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.
Shmuel 1 begins with the story of Hannah, who was barren and hurt terribly by the words of Penina.
Chapter 1:10: “She was feeling bitter, and she prayed to Hashem, weeping continuously. She made a vow and said “Hashem, Master of Legions, if You take note of the suffering of Your maidservant, and You remember me, and do not forget Your maidservant, and give Your maidservant male offspring, then I shall give him to Hashem all the days of his life, and a razor shall not come upon his head.”
Chapter 1:12: It happened as she continued to pray before Hashem that Eli observed her mouth Hannah was speaking to her heart – only her lips moved but her voice was not heard – so Eli thought she was drunk. Eli sad to her, “How long will you be drunk? Remove your wine from yourself”. Hannah answered and said, “No, my lord, I am a woman of aggrieved spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, and I have poiured out my soul before Hashem. Do not deem your maidservant to be a base woman – for it is out of much grievance and anger that I have spoken until now.” Eli then answered and said, “go in peace. The G-d of Israel will grant the request you have made of Him.”
What have we been told thus far? Hannah was shamed and humiliated and feeling the terrible pain of being barren. She poured out her heart in hisbodidus to Hashem, emptying her heart of the grievance and anger, in the personal prayer beseeching Hashem to remember her with a boy.
Shmuel HaNavi was born and Hannah brought him to Shilo when weaned. This is her song of prayer:
Chapter 2:1-10: My heart exults in Hashem, my pride has been raised through Hashem; my mouth is opened wide against my antagonists, for I rejoice in Your salvation. There is none as holy as Hashem, for there is none besides You, and there is no Rock like our G-d. Do not abound in speaking with arrogance upon arrogance, let not haughtiness come from your mouth; for Hashem is the G-d of thoughts and men’s deeds are accounted by Him. The bow of the might is broken, while the foundering are girded with strength. The sated ones are hired out for bread, while the hungry ones cease to be so; while the barren woman bears seven, the one with many children becomes bereft. Hashem brings death and gives life. He lowers to the grave and raises up. Hashem impoverishes and makes rich He humbles and He even elevates. He raises the needy from the dirt, from the trash heaps He lifts the destitute, to seat them with nobles and to endow them with a seat of honor – for Hashem’s are the pillars of the earth, and upon them He set the world. He guards the steps of His devout ones, but the wicked are stilled in darkness; for not through strength does man prevail. Hashem may those who contend with him be shattered, let the heavens thunder against them. May Hashem judge to the ends of the earth; may He give power to His king and raise the pride of His anointed one.”
Shmuel HaNavi anointed two kings, Shaul and Dovid. Did Hannah make a prophecy or were her prayers a blessing that Hashem accepted?
The commentary says that Hannah made a prophecy.
The pain she felt, from being barren along with the humiliation and shame she endured, brought much kedusha through her. She chose to direct this to a vessel – a vow to raise a son for Hashem. She emptied her heart of the painful messages and took the kedusha and made a vow.
What happened? Hashem answers her prayer and Hannah praises Hashem and gives another prayer, to make Shmuel’s life one of blessing for the Jewish people forever.
The kedusha that we feel may come in painful packages. It is for us to know and return to our heart that Hashem is One, there is No Other. We are shown to know so that we may pray with the wisdom of Hannah – that whatever messages may be latching onto kedusha does NOT limit the kedusha to those messages. Our purging of our thinking, urges and impulses knowing that we are shown to know that Hashem is One, Who surrounds and fills all the worlds, is an act of mercy upon that kedusha Our willingness to recognize how kedusha may flow through convoluted channels and to hold steady breaks us out of the mould of our natural urges and instincts to break INTO a place of compassion. And in so doing, the kedusha may move to its Source and be revealed in a pure form of compassion.
We have real free will. We are shown to know. There is No Other. The clump of soil from which we are made and to which we return after 120 has no end in and of itself. It is what we do with it while kedusha flows through us that matters.
