Since it’s Israel’s Independence Day this week, also known as Remembrance Day, my MMM will be about the Land. The land of Israel is called, “the Land,” because it is THE, unique land, a microcosmic representation of all the lands in the world.
I want to talk about the Land. , it’s“above-nature” aspect , and how we have to synchronize ourselves to that aspect when we live in Israel.There are a lot of above-nature aspects in the Land, which you don’t find in other places, other than the Land of Israel.
1) Our Sages teach us from a verse in Torah that G-d has his eyes on every person in every land. But here, in Israel, it’s different. In other lands, there’s more of an indirect connection with G-d, but in the Land it’s more direct. We can feel G-d watching us.
2) The Land is considered to be the Sephirah of Malchut, which means it has nothing of its own. It only has what G-d gives to it, and to its people. The Land is, therefore, extremely humble, subdued and lowly. It is in a position to receive. To live properly in the Land, we, the residents, must have the same qualities, to match up with it.
3) It’s said that Torah, the Divine wisdom of the Land, is unlike any other land. I know people who learn Torah outside of the Land, and when they come to the Land, their progress speeds up twenty-fold. There is wisdom in the Land itself. In terms of Kabbalah and in terms of the world, it’s on a higher level.
4) The Land is considered to be located in a higher world. Other countries are located in the spiritual world of Asiyah, and the Land is located in the spiritual world of Yetzirah, which puts it closer to G-d. Just to be in the Land puts you closer to G-d.
5) The Land is considered to have a unique persona. Like each human being, the Land has a personality because it’s the place where the Shechinah dwells. And the Land relates to you like another person, like a close relative. You treat the Land right and it will treat you right.
6) The Land is considered to be the center of the world and the soul of the world. The closer you get to Jerusalem, and once in Jerusalem, the closer you get to the Holy of Holies, the more you feel you’re experiencing the soul of the world. All the souls in the world are deriving their life force from this land. You can feel it’s the center of all.
7) It’s a land that is acquired with suffering. Our Sages tell us three things are acquired with suffering: 1) Torah, 2) the World to Come, and 3) the Land. A line from the popular song about New York, “… if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere…” is very applicable to the Land of Israel, too. It can be very tough to make it here. But if you have faith, you can make it, no matter what.
8) The Land is so holy that every new step you take is considered to be a mitzvah. It’s a whole new connection to G-d, only possible in the Land itself.
9) The Land was acquired by the Israelites from the Canaanites. In Hebrew, the root word of Canaan means “submissive.” You need a submissive mindset here, meaning submissive to G-d and to the Land.
10) There’s a direct connection between the physical and the spiritual in the Land. So, the way you act affects what the Land gives back to you. Spiritually, you are adept, humble and holy. The Land will reflect those qualities back to you and double them.
11) There’s a direct connection between the higher worlds and the lower worlds. We feel as though we’re walking in parallel worlds, with G-d’s hand involved in every move we make.
This week’s MMM is about Pesach, and I’m calling it Get Yourself Free. It’s about making the most of the holiday. I’ll start with some of the basics, what happened at the time of the first Pesach, the practices of Seder night, and then move into the mindset about how to achieve freedom.
From the perspective of Kabbalah, Pesach is based on a 130-year time period when Adam, separated from his wife, spilled seed. Adam was the composite of all humanity, and the seed was incarnated into complete generations, and ultimately made it into the generation of the slaves, Bnei Israel. They went into Egypt and were enslaved for 210 years, which served to rectify the seed spilled by Adam, with a lot of purging and suffering involved.
Their story reveals a slave mentality for 209 years, and people sunk into a lot of tumah, the 49 gates of evil. Then, G-d planted in them a desire to get out of their situation, because people in such a dark place usually don’t know there’s a way out.
Their desire for freedom expressed itself with primal screams, and non-verbal articulations asking for help. G-d told Moses, “I heard their screams,” although he had instigated their circumstances, he also heard their cries. Then G-d told Moses to speak to Pharoah and say, “Let my people go.”
Moses deliberated long and hard about whether he was worthy to be the messenger, but in the end, he did it. And what followed was about a year’s worth of open miracles, which the world has not seen since then, and probably won’t see until the Messianic times. It will be sort of an emulation of the coming-out-of-Egypt process once again.
The Pesach miracles were all about revealing G-d’s presence in the world, and in a people who really didn’t understand G-d’s presence for what it is, who weren’t deserving of it or ready for it. But G-d wanted it to happen at this particular time, because it was rock-bottom, so to speak. And G-d has a timetable for bringing in salvation.
The seed of a plant, decomposing in the ground, must deteriorate to a certain point in order to grow, but can’t go too far or it won’t sprout, grow and blossom at all. So, too, with the Israelites. They had to get to a certain point of slave mentality, and then they had to be brought out in above-nature, miraculous ways.
