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Posts by yitzchak
The theme I’d like to explore this week is The Kabbalah of Male and Female Relationships. I’m finding that this topic has become a theme I’m asked to address in various formats. I see it as a beautiful challenge since there’s so much to share. It’s just a question of how to package the information.
The way I’d like to talk about it right now is this idea – turning many into one. This is the only physics I want to include, how male/female relationships are expressed in relationships and beyond. I want to give a few examples of this direction and the power of adhering to this direction. Again, it’s the idea of more-than-one becoming one.
The obvious starting point is Adam and Eve, who were created as one being. Adam was created and Eve was sort of a connected being. They were separated, and then spend their lives, usually unconsciously, trying to get back to connectedness, but in a higher realm.
Adam and Eve were trying to get back to the oneness, and we say the same about their connection in the world of souls where a person who is meant for another person starts as one soul, and then become separated. So, they are always trying to find their other half, and will do almost anything to bring the two halves together.
The weekly Parshas we’ve been reading lately, involving Jacob and the tribes reuniting with his son, Joseph, involve a similar dynamic in getting back together. A unification is being created from disparate parts. When Joseph meets Jacob again after a long, painful separation, he falls on his father’s shoulders and cries. Jacob uses the moment to say, “If I was able to do this, then my life has been worth it and I’m ready to die.”
Jacob used the situation to create unification between G-d and humanity by saying the Shema Israel at that crucial point, which is THE unification of our lives, the fact that G-d is One. It’s taking the many aspects of G-d’s running of the world and bringing them all back to The One.
He said, “Joseph, all these events you went through – it’s all One. They are all connected to the I Am G-d and it all comes back to the Oneness.”
Everything is trying to get back to the Oneness. The same thing is true of a male and a female. The dynamic, the tension, the struggle, the disassociation, the disconnection they have with each other is the motivating drive to get back to a place of connection. In Kabbalistic teaching, the higher the male and female dynamics are, the more Oneness there is.
The lower on the scale of male/female separation and differences, the lower you do, the more separate they are. So, our goal in the reunification of male/female dynamics is to look at the differences and try to create with those differences a reality where there are no differences, there is only One.
That’s what the relationship is all about, the sexual relationship where nothing is separating him from her, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The goal is to get back to that place of Oneness, and to let nothing come in-between them.
The more the Oneness is achieved, the higher the power of their unification is, and the more it can reproduce even more Oneness in their lives, physically and spiritually.
I’m calling this week’s MMM – The Eyes of G-d. It’s based on the weekly Parsha, Vayigash. The essence of this Parsha is the moment when Joseph says to his brothers, “I am Joseph,” and they fall into a state of stunned silence. They thought about all Joseph had put them through to get them to recognize the error of their ways, and everything comes together.
When Joseph announced, “I am Joseph,” it triggered his brothers realizing how everything fit into place. We have a similar, parallel situation when G-d announces, at the end of days, “I Am G-d.” That is when all humanity will see how everything comes together.
This is one peek into the eyes of G-d, at looking at reality through G-d’s eyes. Of course, G-d is at least a trillion steps ahead of us, in terms of seeing the whole picture and bringing all the moving parts together.
The more we can emulate G-d’s perspective and see how the world is running on past, present and future, the more successful be can be, in our lives, our relationships with other people and with G-d.
One of the ways we can try to drawn down into ourselves a perspective we can call, “the eyes of G-d,” is to set about to look at the world through G-d’s eyes.
In the difficulties between Joseph and his brothers, in that story of the primal, family schism, we see that G-d is watching the story unfold and the characters in the story are occupied with their role in it. First, they are trying to figure out how to deal with it, and later, they are trying to forgive and to be forgiven.
While all the Patriarchs and the tribes of Israel are occupied with trying to get out of trouble, our Sages make an interesting point when they say that G-d is occupied with bringing the Mashiach. G-d sees one, big story line as a means to an end, the unfolding of a certain process.
Meanwhile, all we can see is our own lives on a time line, in the unfolding process of our lives. So, it’s important to be able to see the adventures of our own lives as parts of a whole.
Joseph, whom Pharaoh referred to as, “the mashbir,” fulfilled the meaning of that word as, “the one who fed the word.” Joseph had the insight and the foresight to know how to survive world famine, and how to feed the world through it. He used his wisdom and understanding of the Hebrew word, “shobair,” which means, “to break things.” It’s the opposite of fixing things.
Someone in business does this same thing. They break down what they have and distribute it. They take the entirety of what they have and break it down into its component parts for sale. A retailer knows how to break down and sell component parts.
The eyes of G-d are what Joseph had to see what needed to be done to save the world from famine. In order to carry out the plans, Joseph needed to see the past, present and future, all the resources available, and communicate them in order to carry them out equitably.
This is just one of the many ways of seeing with the eyes of G-d. It involves not only seeing what is there, but what is not there, that which could be there and that which was and will be there. Joseph could see all this and he knew how to manage it and distribute the food fairly when needed.
When we understand this idea, we develop an appreciation for the ways G-d is working with us, as we work through things for ourselves and with others, seeing a bigger picture taking shape.
I have Hanukkah meditations that I’ve shared in various ways over the years, and this year I’d like to use them to explore more deeply the foundational themes of Hanukkah.
One of the mystical points of year that’s approximately a third of the way between Rosh Hashanah and the end of Pesach. This is significant, especially put together with the understanding, as taught by the Holy Arizal, that Rosh Hashanah is the conception, the impregnation of the New Year, and the end of Pesach is the birth, the culmination of that pregnancy.
This puts Hanukkah in a shortened time frame, like the time during which a woman would come to realize she’s pregnant. During the first third of her pregnancy she may get along without it being noticed. But, from that point on, it’s obvious that she’s pregnant.