May we see the wisdom of hisbodidus, of daily relationship in personal prayer with Hashem, returning in every breath to its Source kedusha that may enter our hearts with messages that draw us to our self-interest, for this is a decoy, a lure, an attempt to hijack that kedusha for darkness.
May we realize how deeply our real free will runs and approach the work with love for Hashem and awe in how He is One and the relationship that He has designed for us. May we ask that kedusha be a merit, a blessing, a healing, a teshuva, a cancellation of gezeira, and a satisfaction of harsh judgments for the soul as it exists in ourselves, our families, klal Yisrael and mankind.
And may we soon see a revelation of His compassion in the world.
Imagine yourself being lifted by a cloud the cloud uplifts you.
You begin to feel yourself moving upward. As you ascend, you begin to feel yourself feeling lighter and lighter.
A wave of relaxation penetrates your very being This cloud is going to take you to a place where you have been before. As you journey through the heavens above you sense excitement in the air. You hear a voice and it is telling you to prepare yourself for the giving of the Torah.
These are the last minutes before the work of preparation ends. Take the time as you come in, closer to your destination, to do a cheshbon hanefesh so that you reach that ultimate spiritual state to receive the Torah. The cheshbon hanefesh is not daunting. It is really an accounting of your soul to help purify it, to get ready to receive the Torah.
You see Har Sinai at a distance, and your excitement grows. You see the thunder and the lightning. and you hear the sound of the shofar. You sense the total peace and perfection of the world. You see the engravings on the stones. Cheirut are the letters you see. Cheirut meaning freedom but also engraved and you remember how free the Torah can make you feel when it is engraved in your mind and in your heart.
Everything right now is at a standstill. And you begin to hear the first commandment.
Anochi Hashem Elokecha!
Then the second commandment.
Lo echam elokim hachairim.
I am the Lord your G-d.
You shall not have another G-d.
You feel the power of Hashem’s voice penetrating you. You have now the time to meditate on Hashem is One, there is No Other G-d besides Him.
You begin to understand that the Torah is a gift given to you by Hashem and it is the most precious gift you can ever get.
Watch the Torah descend into your own hands. You have the whole Torah. Feel that oneness with the Torah as you feel one with Hashem, as you grasp the Torah you are grasping Hashem. Right now, you are re-establishing that connection. Take the time and think of any mitzvah, one you want to add to your life, one you want to blee neder do with extra glorification, with hidder. Make a commitment to take the time in your day to study the halachas of mitzvahs. the laws of the mitzvahs so you can comprehend the Torah more fully.
As you do you see a light shining down upon you. This light begins to surround you.
This is the Ohr Makif. And then sense that as it begins to enter your very soul, you feel a calmness.
You sense now the indwelling of this light and you feel it nourishing your soul. The highest and the best quality food for the soul. this is the ohr penimi the inner light Feel this ohr penimi, this internal light giving you that extra strength to fight against all the ruach shtuss, all the spirit of folly. This extra strength helps you also combat the yetzer hara. This light of Torah helps you withstand the tests of the moment. It helps you have greater power to follow the righteous ways of your G-dly soul.
Now see yourself so easily occupying yourself with the study of Torah. When you study Torah, you can call out to your Father. Father Father come near to me. The Father of Heaven and you feel closer and as you feel this closeness, it arouses in you a greater inspiration to continuously connect to Hashem with Torah
Now this connection is at an even deeper level. It is so powerful. It enables you to focus. To focus your attention on getting the strength from Hashem to help refine your nefesh habehemis, which this is the reason you are here on earth, your animal soul’s refinement.
Ponder the nature of your soul in order to know what area requires your main efforts. What are you weak in, where are your efforts needed the most. are you quick to anger, lustful or are you sluggish?
Now find ways to (in a loving and accepting and compassionate way to) wage war against this animal soul because now you have gained the power of this inner light through your study of Torah, Now you have the strength to conquer (its natural messages using real free will) and rid yourself of the garments of your animal soul( that hijack its ability to move in this world for Hashem’s Torah).
You realize your nefesh habehemis is not essentially evil. It’s root is in the supernal angels that serve Hashem with love and awe and you realize that your animal soul can yearn for spiritual matters instead of worldly things.
