it be a merit for Klal Yisrael.
(intentionality: Just as a second ago You Hashem were bearing the discomfort of my confusion of mind as I felt bitterness, just in order to give me the opportunity to declare Baruch Shek Kavod Malchuso LeOlam Voed and Hashem Echad, I choose to emulate You and bring that same compassion and patience to this matter. The Source of all vitality is Hashem. Please may I be a vessel guarded from the negative thoughts that distract happiness and pleasure to worldly matters. Please solidify me more and more as a vessel whose neurocircuitry for bringing Your Glory through my heart into speech and deeds remains unobstructed by downward pulls.)
It is possible that each of us can do something merely through speaking a few words that can make a huge impact. Anyone interested in a guided work group to do this type of prayer and teshuva please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is an example that anyone can do, if inspired – it is adaptable to help with every negative bitterness, no exceptions, when we understand our primary functioning is regarding the elements – the middos- and bringing them from the state where they are designed to confuse us and thereby conceal Hashem’s Glory to a flow through our hearts where we have clarity and serve instead to reveal Hashem’s Glory:
So and so didn’t return my call – I feel a lack of love! (this is a subconscious or unconscious response that triggers us…consciousness catches up with it when we are feeling “right” or the need to be ‘right” or feeling judgmental or hurt)
Stop! Following that will not bring me to a place of happiness at all even if I am right and even if the person feels obligated to now call me! Is that the happiness I want? Is securing my dependency needs in my hand?
Hashem, I am feeling lack but the intensity of it is coming from a self-referencing desire for a dependency need to be filled. It feels as though if I don’t take care of this dependency need for love that it will not be satisfied. Please help me to break the illusion of independent existence propelling me toward defense mechanisms designed for danger. Iit helps to repeat out loud so we hear what the emotion is and can regain proper perspective – e.g. I am experiencing lack. Lack. Lack. Abandonment. Lack. But wait. I am not abandoned. Hashem is with me. I am inseparable from Hashem’s love.)
Please move the energy gripping my consciousness and subconsciousness for although it is coming through Your Utterances and is filled with impurities that I am responsible to repair, I wish to flow this amazingly potent magnetic energy instead to love Hashem, have awe of Hashem, to emulate Hashem, bearing the discomfort of mind we all suffer from.
Thank you for giving me life so that I can tell you Baruch Shem Kavod Malchuso Leolam Voed. Please help me cling more and more with emunah and bitachon to knowing Hashem Echad, with no doubts. The greatest pleasure is You! Please help me experience You with a constant sense of love and value coming from You. My soul is inseparable from real love and value, You.
Hashem thank you for the opportunity to declare Hashem echad and please may I, by learning from this matter and doing teshuva, ask that the teshuva be a merit for klal yisrael and create a positive influence through which You deal with Klal Yisrael and maintain the world.
Hashem may the manner in which You maintain the elements water, fire, wind and earth be filled with positive influence that reveal Your Glory and may we receive bracha and redemption b’ahava and may I be a fitting vessel to reveal more and more tzelem elokim with love and awe in my heart, as the moon reflects the light of the sun.
When we are torn between identifying with self referencing goals and tzelem elokim goals, ask ourselves if the self referencing goals really will bring happiness. Real happiness – or trapped kidnapped happiness that produces negative influence. The choice is ours. Hashem waits for Nishmas Am Yisrael. He loves us. He wants to give us everything. But if we are not aligned with identifying with the goals of revealing tzelem elokim, the redemption will give us a terrible headache for our vessel, our mind, will not be ready to receive the real good over our self-referencing definition of good. Hashem does only good. He is waiting for us to be ready. Teshuva empowers us, it is not accepting blame. Prayer empowers us. By speaking to Hashem in relationship, we form the spiritual entities that lead us in the path we wish to go, may we choose a path of revealing His Glory in the world.
May our understanding of identity as tzelem elokim break open the unique expressions of our trapped happiness. Know there is Hashem! May our understanding help us build only on emes and forgo imagination built on trying to serve self-referencing goals. There are no other powers, there is only the Shechina hiding in nature through His Utterances. May our efforts in prayer from a sincere heart requesting in teshuva that the energy of our past failures now become merits and that the energy be drawn back into the elements through our choice to speak and act based on tolerating insults, overlooking faults, bearing the burden of the confusion of mind that happened because of ingesting from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, forgiving and begging Him for forgiveness, and asking Hashem to cast our sins in the sea and because of our teshuva to be able to have any similar sins within klal yisrael cast into the sea. Hashem is One and we are inseparable. May our verbal introspection help us discern the impurities given to us to dissolve back into the Ein Sof to draw it back down into our hearts in a way that reveals His Glory instead of self referencing. May we walk as solid vessels with His Glory becoming more and more what flows naturally through our hearts. And may the impact on water, fire wind and earth, by infusing the elements with His glory, remove the influences that are sustaining our enemies.