Miracles of the 10 plagues and miracles of crossing the Red Sea are miracles “on the ground,” but there were also miracles of the spirit. Those spiritual miracles involved people raised up into expanded levels of consciousness, having and extraordinary, inside perspective, which went far beyond all their preparations. They received pure gifts from above.
In a nutshell, that’s what happened. The Israelites got themselves free, and they got out just in time. Not all of them got out, in fact, most of them did not get out. Some got out, and that became the Bible story. We know from the study of Kabbalah that the Bible stories are just the bare bones of what happened, a remnant of the real lesson we’re supposed to apply to our lives.
On Seder night, we get together and talk about the historical story of what happened on the first Pesach, but also to get a sense of our own journey coming out of slavery into freedom, on our own lives.
We go through it, and we set our table with signs of both freedom and slavery, matzah and maror, the yetzir ha tov and the yetzir ha ra, expanded and restricted consciousness. We retell the story, year after year, and we speak our way into consciousness.
Our Sages say that the more one talks about it, the more praise-worthy it is. The very words we say are down-loading belief in G-d into our souls, especially on Seder night, but also at all times. It’s a very special, very elevated night. And the discussion around the Seder table is not just for the highest intellects, it’s for everyone in the family.
It’s a family affair, and the family has to go through the normal channels of father to son, mother to daughter, etc. The home is one of the most sanctified places for the Jewish people, and the Seder is one of the most sanctified ceremonies we have in our home. It’s not done in the synagogue, and it wasn’t done in the Holy Temple, although people came there for the days of Pesach, but the Seder is conducted at home.
Home is where the heart is, where the faith is, and it’s where G-d is, so that’s the foundation. That’s where we drink the cups of wine and eat the matzah of freedom, and we tell the story of freedom. Basically, we are downloading freedom into our souls. Pesach is the holiday of freedom. That’s the essence of the holiday – to get ourselves free.
According to Jewish teachings, Pesach is not the only time we are to speak about freedom. We’re supposed to do it twice a day, every day, with special mentions on other holidays and on Shabbat. This is such a basic thing a human being is supposed to do, to break free of those things that are holding us down.
That’s what this world is all about. So, I put together some original tools I use to get myself free:
- I give it over to G-d. Whatever I can’t do for myself, I say, “G-d, please do this for me.”
- I choose to want what I do have, instead of what I don’t have. I embrace what I do have.
- I detach myself from things involving the senses, seeing, tasting, touching. I close off some of those senses to free up my spiritual senses.
- I keep a conversation going with G-d at all times. Ask G-d questions and receive the answers. Ask G-d for favors and receive the favors, the gifts. Open yourself up to the gifts. Be an active, best friend kind of partner with G-d, and watch how reality develops for you.
- I see Torah as G-d’s word, filtered down so we can grasp it, and the more we connect with it the more we become free.
- I expect to have active faith in G-d, bitachon, trust in G-d to come through for me. The more I have it, the more free I become, because I’m not afraid of the consequences. Even when it seems there’s no way through, I trust G-d and expect to make my way through.
- I often choose to give up the struggle, to Let Go and Let G-d. When it’s all said and done, it’s G-d who is getting things done, even through my decisions, choices, innovations and motivations. But G-d is the one who is planting those things inside of me. So, where I let go of the struggle and let G-d come through, that’s when I become the most free that I can be.
For this week’s MMM I’m going to explore the soul, from the perspective of how it feels on the inside. Meaning, how we experience the soul, not intellectual definitions of the soul, not theory, but a description of the feeling level.
I’ll be drawing on the work of Rabbi Avraham Issac Kook, called The Lights of Holiness. He explains there are two kinds of people who experience the soul, the normal ones and the enlightened ones. I collected these ideas from Rabbi Kook, because he was the one who knows, and also knows how to explain it to us.
The first list applies to normal people (universal) and it is my own. I am qualified to provide it.
And the second list applies to the rare enlightened ones, which comes from Rav Kook, who is qualified to provide it. Rav Kook was a unique person, one of very few who could describe what it feels like to be enlightened as a human being.
Universal Soul Experiences
- a) when you do an extraordinary good deed and feel very good about it, or have overcome doing something wrong, and have a wonderful feeling of satisfaction
- b) when you feel guilt over doing something very wrong
- c) when you feel a very deep longing, and you sometimes don’t even know why
- d) when you suddenly feel that your life is not going in the right direction, and that you must change
- e) when you first wake up in the morning and you have a very strong feeling about yourself (good or bad) based on what you have or have not accomplished or become recently
- f) when you feel embarrassed about being exposed at doing things below your level
- g) when you feel a strong fear or intuition about losing or harming something precious to you
- h) when you feel a powerful drive or craving to attain a spiritual state of being such as wisdom, happiness, will-power, holiness, etc.
