Weekly MMM – Parsha Vayishlach
The theme for next week’s Parsha Vayishlach is Pnim d’ pnim, which is like, “the soul of the soul.”
One way to understand the concept is this – if you implode inside yourself, going deep enough into who you are, and you express that and live that, you’ll be functioning at a higher frequency than normal.
To the extent you do this, you will reduce the need to chase things in your life, such as productivity, goodness, relationships, income, etc. All the things we often make concerted efforts to accomplish are the things we tend to chase.
But if you can get to the “soul of your soul,” the completeness and actualization of who you are, things will come to you automatically. I call this the Pnim Principle, which I’ve tested in my own life many times.
I inevitably feel that the more I’m connected to the essence of who I am, in a self-actualized and self-expressed way, the more the door opens for others to “chase” me, rather than having to do the chasing myself. That’s the concept.
Now, where do I see it in Torah, in Parsha Vayishlach? One place is Jacob’s transition, when he’s leaving Lavan’s house after 20 years and he’s coming out more elevated than he was when he arrived there.
This coincides with Jacob’s wrestling match with Esau’s angel, which corresponds to the yetzer hara, the evil inclination, the satan, the primal antagonistic energies in the world. And the injury to his sciatic nerve during the wrestling corresponds to his support for his spirituality throughout the ages.
Despite the injury, Jacob becomes the ultimate, self-expressed human being during his wrestling match. He comes out of his 20 years of coping with the world’s greatest deceivers by telling his nemesis, his twin brother Esau, that not only did he survive, but he became a complete human being.
Jacob comes out of the wrestling by earning a name change, which goes hand-in-hand with the wrestling match. He’s no longer called Jacob, or Yaakov in Hebrew, representing the more constricted aspect of who he is, but he becomes Israel.
He went into the house of Lavan as a person who had nothing, no family, no children, nothing. And he came out with a complete family, the 12 Tribes of Israel. He went into the house of Lavan as a person who was being pursued, and he came out having great respect, as had his father and grandfather.
Although he suffered greatly in future episodes of his life, Jacob became another human being named Israel, and he discovered Divinity in places where Divinity was normally hidden. This was the purpose of his entire stay in the house of Lavan. He became a representative of Divinity inside the land, as he had been a representative of Divinity outside the land in the past.
Jacob, now known as Israel, does this not only for his own family, but for all generations to come. He prepared the way. Not only is he a person who does good and receives good, but he does the ultimate good by finding G-d in every single minute and situation of each day, and he receives in a mirror-like fashion what’s called an “endless G-dly inheritance.”
He comes out of the house of Lavan with a discovery of human holiness, revealed in a mundane, non-holy place. And he sets the standard for all his children, for all of posterity.
We are the children of Israel. We go by his name because that is our legacy and our destiny in all these years of exile. He set the standard for us. And one of the deepest lessons of all his extraordinary achievements is that he’s provided us with the tools to survive and to reveal G-dliness inside the darkness, for all eternity.
That is part of our destiny, and what could be, should be and will be our own achievement if we really work on it. Personally, in my own way, I try to pour everything in to my Mystical Musical Meditations. I pour the entirety of who I am, all my creativity, all my wisdom, all my Torah, all my enjoyment of life, all my experiential consciousness of life, my poetry… I pour all of who I am in order to achieve my fully-actualized soul and to, hopefully, draw down the power of Jacob/Israel.
I think this is what anyone can do when they set about to find the self-actualization within them. And to the extent that they do find it, their struggles will be softened and transformed.
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