Interested in starting? Please register by emailing me your name, phone, city, state, country and email address.
The whole world is filled with the Glory of Hashem. It is not too hard to bring that reality and live it every moment if we comprehend the power Hashem gives us through speech and our true identity as made in His Image, tzelem elokim.
No matter where in the world we are, it must be quite clear to everyone that there is massive confusion and the pursuit of happiness as we know it does not have the results we are seeking.
The good news is we can do something about it. To do so, the foundations of our identity must be expanded and the gift of speech must be directed to Hashem, which meets His Utterances in a special important way.
Let’s start with our identities.
Why do many young babies get so angry when they get hungry? When we experience their anger, young mothers often feel like they are doing something wrong. There is an insecurity that they are to blame. The young baby has no idea that it is creating such a painful reaction in its mother. How does a young baby even know what anger is?
In the womb, the baby is learning Torah with an angel. All of its dependency needs are being met. It is happy. A baby’s soul is happy when it is learning Torah and it has the experience of all its dependency needs being met by Hashem Let me repeat. A baby’s soul is happy when it is learning Torah and it has the experience of all its dependency needs being met by Hashem. The baby does not have any sense of abandonment at all.
The baby is born into a completely different, fallen world! In order for its needs to be met, it’s very life depends upon imperfect people! When the baby is hungry, its cry is one that could, if the baby were conscious of it, be described as fear of abandonment and fear of annihilation. The mother’s role is to feed and soothe the baby, and the baby learns that this fallen world also fulfills it dependency needs to survive and for love. It is not abandoned or annihilated.
The soul of a baby triggers the baby’s unconscious so that the baby gets angry when it feels abandoned and/or annihilated. This is a built in response that continues within us, by design. Before in the womb, a baby’s soul is happy when it is learning Torah and it has the experience of all its dependency needs being met by Hashem. The criteria for happiness while we are dependent continue to be satisfaction of our dependency needs in a loving environment. When we mature and are no longer dependent, though, the criteria for happiness reverts back. Once we are mature, it becomes our spiritual work to realize in every moment that our soul is happy when it is learning Torah and has the experience of all its dependency needs being met by Hashem.
Yet because a child is dependent for 21 years, by design Hashem develops coverings over the soul, a real appearance of separate independent existence. Much happiness is associated with interacting with the world based on the development of intellect, of social circles, and of all types of learning and skill building. It is important for the healthy development of a person for this to be. But there is one point that eventually surfaces through the challenges of life, and that is the pursuit of happiness, lasting meaningful happiness that is NOT dependent on anything outside of our own choosing.
Out of respect for all those who have died in pogroms, in the holocaust, in the intifada, through terrorism, and throughout Jewish history, the model of happiness that is being discussed here is not a guarantee for staying alive. It is in alignment with what we learn from Rabbi Akiva, who died having his flesh combed but expired saying Shema on the word Echad without feeling pain. No one wishes to experience such suffering. Yet we learn a great deal about the ability of the soul to experience happiness despite the surroundings and circumstances, may we never be challenged to do so. The purpose is to begin a journey to understand that our happiness is a function of our soul serving Hashem and how we can attempt to bring the awareness of that happiness more and more into our lives by freeing happiness from its captivity in worldly affairs.
Let’s begin by looking at what has happened because we have not really been attuned to releasing happiness from its captivity in worldly affairs.
What is baseless hatred? It is a hatred that has no basis, but what does that mean? We hate people who hurt our feelings, who insult us, who dismiss us, who deceive us. That surely is a good enough reason, no?