It is yearning. It is beginning to yearn for the G-dly.
This is your mission. This is your service.(And it will bring the pleasure the animal soul craves – an even greater pleasure, the pleasure for which we are created to experience.) To see that the time you take to study Torah helps you in so many crucial ways.(to help the animal soul submit.) The more you study the more you know what to do. The more you study, the more power is given to you to know what to do.
You are one with Hashem. You are grasping Hashem when you study Torah. He the Almighty G-d is embracing you and you are embracing Him through Torah. Feel that deep everlasting unity with HaKodesh Baruch Hu and don’t let go. Plead with your neshama, don’t let go of the Torah.
You now sense total peace and shelamos, total completion and you continually see this magnifying light surrounding you and penetrating you. As you do so, you see the cloud is beginning to approach you.
It is waiting to take you back down.
As you are about to descend with the cloud, you descend holding the Torah with you. And the radiating G-dly light is still surrounding you and is still internally with you. You begin to feel your physical body. You sense a readiness of your body to pursue spiritual matters. Every part of you yearns to do Hashem’s will. Feel and sense the hands that want to do G-d’s will. Sense your feet that will take you on your mission to do good.
Sense all your facial muscles, your lips that will move for frequently in your prayers, the lips that will more willingly spread the wellsprings of Torah, the lips that will smile more lovingly at others. Feel the sense in your head, the head that contains the brain that will motivate you to study Torah and reveal it to others. Finally sense your eyes, the eyes that will be shining with the ohr Makif and the Ohr Penimi because the lights of your Torah is surrounding you and the light of your Torah is inward within you.
When you open your eyes, you really see the good.
BACKGROUND TO THIS MEDITATION
Clear the way for the light
You see chassidus and our Rebbe of this generation has told us that all the work has been done, the polishing of the buttons metaphor of a soldier’s outfit that needs to get polished up before he meets the King, and this sometimes has been really confusing in this generation because it seems like okay we did all the work and now we can just wait, and not even dare to think that we have yet more to polish within ourselves,which leads to a bit of confusion for some.
And even if it is not so confusing to others, of course they may think, yes I would not be so angry with my child, or I could respect my husband more or daven with better kavannah or whatever it is they are trying to polish up in their life, the urgency of the moment may be diminished because this concept of all the work has been done and now we just have to mekabel pinei Moshiach, that it is the work we need to do.
What does it mean to be mekable pnei Moshiach?
It is working on changing our mindset to not be so limited in our perspectives – in any second He can literally come But when you take a deeper look at that, it is really getting ourselves ready for that day – any minute that Moshiach should come – meaning doing the inner work to banish the darkness by really shining in more light, (releasing the kedusha from within the grip of our animal soul and having the animal soul submit to being a channel for that kedusha to be returned to it’ Source – the animal soul agreeing to regarment the purified kedusha).
But most people don’t really know how to bring that G-dly light inwardly to affect a change in their middos(from its natural concealment within the animal soul to its revealed expression as compassion.). This is really a critical point that is missing in a lot of places, in yeshivos, in elementary schools – how to get that inner light to be able to dissipate the darkness (the messages that the kedusha is animating is NOT the kedusha itself…the messages can dissolve).
The Rebbe Rashab clearly points it out, you can learn all the chassidus and daven and have a good kavanna in everything but still be crass, arrogant and angry. The Rebbe Rashab points out that it is the hisboninus in davening that draws in the light of the Torah to be able to then affect a change in the innards of our middot. This is a critical factor that is literally a remedy for the ailing challenged souls of today, whether it is self-flagellation, or self-hatred, or guilt feelings for not being so good and then ending up like trying to battle the challenges within by escaping into the pleasures of the world because as the alter Rebbe says in tanya, that is a byproduct of not being able to cope with our failures and our weaknesses (we cope by realizing that we are the love concealed within the false messages and that we may use real free will to draw that love from the grip of the natural messages.) Not coping with our failures and escaping to addictions gives more power to them (the false messages concealing the love in our soul) in our soul because we just gave into it, because the animal soul is tricked by the yetzer hara ( with “rewards” such as you are right, you deserve better, you must control this situation, etc).
