I call this week’s MMM The Power of Vulnerability, for a number of reasons. We are in the middle of the Three Weeks, the most vulnerable period of the entire Jewish calendar year.

Underneath the weakness, the Achilles’ heel of our vulnerability, which is very real and makes this a very dangerous time, beneath that we find some of the greatest power we can possibly imagine.

I have found wisdom from our Sages about the power of vulnerability in several different sources. One is a verse from Jeremiah that says, “All that chase her will capture her in this time period [of the Three Weeks] in the narrow straights.” That can also be interpreted as anybody who chases G-d can catch G-d.

So, at this very vulnerable point in time we have the greatest opportunity to catch G-d. The whole creation of the world is based on the fact that we come into this life in a place of darkness and vulnerability in order to find the power inside of it and to get ourselves out of there.

I saw a source which talked about how every trial and tribulation we’re put into is purposefully stretching us beyond our limits, beyond our comfort zone and into a place of vulnerability, from which and ONLY from which we can grow and become more of what we are.

So, that’s the power of vulnerability. That’s how we grow.

In general, we make strides when we get rid of the darker side inside our lives. Power comes about when we tap into that area, with psycho-therapeutic practices. The only way we can heal is to tap into the inner shadow side, find the vulnerability, identify it and then release it, to become free from it. And that’s when we begin to live, from that vulnerable point.

The power involved is talked about in different places, making the point that the fall is the cause of the ascent. The very place where the darkness is deepest, our mystical Sages teach us, is the place where the light is brightest.

What I know on a personal level, is that place of helplessness, where we are unable to help even ourselves, we’ve tried everything and given it all up to G-d, that’s actually the most empowering place. It’s the most liberating place.

The whole idea of repentance, of doing teshuva, is to identify and reveal the places where we are deceiving ourselves and living a lie. The idea is to release ourselves from that place. We have to go into a vulnerable place to make that happen. When we do teshuva we become completely new human beings. I think all the greatest of the greatest of our leaders got to the highest levels ever achieved by mankind because they tapped into vulnerability.

Nachon, when we were about to cross the Red Sea, made himself vulnerable by going into the waters of the Red Sea all the way up to his nose, thereby parting the waters, as he was listening to G-d’s instructions. His vulnerability paved the way for the parting of the Red Sea for all the Israelites.

Moses did the same when he said, “Erase me from your book if you don’t forgive the people…” He made himself vulnerable, being willing to sacrifice his name and his posterity.

And Queen Esther did it in her time, in the Purim story.

And Pinchas, in last week’s Parsha, did it when he single-handedly took on those who breached the sexual code in a public way. For doing so, he received a renewed relationship with G-d. That place of vulnerability was where he found his power.

I know this on a personal level as well. I see that the people I talk to who are willing to share their weaknesses, their vulnerabilities with me often turn out to be the best relationships I have. I think that’s true with others, too.

Let your guard down, show your weakness, your needs, your thirst, and so forth… When you do, that is when you bond and bridge your differences.

That is also what prayer is all about in our relationship with G-d. The more we can become vulnerable before G-d by becoming helpless and talking about our imperfections, the more we can go down into the shadow worlds to release and liberate our inner vulnerabilities.

The more we can speak from a vulnerable, heart place inside of ourselves, the more we can turn this whole thing around, especially during the Three Weeks. This is the gateway, the portal to the Messianic times, which may be the topic of my next MMM.