The first step to understand is that even though we are in a fallen world, our soul is inseparable from Hashem. We are made in Hashem’s image. Tzelem Elokim. And remember, the whole world is filled with His Glory. That includes us. Our soul is a thought from Hashem, Nishmas Am Yisrael, formed in the highest created world, corresponding to the yud in Hashem’s Name, and He infused tzelem elokim with His Attributes of Mercy, a reflection of the tip of the yud of His Name, the crown of His Kingship. Nothing can diminish this reality by even a microdot. It can be covered over if we don’t realize it, but in fact, in every moment of our lives, Hashem is with us, is aware of us, is providing for all of our needs, including the need for us to come to the consciousness that He is providing all our needs every second. We are not alone. We aer not abandoned. Hashem loves us. Our soul is happy every time we do a mitzvah or learn Torah or emulate Hashem.
The second step is to comprehend that it is our choice to identify with the goals of the body, to take or the goals of the soul, to serve Hashem and make kiddush Hashem. When we have clarity that identifying with the soul does not mean we are abandoning the needs of the body, because Hashem is running the entire world, we can take the next step. Emunah makes it possible for us to move our esteem to our effort to reveal tzelem elokim. If all there is in the world is Hashem’s Glory, including us, then what other esteem could there possibly be other than the effort we make to reveal His Glory? It is okay to know that Hashem, will continue to take care of our dependency needs in bodies, as He has done every day since the day we were born. But that is not our motivation. Our motivation is to release happiness from the captivity of the body so we can reveal His Glory and experience the happiness of fulfilling what Torah tells us is the mission of Nishmas Am Yisrael, to make a kiddush Hashem.
This second step, understanding it is a choice to identify ourselves as body/ego or as a soul, is dynamic. It is crucial to understand that we are in bodies and that means we are alive. Without body and ego, we would be not alive. Thus there is no need for frustration in experiencing this tension in our identity. In fact, the tension in how we identify at every moment is the Design for how Hashem’s Glory meaningfully comes into the world and is the basis for our eternal happiness.
We are not perfect. We are a mixture of body and soul. And after we ingested from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, life became even more confusing because the messages of the body and ego, which had been less prominent and which messages we could experience as external stimuli, became internalized and come through our hearts and neurocircuitry in a second. How can we come to understand that body and the reactions of the ego are external to us when they feel like everything, when they feel like our identity, when we experience them so dramatically and even treat them as the basis of our esteem until we arrive at adulthood?
Ask honestly, do the goals of the body and ego truly bring happiness? How long?
When we believe that other people, circumstances, or externalities give us meaning and esteem, then others have the power to take away our divine dignity by denying us words of love and value. There is no question that such cruelty causes pain to the body and the ego and is a terrible test that triggers us to a place where we may not be able to recover. Once others strip off our divine dignity, it then is possible for them to annihilate us, as did all of the persecutors of our people from the beginning of time. We have been the scapegoats. We have been accused of causing the unhappiness of so much! And it is blame that has seeped into our system, hurting our bodies and egos, causing us to develop thick-skin and in our attempts to defend ourselves, falling into emulating our oppressors instead of revealing tzelem elokim through a process of speaking out loud to Hashem in order to reveal His Glory.
I hear it. Where was Hashem to protect us in the Holocaust? Where is Hashem now, to protect Israel? But that is just more blame. We are not grasshoppers. Hashem gave us a koach of speech for a purpose. And that speech is to meaningfully release happiness from worldly pursuits even if it costs us our lives, to declare His Glory fills the world. This is what we saw in the martyrs who danced into the gas chambers. This is what we saw in Rabbi Akiva. This is why we pray to Elokim of Avraham, Elokim of Yitzchok, and Elokim of Yaakov – for their righteous devotion to Hashem brought visible to the world that Hashem helped them, survive the furnace, survive the Akeida, establish the twelve tribes and more. What they accomplished through their avoda was beyond human and the world saw it. And therefore Hashem’s Name is identified by their victories. It is the desire of the body to survive, no question. It is the strength of the ego and the logical mind to create systems to protect us. Without a doubt. But Hashem is always in the picture and that is the crucial piece. If cynicism has crept in causing us to doubt that emunah, we are stuck in a void with a power of speech misdirected, blaming, accusing, and causing more and more darkness. The building of understanding must be rooted in truth, in Torah, or we are just falling deeper into more elaborate darkness.
The third step is to comprehend how through creating Adom from the elements of the world, Hashem has given us the ability to draw shefa and blessing into the elements of the world. When we do so making brachas over food and other mitzvahs, do we fully understand that we are drawing bracha into the world? If so, then it might be easier to understand that when we have a discrepancy between what the soul knows and what the body/ego experience, we experience pain. The circumstances, however, can be brought back to their elements. Just like a compound number can be drawn down to its factors, so too our emotional reactions can be drawn down to earth, wind, fire, water or a combination.
