There have been stories of people who were adopted who did not know that they were adopted. They find out as adults and wonder about who their birth parents are. Usually, there is a sad story about why the parents gave up their child. Also, there could be horrific stories of neglect, abuse, and more, where the state took the child into protective custody and foster parents adopt.
We envision that the family taking the child in is a loving nurturing family, and that the child’s life will be stable and an improvement over the home of the birth parents.
What if that is not the case?
What if a child is taken into a home and their entire identity is changed?
This happened to Jewish children during world war 2. Parents left their children in the hands of nunneries in the hopes that their children would survive. After the war, someone went to all the locations and sang out shema. The children that cried were understood to be Jewish children who had been saved. But they were never told they were Jews. They were being raised as Catholics.
And what if a terrible story happened, where a child is stolen from a loving home and brought into a situation of child slave labor or worse? The damage done to that child and the loss of its loving home would be a permanent and irrevocable one.
A soul is directly connected to the most Loving Being, Hashem. Hashem decides that the soul should be sent forth into a body, under the domain of nature. In a body, the soul contends with elements and urges that are foreign and opposite to its compassionate pure holy state. Yet without a body it would not be alive. And thus, the soul serves the body and performs according to the will that a person has, even if the body is the driving force.
When we learn Torah, we learn how to set boundaries so that the body does not pursue worldly pleasures for their own sake. Torah teaches us how to bring Hashem and Torah into every moment. When the soul learns Torah or performs mitzvahs, it is aware of the pleasure of these acts even though the body may not be in touch with the pleasure.
If the soul could truly dominate the body, and the body would submit to the soul’s agenda to reveal Hashem’s compassion, the soul’s connection to Hashem would redeem it from the urges and interpretations of a physical body in a material world.
Would we want that? It is important to ask if we would want the soul to rule our hearts in order that we break free of the material and physical worldly pulls upon us.
Let’s say we answer yes, we are idealistic and would want it. There is a Torah pathway to help us get there.
But let’s say we answer no, that we don’t really believe we can, when pushed, rely on anything except natural powers. In such a situation, a person is not understanding that we live in a spiritual world that has material properties but that is still a spiritual world. The effort we make to comprehend the world in a way that is consistent with it being a spiritual world forges a bond with Hashem that gives us a role o being a conduit for His Love and Mercy.
I remember a time, not that long ago, when being a kind person meant that people would respect you and seek out your friendship. Then came along the idea that it is not what you know but who you know. And now it seems that friendships are more like business partnerships – who has the power to help me reach my goals? We went from emulating Hashem’s kindness and His involvement in our lives to using power and influence regardless of ethical values that might have to be overlooked or set aside. After all – nice guys finish last, right? And everyone is doing it, right? And don’t tell me what to do!
And where have we arrived?
Does anyone wish to find out who our true Father is? Are we interested in the relationship He desires from us, of serving Him and bringing His Compassion into the world?
Do we see that it is a false belief to think that there is anyone or anything other than Hashem Who is providing anything at all for our benefit?
Do we see that our survival is not up to us but relies only on Hashem Who gives us life and breath every moment?
If we consider that our survival depends only on Hashem and that we cannot take anything for ourselves that He does not deem good for us, would we be willing to spend some time considering how we go astray from revealing Hashem’s compassion in the moment? That consideration may shake us up, because it challenges our body’s interpretation of who is in control.
Nevertheless, we are not in control. We are creations and there is a Creator. When we struggle with the natural alternatives, we have the opportunity to make an eternal beautiful identity out of the mishaps and frustrations and pains and sufferings that often arise in life.
The one phrase to remember is “This is my opportunity to be like Hashem and ask Him to restore olam haba consciousness to the flow of emotions within me. This is my opportunity to arrange my feelings and then ask for compassion to flow through me to the situation, to the people, and into the world.”
What does it take? It takes a willingness to challenge who we are fundamentally. We are souls that have a body temporarily. Nevertheless, most of us grip the thinking of the natural urges as our true selves, believing letting go of that would be harmful to us, depriving us of life’s pleasures. These are untruths with which the yetzer hara keeps us eating out of its hands. Are we up to the task of waking up to how deeply kidnapped our souls are?
We have a loving Father Who wishes to bestow the most pleasurable and generous gifts to us. But we have to want it. We are in exile from Him and we have to wake up to the realization that we are the ones to make the effort to get out of the galus. The effort we have to make is to tell Hashem that we just want Him. That He is our will. And to please help.
It is not ust with our mouths that we utter the words that we just want Him. It must echo in our hearts’ emotions and in every fiber of our body, that we are not wanting the outcomes of the material and physical world alone. What we want is to be a conduit for His Compassion. It is okay to know that ifwe sincerely choose this, Hashem, the King, our Father, Who knows what is good for us, will give us what we need and want because we serve Him. Our motive is pure, to serve Hashem because we choose to feel and reveal Him, forming an eternal identity from a temporal one. Understanding the design that Hashem provides does not contradict.
If this is motivating, we need tools to help us recognize what blocks us and what conceals Hashem from us.
Once we accept that this could be the case, we have opened our mind to an expanded awareness of what a person can be.
All there is in the world is Hashem. He is the only being that is actually alive. He is the only Power. He is the only Being with any value or honor. Any honor due a man is because man is made in Hashem’s image and has a spark of Hashem called lifeforce enabling man to exist. When we respect another, we are basically respecting Hashem’s spark in that person.
Once we see that we are material intended to be a bridge where spirituality can enter the physical world in order to reveal Hashem’s compassion, are we ready to hear deep tools to help us?