The yetzer hara wants us to be sinful not because of the sin but because he knows that this will lead us towards indulgences to escape the war within (over where our kedusha will flow…to darkness or to light. Obviously the yetzer hara wants the kedusha for sustaining the kelipot. Yet Torah gives us the awareness that our nefesh elokis is designed to repair the very matter at hand. The kedusha embedded within our urges and impulses contains the light Hashem may use to heal the matter. Our attraction to the messages of our animal soul are because it is older than our nefesh elokis and houses the feelings of the loving home in which we were raised, no matter how distorted that may be. The familiarity and the sense of love embedded within our understanding IS our nefesh elokis clinging to the messages that are in need of dissolving off it so that the kedusha concealed may bring the refuah. Comprehending that by shooting for our higher will – that knows at all times that Hashem is doing everything, is surrounding and filling all the worlds, loves us and is right here right now – gives us a way to experience the moment in an expanded way from where our animal soul may then submit to being a channel across which the spark may flow upwards, should Hashem find our hearts sincere in wanting to release the spark. We want to not want the messages we naturally feel. That is our prayer.)
The wholesome and most wholesome cognitive behavioral Tanya therapies look at all the avenues by which we can clear the way to allow this inner light to come into this world. If you learn and pray but are totally indulging in a very crass way, it can block the way of being inward. we need to look at all the aspects to really free the person and have that final geula within so that we can mekabel Moshiach.
Some people are so over-burnt from facing their darkness that they don’t have the strength any more to deal with it so they use this kind of mindset of “the work is already been done, All I have to do is get ready to mekabel Moshiach” and they don’t invest the time to really heal their middos. (The healing is the return of the kedusha to Hashem. Without the submission of the animal soul, our nefesh elokis continues to be concealed and feeding the darkness, may we soon realize this and feel empowered to hold steady as we make the shift.)
That is why there are so many challenges in our youth because of this real big dilemma. There are so many challenges in relationships and such high divorce rates. There are so many addictions and escapism Because the work is so seemingly daunting to them but it really isn’t.
It really is near and it is really all the tanya, clear and specific, very easy to do.
It is not like we have to go to the moon and back to find the real self. It is all within us. It is taking the steps to get rid of the blockages and barriers by doing avodas Hashem the way chassidus meant us to do.
Of course everything our Rebbe teaches us is to be taken literally and yes all the work has been done. We have polished even the buttons. But this was meant for the global work of the Jewish people since time immemorial. We have done, as a collective soul, as the collective group, our job to bring Moshiach.
The time is now.
This can be a little confusing for some and for some even though it may not be confusing it is still confusing of how to do that inner work to be ready for the Moshiach (to continue to release the holy sparks with that as the goal continues until Moshiach is revealed.)
CBTT, Cognitive Behavioral Torah Therapy, aims to help people deal with their various issues by releasing the neshamah, the soul powers, that reside within every Jew. CBTT includes our neshamah in the healing process and in the quest for happiness. Through the neshamah, one has infinite capacity for health, growth, prosperity, and success in every area.
CBTT is based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, but with the addition of Torah perspective and wisdom. To help someone, for example, overcome a fear of dogs, a CBT practitioner would assist the person to use guided imagery to imagine themselves staying calm in the presence of a dog; would take them to visit a dog; would try to uncover the basis of their fear. A CBTT practitioner would use all those tactics, but would also teach the person how to channel their faculty of imagination in a positive way and channel their animalistic tendency of fear into the positive energy of awe and wonderment, through prayer, meditation, and other spiritual practices. This is a torah based brain training from the teachings of the deepest parts of chassid is to help person reach their personal Geula !