How we identify with those elements becomes the key to releasing happiness from worldly matters.
The human reaction is self-referencing. We are scanning for how this will work out well for our survival, for our needs, for our benefit, for our goals. Our imagination helps us dream amazingly well! But Hashem is often not in the picture. We believe it is from our skill group, our connections, our money, and more that we are able to devise a plan to secure our dreams. The more we build on that, and the more we are financially rewarded by society for specializing in a particular area of accomplishing goals, the more we believe in ourselves and the more happiness becomes trapped in worldly matters. Expanding our consciousness means that we realize at all times that even when we react humanly, all of our dependency needs are being met directly because of Hashem’s constant love and presence in our lives. Without Him, we could not even move. There is no glory in the world other than Hashem.
Adom wanted to come into the world to make a kiddush Hashem from this fallen world. He ate and we must rectify this condition of confusion. There is no glory in the world other than Hashem. Not from the apparent physical existence which is animated by the Shechina uttered into every atom of energy including our neurocircuitry and unconscious, and not from the essence of our soul, animated by a thought of Hashem.
We can sit alone in a room with hugely negative feelings and blame all types of circumstances, people, and Hashem. But if we break it down, it is because we desire something that we feel is important for us to have. Perhaps we feel someone has diminished our dignity. Insulted us. Not given us the love we hoped for. Immediately our neurocircuitry begins to build on this reaction as if it is the true source of happiness.
This is where we must challenge ourselves and bring our emunah back into the picture because this is the foundation of baseless hatred. No one can diminish our dignity. It is not negotiable. It our perception based on a false belief that there is some glory other than Hashem that needs to be restored. It will not help to think of ways of shaming the other person in order to strip away their divine dignity, even though we may falsely believe we must do so to keep them from annihilating us. Such circumstances are not in our hands. Our unique challenge lies totally in an internal plane of existence.
The circumstances are from Hashem. Our tzelem elokim is inseparable from Hashem. The other person(s) are under the total control of Hashem whether they realize it and strive to reveal tzelem elokim or if they have a mixture of cynicism which has caused them to reveal a destructive tendency in order to provide our point of choice. It comes down to how we choose in the moment.
The elements of water, fire, wind and earth can be filled with Hashem’s glory through our choice. Left alone, they are filled with the Shechina that is hidden in nature awaiting us to release it, to dissolve it into the Ein Sof through speech that declares Hashem is One. If we did not have a Torah to tell us to do so, even a class of geniuses might miss it. But Avraham Aveinu did not miss it. He got it. And we are his children. It is in our spiritual heritage to understand this as well as to do it.
Every moment that we do this, we rectify our own soul. We improve our negative characteristics by choosing to reveal tzelem elokim. We break our nature when we understand we can grind down the elements within our negative characteristics to reveal tzelem elokim. For in all the world there is only the glory of Hashem. We can ask Hashem to help us grind down the self-referencing that blocks tzelem elokim from flowing through our hearts. Flowing tzelem elokim through our hearts keeps us in happiness, for we are involved with Torah and aware that Hashem is totally in charge of our dependency needs every single moment of life. From there, we can give love and value to others, serving Hashem.
Blaming others, demanding from others, accusing others traps happiness in a hopeless void of sinas chinum. It is totally without basis. It can never have a basis. Happiness is not attainable except through Torah, mitzvahs and emulating Hashem. Discovering the truth in this is a lifelong process, an infinite path. But starting the journey requires just a simple shift in identity – to effort to reveal tzelem elokim in the moment out of love of Hashem and awe of Hashem, to serve Him and reveal His Glory. There is no way to measure the spiritual impact of the simple choice to ask Hashem to help lead us in the path we wish to go. Doing so is a reflection of emunah that immediately lifts us from the grip of the downward pulls of nature, politics, man-made social systems, ego, and more. It is the basis of monotheism that there is only Hashem Who is all powerful, all knowing and all present. He loves us. Let us arouse love in our hearts for Him, a love that is known and active in our souls. Let us speak to Him to tell Him that we know all there is in the world is Hashem and to please lead us in the path we wish to go, which is to infuse into the world shefa and bracha released from our identifying falsely with our self-referencing as what will bring us happiness.
And may we begin to see a new light. Today.
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