- i) when you feel all tingly inside when you exchange an expression of love with a beloved one, or anyone for that matter
- j) when you are in a situation of ‘do or die,’ and you feel an overpowering need to survive
- k) when you feel a need to perpetuate your unique teachings, insights and other spiritual contributions, to people now in your lifetime, and to others who will receive them after you pass on
- l) when you feel a strong desire to extend eternally and infinitely the most powerful of your spiritual experiences and accomplishments
Experiences of the Enlightened Ones (notes from Rav Kook’s writings)
- a) the inner Soul drive to know yourself and to react properly to your inner summons
- b) the inner Soul drive to become so clear and enlightened, that you know that a similar awakening of the masses is sure to follow
- c) the inner drive to purify and intensify all your intentions, until you see that most of your intentions manifest in reality
- d) the inner awakening and knowledge that the true experience of enlightenment is not something that you anticipate experiencing in the future, but rather, something you are constantly immersed in now
- e) the inner awareness that your unique essential self or Soul spark must be completely free to express itself with maximum originality and authenticity
- f) the inner drive to liberate your unique ability to create without any interference
- g) the inner wisdom to distinguish when to detach yourself from others, to strive for deeper enlightenment, and when to get involved with others, those who need you, though they be on a much lower spiritual level than you are
- h) the inner drive to be in a constant state of amazement and celebration of the Divine wonder that emanates all the time
- i) the inner consciousness of knowing that all there is, is in a state of continual becoming
- j) the inner concern for the well-being of the whole Universe and everyone in it and everyone that you personally encounter
It’s a powerful idea to consider what it feels like to experience the soul. Everybody is talking about the Soul, but we don’t really stop to consider the feelings associated with it. This is my attempt to make these feelings real.
What I’d like focus on this week for our MMM is what I call Newness.
This week we enter into a new time zone. It’s the Spring celebration of the creation of the world, which parallels the Fall celebration we call Rosh Hashana. The Spring celebration occurs on Adar 25, which is a creation day. That’s definitely Newness.
And next Shabbat is Rosh Chodesh Nisan, the beginning of the month of Nisan. And, as Torah describes, it, this is THE New Beginning, as there are ten crowns, or ten things that began on this day in the past. The service of the Temple and selection of the Kohen, for two examples.
It’s also the beginning of the New Year of Months, the first of 12 months of the new year. The word “chodesh” corresponds to the word “kiddush” in Hebrew. It’s a chief renewal time of year, a Newness time of the year.
It’s a time of Chesed. There are 72 days between the the 25th of Adar until Shavuot, so it’s a period of time which corresponds to pure abundance and goodness, of free, effortless Chesed. It’s a type of Newness which comes without our own efforts; it’s just there for the receiving, if you choose to receive it.
It’s a Newness which is always characterized by Spring, because when Spring comes in it allows us to try out new things. It’s a time of birthing, of renewal and Newness.
Newness is a synonym for the word “beginning.” And beginning informs us about a lot of spiritual powers that are available in this particular time of year. I think the unique aspect of beginning is this – when G-d creates something, in the world, in Torah, in anything, G-d already has the end established in the beginning.
So, when G-d created the world, he saw what the end would be, from the very beginning. The Newness power of the beginning reveals the end, and unravels a whole path for us to go there.
Also, everything goes after the beginning. If you have a strong beginning of a day, of a year, of a relationship, or whatever it may be, that strong beginning will determine the continuation of the process you’re going through.
One of the explanations for the Hebrew people coming out of Eqypt was the beginning. It was the beginning of a nation, of the Jewish people, and it happened so quickly they didn’t even have time to let their dough rise. That’s why we eat unleavened matzot that doesn’t rise.
In order to facilitate a beginning, we needed something detached from time, something extra-ordinary or supernatural so that our whole identity as a nation would be above-nature. Also we have a beginning that’s a core point, one that motivates everything else we do.
Since G-d looked into the Torah and created the world, Torah is the inner code of life, all the wisdom of life and all that happens in life. The more you go back to the beginning, the more all-inclusive that beginning is. Inside of Bereshit, the “in the beginning” first parsha, first verse and first word, everything else that follows is inter-included within it. That shows the power of beginning as well.
The beginning is also something that determines the way you will act throughout the rest of the process. When you jump out of bed saying, “thank you, Hashem,” you’re going to have a happy, “thank you, Hashem,” kind of day. Or, you can have the opposite, if that’s what you choose.
A beginning may tend to make things difficult, too, which is probably designed to get us to leave our comfort zones and lead us into a higher place. And a beginning is an entranceway, a portal to “beyondness,” a place of transcendence, a place we’re never been. That’s the power of beginnings as well.
These are some of the ideas for my Newness MMM, hopefully we’ll start this week.
I’m going to look at some of the tools we can use for the upcoming holiday of Purim. The first one involves Megillat Esther, which literally means the book we read on Purim, the Book of Esther.