The Alter Rebbe, the Baal HaTanya (author of the book of Tanya), as well as successive Rebbes, additionally taught that it is important to meditate on Hashem’s greatness every day. When we daven (pray), it is necessary for us to bond with Hashem, our Creator. Although this appears to demand a lot of introspection and work, it has been proven that those who follow in this path by learning and then meditating during tefillah (prayer), do connect to Hashem and thereby receive infinite power to deal with, and heal from, all the issues that are getting in the way of our personal Geula which will lead to our inner peace and happiness.
We learn emunah from asking ourselves, where does milk come from? The refrigerator? The store? The cow? The grass? The sun? These questions help us see that the Source is the Creator Himself.
Thus, if there is something that is lacking within our field of vision, in our lives, in our hearts, Who do we turn to?
Hashem wants relationship with us.
Adom HaRishon saw the potential of the world ready to sprout, but it required that Adom ask Hashem for rain.
Just as the planet spins on its own axis, it also revolves around the sun. This is an analogy for each person on earth. We are totally responsible for our unique universe. However, we must not forget that our entire orientation is revolving around Hashem as One in the center.
He is the Source of all happiness. He, and He alone.
This simple truth eludes us when we experience despair. What is the despair for?
Is it to claim that we know what is best and then attempt something that might hurt ourselves or another? Or is it to bring us to comprehend that if such a despair is felt, then Hashem is asking of us to find our happiness in serving Him, through accepting His Will, despite how our own unique universe feels like it may be faltering. Tears. Pain. Loss. Horror.
So many emotions full of kedusha, rotating around our understanding of our universe. What happens when we cry out to Hashem and tell Hashem that we understand our primary role is to release this kedusha from our unique universe so that it may be restored to its pristine compassionate state.
How do we do this?
I recognize that this is an emanation from Hashem and it is wonderous in my eyes. I accept that there will be no natural happiness until Hashem’s compassion revealed in this world becomes the new natural. Therefore, I submit all of my thinking into His Love and find my happiness within His Will. My pursuit is to use real free will to do what I may with each breath to thank and praise and to ask to be a channel to reveal His Compassion, the universal currency of the entire creation.
Let us raise the bar on our pursuit of happiness to the joy and gladness that will be revealed when a new light shines, and may our entire life be devoted to mitzvahs and kindnesses with that in mind, without distraction for what we may also enjoy but not as an end in itself. Hashem in the center. He is One.
What if we properly understood our natural thinking as the gold mine of kedusha given to us to extract and re-unify with Hashem’s compassion? Would we muster every ounce of our strength to do so?
What if we properly understood that our resistance to mustering every ounce of our strength to do so is merely a “reward” from the natural thinking for NOT doing so – and thereby keeping our nefesh elokis available to nourish the natural world according to unrectified nature rather than to nourish the spiritual realms which then rectify nature?
The Vilna Gaon tells us that we came to this world to rectify our unrectified characteristics and if not for this effort, why do we need to be in this world?
How could it be that we came here to break our unrectified nature without it being the very best for us? Is this not what the natural thinking tells us – that if we break our nature, it will hurt us, it will not be good for us, it is unhealthy?
In Berachos 5b, there are several stories of great Rabbis who healed others. How? They asked the person who was ill – do you want the suffering? The patient responds, I want neither the suffering nor the reward.
The suffering is our condition of self-interest. The reward is the natural messages that reinforce our self-interest, such as you are right, you need to be in control, you have to protect yourself from damage, it isn’t fair or just. These “rewards” when we investigate them tend to be saying that our view is the correct view and that what is happening is not full of love.
This is our natural view.
See how it cycles between despair (something is lacking that I need or desire) and arrogance (I am good and right and I know better, I know what love is, and it is not this!) Feel how these two kelipas cycle between each other and build a charge that keeps our thinking distressed and keeps us in those distressing thoughts. Our soul is in those thoughts, which are feeding the kelipas, as you can see.
Yet there is also a center and a hollow to the whirling, and that is where our intellectual understanding as the opportunity to “run.” Ratzon and ratza are the same word – run and will. When we are willing to admit the very painful confession that we are in a place of self-image based on messages from the Soton that it is projecting through us, we begin to see how to “get out” of the storm. RUN! WILL to not want it.