But, like everything else on Purim, you’ve got one thing on the surface, and one thing that’s deeper, beneath the surface. Even the meaning of the word Megillah indicates a revelation. Megillah means “revealed,” and Esther means “hidden,” so put together they identify the revelation of what is hidden.
Revelation of what’s hidden is a common theme for the holiday of Purim, which asks us to reveal every hidden aspect of our lives. It sets up that challenge in our lives. Some of these manifestations that come about on Purim are:
- We drink wine or alcohol, and once we drink, it serves as sort of a “truth serum,” and that which is hidden inside us, comes out. The numerical value of the Hebrew word for wine is the same as the Hebrew word for secret. So, we have to drink to bring out that hidden part of ourselves.
- And, further, we are supposed to drink until we don’t even know anymore, meaning we drink until we get to the point of knowing we know that we don’t know. And that’s a big revelation.
Essentially, we get to the point where we know so much, we finally know what we don’t know. That’s discovery of the “not knowing,” which is a very high and revelatory state of being.
- We get to a place where, because we are tapping into such high energy, we are in a state of pure trust with G-d, and anyone who reaches out their hand for a donation, to receive charity, we just give it to them. We don’t make an investigation into their motives, whether they are worthy or not, like we do the rest of the year. On Purim we simply trust, and we tap into this pure trust in Divine Providence, and we reach out for that.
- By extension, we can ask for anything from G-d and he will give it to us as well. We can give unconditionally to others as G-d gives to us. That is another one of the “revealing the hidden” customs of Purim.
- What seemed to be a certain, horrible fate, even a holocaust, that would be happening to the Jewish people at that time, and all kinds of nasty scenarios that would have happened to us actually happened to our enemies. Which shows that Purim is a time when exactly the opposite of what we think will happen is what will happen. This is the source of a lot of the irony and turn-arounds and humor that happens on Purim, meaning what happens is exactly the opposite of what was expected to happen.
All of the Hebrew names of the months of the year are different permutations of the Divine four-letter name, and represents what level of Divine Providence is going to happen on that level. But Purim is almost exactly the opposite; it’s backwards. Meaning, it’s looks to be upside down and backwards, but it’s actually revealing the highest light. And that’s a revealing of the hidden as well.
- Our arch-enemy is Amalek, who represents the understanding of the hiddenness, and blinding us to revealing the hidden. Amalek represents happenstance, and in the various places he’s mentioned it Torah he represents doubt, coldness, the opposite of passion. He represents the exact opposite of what true revelation elicits, meaning nothing is happenstance and there is no doubt, and that there is passion in all our lives. That’s how we fight off the spiritual and physical arch enemy of ours.
- Purim is the day when we reveal a very, very high, Divine level of Sefirotic energy called Atik Yomim, the Ancient of Days. It’s the same kind of energy that came down when we crossed the Red Sea. When we make a choice to act miraculous, like a mirror’s reflection, G-d acts the same way, and does miracles for us. He parts the Red Sea and he does the Purim miracles. And that energy is available for us now, too. That’s what Queen Esther meant when she said, “If I die, I die, if I’m lost, I’m lost.” And then she went in there and made miracles happen. This shows Purim as a miracle-making time as well.
- Purim is a time for wearing masks, which is a revelation in that the mask represents the hiding of your true self. We want to get to the understanding that all of life is sort of a hiding, and on Purim, by tapping into the hiding we are tapping into our real selves as well.
- It’s a holiday that never stops. While other holidays may change in the future, but the eternal holiday of Purim will never stop, because of the depth of this revealing of hiddenness. The whole month of Adar, the month we’re in right now, is a month which increases in joy, until it reaches a crescendo on the day of Purim. In any way we can we have to find ways to be happy and to have joy, and to find laughter as well.
These are some of the things we are meant to tap into, try to understand and to incorporate into our life on Purim, and all year long.
This week’s MMM hearkens back to some of my earlier work. I call it My Legacy, and it’s about leaving a spiritual will of sorts, a collection of my most important life lessons. I’m going to present a few subtopics for you now, starting with my Rebbes, Masters and Teachers. This is about the essential points I got from them and that I want to leave to posterity.
- First is the Kotsk Rebbe, and what I learned from him is truth; speaking truth, intending truth, feeling truth and acting with truth, and the power of doing those things.
- Next is the Slonimer Rebbe, and his Sefer Netivot Shalom. What I learned and still learn from him is connection to G-d, devekut, and the foundations of Chasidut, including finding your calling in life.
- Next is the Baal Shem Tov, and what I learned from him is connecting to G-d in all aspects of life, 24/7.
- Next is Rab Yitzchak Bracha, and what I learned from him is how to be inside of Torah, 24/7. It’s the cure-all for everything, meaning never to leave Torah and to live inside that world to reap the benefits of living above nature.
- Next is Rav Schmuel Darzi, and what I learned from him is how to be a spiritual warrior, in every sense of the word.
- Next is a person who is still alive and well, and that’s Rav Yehuda Scheinfeld, and what I learned from him is how to be an individual in a world of followers. I learned to do my own thing in a holy kind of way.
- The next is also a person who is still alive and well, and that’s Rabbi Aryeh Nivin, and what I learned from him is how to amass from all that I learn and gather and create a huge database of knowledge to draw from my entire life. Another central lesson I learned from him is to live a life of Paradise by “paradising” my life all the time. And yet another lesson I learned from him is how to connect with my Ratzon, connect with my will, and to live life according to it. In conjunction with this lesson is the idea of Pnim d’Pnim, to live according to my essence.
- Next is the Saba of Nevordik, and what I learned from him is how to make changes by being radical, or what I call, “radical change living.”
- And the final one is also a person, a friend of mine who is alive and well, and what I learned from him involves looking into a Kabbalistic or Chassidic book and finding the practical, life application from what’s presented in an abstract way.
Those are my mentors, and that’s one category of my legacy. Here’s another list now, and this one is in the category of G-d connection. My legacies in this category will be:
- Paradising my life.
- Wanting what is, as opposed to what isn’t.
- Saying Thank You.
- Let go, let G-d.
- Seeing life with the eyes of G-d, including past, present and future, all at the same time.
- Being guided by G-d, through an analysis of the highlights of my life.
- Seeing other humans as puppets or messengers of G-d in my life.
- When I can’t do it, I need to give it over to G-d.
- The experience of praying and studying at midnight, and the G-d connection there.
- Trusting that G-d will always come through.
- Choosing to have radical acceptance.
I should mention that MMM, my Mystical Musical Meditations, fit into all these subcategories, but especially in another area, what I call the Transcendent or Transcendings area of life.
- I endeavor to live each week entirely inside of one theme, and to draw as much energy as possible from that theme.
- I also endeavor to live consciousness, meaning seeing and experiencing life with a certain outlook, 24/7, any particular week.
- I also endeavor to live outside the system of professionals, such as doctors, bankers, etc. The point is to first see what I can do on my own, with G-d of course, before going to other people and trusting them, which isn’t always such a good idea.
- I also endeavor to live in an “above-nature” way. That’s one of my Transcending tools, too.
- I also endeavor to say YES to life at all times, and also the flipside of that, which is saying NO to the NOs. To those who say NO, I say NO to their NOs.
MMM also fits into the following subcategories in the area of Healing. MMM is always about healing.
- I am a person who endeavors to affect other people in the world, microcosmically and macrocosmically, even though I don’t have a direct connection with them. And even without a direct connection with them, I have an intention for the healing of people in other places, at other times.
- I endeavor to be G-d’s messenger to heal the world, by bringing healing into life applications, meditations, teachings and tools.
- I endeavor to be a healer who can convey the idea that we, the people who trust G-d, are invincible. And, as a result, we can create resolutions that are invincible.
- I endeavor to be a healer by purging, a form of Transcendental Meditation, which helps us to get all the stuff out, one way or another, and then going to work.
- I endeavor to follow in the footsteps of my namesake, Yitzchak, which means, “he will laugh,” and help people break the chains holding them back, no matter what their situation may be.
MMM also fits into the following subcategories of Torah and Education. MMM is a unique type of Torah teaching.
- I endeavor to dive into a Torah concept and immerse myself in it, instead of merely touching it and having a left-brain, intellectual analysis of it.
- I endeavor to share innovative, new ways of approaching learning.
- I endeavor to be a Torah person, inside of it, immersed in it, to the point that Torah will dissolve any obstacle that may be in my way.
- I endeavor to see Torah in life, 24/7, and knowing that Torah is in exile, redeeming it and bringing it back to its pristine home.
- I endeavor to bring Torah into tools and into life applications.
- I endeavor to know what I know, by constantly reviewing it and by teaching from that place of power.
- I endeavor to first use my head, and then look at what the Torah commentaries say.
- I endeavor to go deep into any Torah concept, first learning it and then plummeting to the depths of it.
MMM also fits into the following subcategories of Self-Actualizing.
- I endeavor to be a cafeteria-type person who can learn from everybody in my life, everyone I connect with and everything I connect with. Life is full of millions of teachers to teach me.
- I endeavor to be my own target audience, instead of looking for certain demographics. I play to myself and teach to myself before I’m prepared to affect others in the right way.
- I endeavor to live in a place of Allness, not losing a drop and making a collection of everything I do, then using and analyzing that.
- I endeavor to put myself on effortless, automatic functioning by having a To-Do list and then letting it go.
- I endeavor to have a spider chart, which means using my associative mind for an idea, and then bringing in all possible associated ideas.