Let’s take a look at why we do naturally want it. The messages our natural thinking develops comes from a very early time when we learned what love was from our families, teachers, friends and experiences. Our natural will develops and forms impressions, and our nefesh elokis animates it, albeit bound and gagged. Nevertheless, this thinking, even though we often feel distress, is familiar because it feels like the love we were in when our early environment formed our impressions. THIS LOVE IS THE KEDUSHA THAT WE ARE SENT HERE TO BE A CHANNEL TO RETURN TO ITS PRISTINE FORM. By breaking our nature, meaning the messages that conceal this nefesh elokis from a pure expression of comspasion, we merely are removing the self-image formed so that our true self, made in the image of Hashem, may re-garment this precious love and reflect it into this world.
Hashem designs our nefesh elokis to make this repair – to be a channel to bring this concealed compassion back to Him. We are not the ones doing it. What is our role?
Will. We recognize our thinking as being charged due to the despair and the gaiva that naturally conceal the nefesh elokis. We do not despair because of being in this low world! We thank Hashem for the breath and the opportunity to be a channel! And then we confess where we are, grabbing the opportunity of life to see ourselves as a baby in Hashem’s loving arms that is able, through love for Hashem, to bond with His Love. Hashem You surround everything. Hashem You fill everything. Hashem my will is to not want what I am thinking or feeling. I want neither the suffering nor the reward!! I want to be a channel for this kedusha to be returned to You! I want that I not be satisfied with the known pleasures of the natural thinking. I want to submit because I have the emunah to know the truth – that all there is in the world is You and You are all love. I want to submit because I trust that in so doing, the compassion that You send will enter my heart and I will have the privilege and greater pleasure of enclothing in acts of compassion that reveal You. Please help me pull back the despair and the arrogance that are generating pain and suffering even if they feel like pleasures to the natural thinking. I hear the false messages and these are they…..(articulate each one and feel the charge and the “reward”). I wish for the kedusha trapped there to be returned to You because I have love for Hashem and gratitude for life and do not want Hashem’s Shechina to wallow in the low place of self-image. It is painful for me to admit where I am but I do this because I know that in truth, I am a nefesh elokis that is a part of Hashem directly and that this self-image is only an opportunity available during a lifetime to walk past its tempting rewards towards You. This is my will.
The run, the will, is our effort.
The return, which Hashem does, is that the redeemed spark enters our heart and we are given the opportunity to re-garment it, to express it as compassion. This is how we form our eternal identity, as a being that remembers while alive that Hashem is doing everything and that He is One.
May the sparks we release return to the One Light and be a merit, a healing, a teshuva, a blessing, a cancellation of gezeiras, and a satisfaction of din for the soul as it exists in ourselves, our families, klal yisrael and the world. May we see the revelation of Hashem’s pure light in this world.
The Ramchal teaches that Hashem desires to give us the ultimate good – the sensing of His Love – for all eternity. So that we do not experience a sense of shame in receiving such a gift without effort, Hashem gives us real free will in this world to remain focused on Him over our natural will.
Wh sat happens naturally though is that we begin to feel a sense of shame from external influences in this world. It is an endless list. What is it for?
If we think of ourselves as the physical being that we are, a solid block of an identity, shaming in this world is devastating and destructive. But if we open ourselves so that the lightning strike of shaming comments passes through us and circles back towards Hashem – with our free willed intention of depleting the kedusha in the hands of the Soton that pulls us towards being a solid block able to be damaged by shame in this world – we actually make the choice of a lifetime that frees us for all eternity from the bread of shame. Every thought is being sent from Hashem in order to give us choice. We may cling to Hashem is One and we are part of He that cannot be shamed OR I must react.
Rabbi Asher Freund explains h0w good humiliation is for us for this reason. It breaks off of our natural thinking the misconceptions about our this world identity, often flooded with self-image. This frees our natural mind to become the channel to flow that same kedusha into the world by choosing to garment it in a blessing or a mitzah or an act of compassion.