- I endeavor to find, in a social setting, that the people outside of me are also inside of me.
Those are some of my legacies.
This week’s MMM topic is Knowing. I’ve tackled this topic before, but now, G-d willing, I’m sharing some new insights to explore over the next couple weeks.
I won’t be limited to the Kabbalistic definition of Knowing, which is Daat. But, it serves as one of the most fundamental aspects for humans. With Daat, we have everything. Without Daat, we have nothing.
With Daat, we have everything… the proper kind of righteousness, the proper kind of speech, the proper kind of essence of a human being, the intrinsic, soulful, time-transcendent truth and calling and mission available to us with that kind of knowing. And without it, we are missing all of those things, and we’re inviting into our lives all kinds of negativity, pain and suffering.
So, we have to explore what that aspect of Knowing is all about, and how to acquire it. Sometimes it just requires being quiet enough and silent enough inside in order to hear what you already know.
I think my own definition of Knowing is referring to a feeling we have inside. It’s almost impossible to explain, but it’s just something I know. We have to resonate with that, and make it come alive in our lives, and apply it and use it. We have to identify it first, of course. In a way, we are all moving toward this kind of Knowing, and it takes all aspects of living to a much higher level.
It takes us to a level of understanding people. What we know about another person comes from what we know about ourselves. We look inside ourselves and then we’re able to know what someone else is all about.
This is what Moses was doing, even though he had a higher level of Knowing because he was an Oversoul; his was a soul that contained all the other souls, too. But we can do it to some extent, too. When we plug into people in our lives and what we know about them, then we can relate to them in a much better way.
Adam knew Eve, meaning that he knew her in a way that she knew him, a way that cut through all the externalities. It was sort of a “full disclosure” kind of thing, and that’s what Knowing is all about as well.
Knowing is something that will tell you what you’re here for, and what G-d is asking from you. It will tell you about what your mission is, and what your calling is, what business you’re here in this world to achieve, what strengths you are here to apply and to help others in this world.
A good Knowing will tell you about the times we’re living in, whether it’s a weekday, Shabbat or other holiday, a season, a year or time of year. You’ll know the energies of each time with a deeper knowing, and how to utilize them.
Knowing is a blend of knowing yourself and knowing G-d’s will. It’s an I and Thou kind of Knowing, which will invite Paradise into your life. It will bring a sort of Garden of Eden into your life. Really, what Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden for doing was failing to have the I and Thou perspective completely. There was disharmony because they began to have too much I and not enough Thou.
Knowing is what you need in order to have mindfulness, and to live a mindful, meditative life, to focus on and embrace whatever is in front of you right now, as opposed to lacking focus and being distracted by the past or the future.
Knowing is a ticket to truth, to knowing the truth of any situation. We want to be able to plug into that. Knowing is a transcendental state. It’s diving into a consciousness which can open up doors of perception in your life, like nothing else.
Knowing is trusting life and G-d, it’s trusting there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s trust that, but also opening up closed doors.
Knowing is seeing beyond your physical senses; it’s using your spiritual senses, which can definitely open up new doors and transcendental perspectives.
It’s a fascinating consciousness, and so that’s what we’ll be exploring this week, G-d willing.
Our next MMM covers a well-worn but very important topic in Jewish Mysticism… and that’s the Holy Sparks.
I’d like to go through a few sources, and some of the practices that come out of these sources. Probably the earliest source of the idea of Holy Sparks is when the world went through the primordial breaking and breakdown, and the fixing of the breaking is accomplished through gathering lost lights that were scattered in the process of breaking.
We resonate in our lives with pieces of G-dliness that are presented to us in all the challenges and encounters we have. When we resonate and clarity our challenges, we bring the sparks back to our pristine home, inside of ourselves and inside of the world.
This is true on a micro level and on a macro level, as the world leans toward the rectification of the world by replacing the lost sparks into their place, where they came from originally. Practically speaking, on a macro level, the Jewish people were thrust across the globe for most of our history, and we gathered the lost sparks, which were converts that we inspired to return home, so to speak.
But it’s not just converts, it’s also ideas and energy and lost pieces of Torah that are exiled, and we help to redeem them as well. The Holy Sparks also have a place in reincarnation, meaning that every one of us comes back again and again, to continue to gather up more and more lost sparks. Sometimes we can feel what our unfinished business is by the smoothness or non-smoothness factor. We see what our personalities are struggling with and driven to take care of. That’s another aspect of the Holy Sparks.
And another aspect is to understand our calling, meaning what Hashem is calling you to do. We can understand that, similarly, by what you’re driven to do, and you may have a hard time doing it, but you have to keep on getting up and doing it again. Or, another way so see it is to recognize what we’re really, really good at and understand that other people need us to be good at it, too. We need to shine the light for others in our area of expertise.
The Baal Shem Tov talked about sparks, and that according to the quantity and quality of our belief in Divine Providence so, too, will Divine Providence believe in us and react to us, showing its magical world to us. If we really believe that G-d’s guiding us, then G-d will guide us. If you open up your eyes and check out the events of your life you’ll see how G-d is guiding you to do what needs to be done.
Sparks present themselves in the realm of eating, the whole eating ceremony where another type of spark needs to be raised up. Human beings in a netherworld, post-life, on the mineral, plant, animal and human levels, may get stuck. So, sometimes by just eating, or making the blessings at the right place and time, we can raise them to the next higher level, getting them out of the stuck place.
Sparks are found in the giving of the Torah, which happens in this week’s Parsha. At Mount Sinai, we got to a place where we transcended the whole need to raise sparks, which was Adam before the sin, and we got to the place where we could say, “we will do and we will hear,” which represents the willingness to embrace G-d, sight unseen. That’s probably the fastest and most powerful way of raising sparks.
Sparks are found in the 6-week period of Shovavim, from Parsha Shemot to Parsha Mishpatim. This is the time when we are trying to raise up the seed that was spilled by Adam in the 130 years during which he separated himself from Eve. We do that by doing things above and beyond the normal call, which has to do with more prayer, more learning, more fasts and more specific tikkunim. We raise a lot of sparks by doing these things as well.
This week, Tuesday and Wednesday, is Tu B’ishvat, the time our Sages tell us when the sap is rising in the trees. It’s sort of a Jewish Goundhog Day when Spring is being announced in an unseen way. But we know Spring is coming, and we know this means sparks. We can grasp it experientially by feeling the bubbling-up of unborn life in many forms, and we can plug into it.
And finally, in this collection of material on the topic of sparks, we can find sparks in the Sefirot. Another idea of the Baal Shem Tov is this – the Sefira of any kind of personality trait or any kind of situation we encounter in our lives can be used to raise sparks from a fallen state to an elevated state. As an example, fallen Gevurah, which is fear, unfounded fear, can be raised up into the courage to do G-d’s will. All of the Sefirot have fallen and elevated states. This is yet another way of raising up Holy Sparks.
So, that’s my collection of Holy Sparks ideas for now.
I am going to call this week’s MMM – Speaking Our Way Into Consciousness.
I’ll tell you where this is coming from, and where we can take it to. It’s coming from the phrase, “uncircumcised lips,” in the Parasha, referring to Moses.
Moses mumbled and stammered before God, saying, essentially, “Who am I to be your spokesman?” He could barely get the words out, as a reflection of the Jewish people who were a nation of slaves at the time. They couldn’t even speak properly either.
They were grunting and moaning and screaming in their agony, and G-d heard these sounds they were making, and after 200 years of being restricted-consciousness slaves, they were unable to speak their truth, or any truth.
The Jewish people were all inside of Moses, and he was a reflection of them, so he was also limited in the same way. On of the main pathways into redemption was the ability for someone to speak their way to freedom.
The deeper, original idea here is that G-d spoke the world into being. The more we can hook up with and synchronize ourselves with the profound depth of speech, especially speech in Hebrew, the Holy Tongue, the more we are connected to the substance of what created the world – the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The more we connect with it, the more we can speak the world into being, as G-d does.
We can speak our lives into being, which is why the Breslover Hasidim shout out every word of the Hagaddah at the Passover Seder. It’s because they understand this principle of speaking yourself into freedom.
We know that the six weeks of Shovavim, which we’re in right now, involves rectifications. One of them is a rectification of sexuality, which is also a rectification of speaking. Our mystical Sages teach us that just as the sexual organ is a representative of the whole body, so too is our mouth. In a parallel way, our mouth is also a representative of our soul. That’s why they say the lips are uncircumcised, like the sexual organ may or may not be uncircumcised. It’s a parallel system.
Both the sexual organs and the mouth have the potential and potency to raise us up to higher levels of consciousness.
Speaking is an integral part of human beings, by contrast to animals. The more holy we speak, the more holy we create our world. The more truth that we speak, the more the truth surrounds us, the more integrity surrounds us. When our word is a word that can be trusted and relied on, and we weigh our words carefully, to say the right things, we will draw down consciousness to ourselves.
Even in our dreams may be real, to the extent we are speaking the truth.
These are some of the underlying principles of what it means to speak ourselves into consciousness.
There are so many ways to do it, such a Poetry Speak, Heart Speak, and of course, finding our own, personal voice to speak. We can Soul Speak, we can talk to G-d, and sometimes we can go so deep that within our own speaking we find that G-d will ride on our words and speak right back to us, which is the secret of what prophecy is all about.
We can MMM Speak, which means that we bring all these types of speaking together, as a channel for consciousness-speaking in a group.