Imagine if we experience riveting shame from someone and instead of reacting we say thank you Hashem, may the kedusha in the messages I am experiencing be returned into the world as a merit, a healing, a blessing, a teshuva, a cancellation of gezeira, and a satisfaction of din for the soul as it exists in myself, my family, klal yisrael and the world. May the experience of shame no longer be powerful over us in a negative way, but only to help us be a channel for its inner light in a manner that reveals Your Love. To be able to make such a statement reflects great emunah and bitachon in the true structure of the world. Hashem is One. He is doing everything. We are temporarily here to serve as a conduit of His Compassion. We are given the Torah to recognize what our role is, and to lovingly serve Him, knowing that our nefesh elokis is experiencing the pleasure of connection to Him at all times regardless of how covered over our natural will may be sending us confused messages.
May we each be aware of the light we conceal when we shame others. May we each be aware of the light we conceal when we believe we are shameful. May we realize instead our position of malchus, of humility and dependence on the King and see what comes to us for the request He is sending – be a channel, submit to the purpose for which this is sent, to bring the kedusha from a raw state to a revealed state through what we say and do. When we comprehend the place our nefesh elokis has been sent in order to serve Hashem, we realize that our natural responses are externalities and not our essence, despite how devastatingly pervasive and throttling it may feel. That power is kedusha Hashem is asking us to channel into the world through our speech and deeds through a mitvah or learning or prayer or an act of compassion. We will to go above what we want to do naturally. This is recognition of Hashem, and activates His Love which utilizes our nefesh elokis to then do the repair.
He does everything except we recognize Him and the design. This is our entire effort and our great opportunity while alive.
May we train ourselves in hisbodidus to see our gut reactions and natural will that are truly externalities with kedusha for us to bring to expression in Torah, avoda and chesed.
And may we realize how our choice to do so brings a spark of light into the world that is eternal and healing. Shamed or redemption from bread of shame – how shall we live?
Just as a ray of the sun shines into our world, so too Hashem designs a nefesh elokis and shines it into this world encased in a body. The immensity of a ray of light hewn from the Throne of Honor is beyond our comprehension. Its spiritual powers are emunah, taanug and ratzon, faith, pleasure and will. The pleasure that the nefesh elokis experiences includes delighting in the presence of Hashem and the joy – the spiritual pleasure of connection – when we do a mitzvah. These pleasures may not be felt in our physical reality.
The power of the pleasure that the nefesh elokis becomes enclothed within the power of will, and our will has become tainted due to the eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Thus, what the nefesh elokis seeks for pleasure may be frustrated by pleasure being re-directed by corrupted primal will towards self-image. What we run after, our ratzon, can bring us to the consciousness of Hashem or to self-consciousness. Our natural state is self-consciousness and each year we attempt to bring another pattern to consciousness of Hashem.
Knowing this design and the true pleasure – being one with Hashem’s Torah and compassion – helps us hold steady as the pleasure that is the inner part of our will expresses its self-interest. For example, let’s say we are hurt or offended and we rush to judgment and a retaliatory natural response – this is an amazing flow of kedusha only the “pleasure” is buried under messages of self-interest! Hashem is sending, in these challenges, kedusha. It can be experienced as pleasure from serving Hashem IF we recognize the opportunity when it is concealed by a decoy – a message of self-interest. The challenge is pregnant with kedusha. By recognizing it is kedusha from Hashem coming to us through a decoy message, we lovingly look upwards to Hashem and tell Him that we wish to use this kedusha for mitzvahs and compassion, not for the outcomes that the decoy self-interest messages are presenting. THIS TAKES GREAT EMUNAH AND CONFIDENCE THAT HASHEM IS DOING EVERYTHING.
Emunah is faith that all there is in the world is Hashem, Who is doing everything.
Bitachon is trusting that all He wants is for us to look upwards, confess and declare our sincere will to infuse a mitzvah with this kedusha, so that the light may flow into the world.
Ratzon, our will, means that we have the emunah to run to Him in this way. Teshuva, the returned kedusha, means we have the bitachon to trust that the light HAS been returned to Him and we are confident that a positive influence has been created. We do not know what this looks like but we comprehend that Hashem, when we are sincere, activates our nefesh elokis in a way that channels the kedusha to Him and receives the light for enclothing in thought speech or deeds.
May we comprehend how huge it is to be a nefesh elokis in a body even though our role is will, emunah, trust and mitzvahs. May we be able to hold the paradox of every fiber of our being as it receives the messages of the decoy and is poised to strike. May we realize that such challenges mean that our soul is in a vault and that we sincerely want our soul to be released from its constraints so that it truly fills our hearts and is expressed into the world. This takes comprehension of how Hashem has made us and trust that He is doing everything else except will to choose His Will, and love and awe of Him.
If only we could truly begin understanding ourselves as spiritual beings Hashem designs to do this repair – to bring this kedusha to Him – from the raw materials of our physical existence. Imagine how joyful our lives would be with such trust and a palpable sense of Hashem’s love.
What is it that we are yearning for if not to feel the loving embrace of Hashem – wellbeing, safety, fulfillment, empowerment?
What is in the way? Could it be that what is in our way is our own concoction of what would bring us that wellbeing, safety, fulfillment and empowerment?
What if we truly could comprehend that what is in the way is actually concealing the kedusha from Hashem to bring us wellbeing, safety, fulfillment and empowerment? What if we trusted that this Infinite Light of His Blessing comes into the world in a concealed way and is released through our free willed effort to purge all of our own concocted ideas because we have emunah and trust in Torah and Hashem?
Does that feel very distant? Do we have objections to that? Would those objections perhaps also be lined with the kedusha we need to release in order to experience the wellbeing, safety, fulfillment and empowerment that we yearn for?
If we are open to this idea, we begin to comprehend how the natural intellect is rooted so high and is filled with Infinite Light that, if we attach it with awareness that Hashem is One to Torah and His Compassion, that light can then be enclothed in our speech and deeds.
This is an infinite path. There is always another step towards the Infinite Loving Creator. Our role is to take those steps and with each step, draw the truth deeper into our hearts so that we may comprehend our lives and the reactions we have. Doing so helps us so much when interacting. For we are all cast into a constricted place where the tornado of taiva and gaiva swirl us towards self-interest and away from expressing the compassion flowing through the nefesh elokis to us.
Each effort may be tumultuous and filled with obstacles due to influences regarding how we are treated and what that means. The more we break our emotional reactions down into the elemental pieces of taiva and gaiva and see how the light is spinning us away from Torah and compassion, the deeper we may pray to Hashem that the same kedusha that is driving us into a whirlwind instead flow through us as compassion. To do this, we need emunah and bitachon.
Those who read this blog probably notice that I have shared these same thoughts for years. The Torah is true. Each time I share it, it is from a different level of understanding. When I look back at how I say it four years ago, and how I say it now, I see the Torah that says it but I also see that the ways that I trust this have widened from consistent effort over time.
This is important in our relationships with others. We are all on a journey. We are all clinging to Torah. May Hashem give us the insights we need to see our inner struggles as the same as each other’s inner struggles and constrict ourselves and objectively see that in the recognizing of the struggle is an inherent activation of love for Hashem that we may then enclothe into words of kindness and compassion.
The raw natural responses that we feel which take the Infinite Light and place that into words of judgment, shame and blame hold the very Light that may be enclothed in compassion, relieving each of the parties and the situation. Torah teaches this to us. But to really see this requires a willingness to consider that the intensity of what we feel is distinct from the messages it is concealed within. We have real free will to ask Hashem for that same light to flow instead into Torah, avoda and compassion. We sincerely submit our being, our heart, out of emunah and bitachon. It may not go the way we originally wish it would go, but it is all good, naaseh v’nisma.
This week of malchut, Rosh Chodesh Sivan, may we take the light that we have redeemed during the counting of the omer and bring it into understanding and compassion. And may we trust “we were shown to know” and experience love for Hashem and a sense of wellbeing, safety, fulfillment, empowerment.