We can Thank You Speak, which is gratitude that brings down consciousness. Talking Torah is also talking ourselves into consciousness. Prayer Speak is talking ourselves into consciousness. Turning prayer toward meditation, see it that way and choosing to focus on it that way is also speaking our way into consciousness.
Saying a word, like a mantra, such as Master of the Universe, which Rabbi Kaplan teaches, can also help us speak our way into consciousness and draw it down into our own lives.
These, and other ways we’ve yet to explore will be part and parcel of our MMM this week.
Where I’m going with this week’s MMM may sound familiar… It’s Let Go and Let G-d. It sounds a bit cliché, but it’s where my heart is, and means so much, in so many ways.
The timing of it in this weeks’ Parsha, Vaera, is significant because G-d is showing his stuff in a simple and miraculous way, letting them know that G-d’s the one running the show, basically. That’s what the 10 Plagues are all about, so that everyone should know it’s from G-d.
And, in addition, that everyone should know it so deeply that even when G-d doesn’t come out from “behind the curtain,” like the Wizard of Oz did at the end of the movie, and he stays hidden behind the workings of the natural world, even that’s miraculous. Even then, we have to know that G-d is “pulling the levers,” and running the show.
Based on this revelation, we have to understand that we always have an option. Whether It’s making a living, navigating a relationship, maintaining our sanity (increasingly a problem), or feeling good about ourselves in any area of life, it’s very important to know we always have the option of letting go and letting G-d take over.
You don’t have to be the boss, operating the control panel of your life, at all times. To the extent that you trust enough to Let Go and Let G-d, to that same extent G-d agrees to step in and take care of things. To the extent that you don’t Let Go and Let G-d, it’s as though G-d is saying, “You got it? OK, just call me if you need me. I’ll let you take care of it.”
It’s almost as simple as that. We all have it, all of us. We have the option of letting go and letting G-d take the helm. To the extent that we’re real with this option, and not just paying lip service to the idea to impress yourself or others that you’re a believer and filled with trust, if you really do let G-d in you will find G-d will really come in. It’s a matter of degree.
This idea is taken from sources, and it provides a background for this Parsha, and for the reasoning behind Let Go and Let God. Hints and tools to accomplish this are widely available, even in this Parsha where Moses has an amazing interchange with G-d about whether he’s the one who should be going into Egypt to save the Jewish people.
Moses asked, essentially, “It’s not enough for me to say G-d sent me. I need to know which aspect of G-d, which characteristic sent me in to say Let My People Go?” And of course G-d said, “Tell him Ayeh Asher Ayeh, I will be who I will be. “ That’s a very deep statement, and it tells us we simply don’t know when, where, how or what. We just have to let it all go. We have to trust G-d.
“I will be who I will be,” is what our trust and our patience are all about. It’s about knowing there really is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s going to get us through. G-d is saying, “You gotta trust me on this one… I’m not going to show you according to what you are ready for in these open miracles, but I want to elicit your trust, and then the miracles will kick in.
We must have trust and patience in the “I will be who I will be” aspect of G-d.
And we have to understand that, to the extent you let G-d in, G-d will come in. That’s what the Shekinah is all about. The Shekinah is the Feminine Principle of G-d, the felt presence of G-d in the world. To the extent that we let G-d in, to that extent will we experience the presence of G-d. So, part of letting go and letting G-d is just to let him into the places where G-d is normally not found.
That’s what increases the presence of G-d in our lives. Some people make it their entire life goal to connect to G-d. Devekut is probably the most important principle we learn from Mystical Judaism, especially Chassidut. We learn to bring G-d into everything and cling to G-d at all times, in all aspects of our lives.
When we Let Go and Let G-d, we’ll have a lot of more of G-d than we otherwise would have. Our Patriarchs and Matriarchs taught us this. They let G-d into every aspect of their lives, and they only succeeded when they let G-d into their situation.
When we look at the people who did the greatest miracles, took the greatest strides in Biblical history, it was the people who let G-d into their lives. When Pharaoh was just about to promote Joseph to second in command of the most powerful nation of Eqypt, as a result of Joseph’s dream interpretation, Pharaoh asked Joseph how he knew how to interpret dreams.
So, Joseph could have responded that he had a PhD in dream interpretation from the Harvard University of the day, or that he’d been working on it for many years, honing his skills. But he didn’t go in that direction. Instead, he said, basically, “I don’t know a thing. G-d did it all for me.”
Joseph Let Go and Let G-d. And he started to have incredible influence because he was able to do that.
That’s where the miracles come into our lives, when we actually realize and to the extent we realize that G-d’s running the show, in our lives, and we let him in by seeing that and responding to that in a personalized way.
We let G-d in by understanding that we, as humans, are limited. We cannot so everything. There are impossible situations for us, but not for G-d. “I can’t do it, G-d, but you can do it for me.”
In a nutshell, that’s my exploration for the week. And I’ll probably only make it through the week by letting go and letting G-d into my life.