What does this have to do with us, and the spiritual work in our lives? It’s the same type of work in our spiritual lives, our Sages tell us. It’s like a pregnancy for us, asking, “what is our fate, unfolding for us in this year?”
It’s helpful to do an inventory and explore our goals and aspirations for the year, what path we put ourselves on and what roadmap we must use.
Knowing all this, it’s easier to experience Hanukkah as being one-third of the way, on the path toward the goal, with an awareness of what’s happened so far and what still needs to happen. It’s a good time to look at how our year is developing.
Hanukkah is the natural time to do this because it’s the time for seeing the unseen. We light candles in the darkest time of year, when we normally can’t see in the dark. That’s how we look into our lives to see how they are developing and unfolding, even hidden in the darkness.
This is one important part of what Hanukkah represents, meaning it’s a time when the pregnancy of our year is recognized. Based on the same concept of seeing the unseen, there are 36 Hanukkah candles representing 36 hidden tzadikkim supporting the world.
And, in addition, the first 36 hours of Creation were the hours when Adam was able to see with the aid of the hidden light, from one end of time and space to the other.
What opens up for us at this time of Hanukkah is that ability to see the entire spectrum, the continuum of our lives and other peoples’ lives. It includes our inner and outer vision, and both are infinitely expanded.
We need to pick up on this aspect of Hanukkah, too.
Also, there’s the idea of war. The Maccabees waged war against the Greek empire at the time was referred to, by some sources, as, “the war of no choice.” It was one family against a whole empire, the Maccabees against the Greeks. They were a family that the Greeks could not be allowed to conquer the land spiritually, even if they weren’t warring against it physically.
The Greeks wanted to impose their viewpoints on everyone, and the Maccabees, in their zealousness, decided they could not let it happen. They chose to defeat the Greek empire on the power of “no choice.” They had no choice but to zealously defend the Jewish people, whatever it took.
A band of marauders, hiding out in the Judean hillsides, situated themselves to win a battle waged over a long period of time. Their victory was based on the power of, “we have no choice.” With that power, we can do amazing things now, too.
Also, Hanukkah is the holiday of the Sephira of Hod. For one thing, Hod represents the spirit of enabling the dis-abled. That means enabling someone who is not enabled. This is a whole, distinct Sephirotic reality requiring complete selflessness and a lot of love, skill and foresight to take something that is not enabled and bring it to a point where it is enabled. On Hanukkah, we have that kind of light.
Hod also represents Hoda-ah, which means gratefulness. And it means saying Thank You. The power of saying Thank You is huge, and it can change a person’s life. Rabbi Shalom Arush and Reb Lazer Brody’s book is taking the world by storm in their book about gratitude, and being able to say Thank You for half an hour a day, for everything, good and bad. That practice can bring miracles into your life. That’s the power of saying Thank You.
It’s a great experience to say Thank You because everybody loves to receive a Thank You and it really feels good to give a Thank You, to other people and to G-d as well.
This aspect of the Hanukkah Sephira of Hod is in play at this time, and it’s what we’re tapping into.
Finally, the next idea is the difference between the Greeks’ understanding of Hod and the Jews’ understanding of Hod. In a nutshell, the concept is this – Greeks were famous for their ability to see beauty and the splendor of life, as long as it was measurable and able to be articulated and scientifically defined and proven.
Whether it be philosophy, analytics or esthetics and art, or any of the Greeks’ other gifts to civilization, it was valid if it can be seen and measured. But, the Jewish understanding of Hod is the beauty of things which cannot be seen. This drove the Greeks crazy, causing them to pronounce horrible edicts and decrees against the Jews.
Jews had something the Greeks did not understand, and they couldn’t stand it. They did not understand our connection to G-d and to Torah, Shabbos and the soul. These are all things that cannot be quantified or measured. They cannot be weighed or accounted for in any way. They are invisible.
Our power on Hanukkah, which needs to be celebrated, is the power of the unseen. This contrasts to Purim which is a celebration of the unknown. We are supposed to drink until we reach a place of not knowing. But on Hanukkah it’s the power of the not seen.
We need to celebrate that and make it a part of our lives.
This week’s Parsha is Vayeshev, and I’ve chosen the topic of beauty. One of the reasons is because one of the “stars” of the story this week is Joseph, who is known to have been the epitome of beauty in the world.
As we know, Joseph was captured and held as a slave in Egypt. He was working for a rich family and his beauty attracted the lady of the house, who tried to force him into a physical relationship, which Joseph ran away from and which lead to his imprisonment.
When Joseph was rescued out of prison and appointed as second-in-command, he was paraded past Pharoah, and women were throwing themselves at him as he passed by the entire nation of Egypt.
Joseph had physical beauty, but he also had something more. He didn’t just have a Hollywood-type exterior beauty, but a beauty on the inside as well. For Joseph, his beauty came from the fact that he was a tsaddik, a righteous one.
The Sefira of Yesod is all about this kind of beauty, when a person completely shines in the totally of themselves into the world. When a person, man or woman, is shining in that way, that’s real beauty.
Another aspect of beauty comes out in this Parsha, the last one we read before Hannukah. Since Hannukah is all about the distinction between the Maccabees, the heros of the Jewish story and their unique perspective on life, versus the Greek nation and its ideologies.
Although the Greeks contributed greatly to civilization, the main difference in perspective, compared to Jews, being their definition of what beauty is, meaning, “what you see is what you get.” Greeks believed beauty is something that’s tangible and measurable, and that’s evident in their appearance, their athletics and their philosophies.
To the Greeks, beauty had to be visible. By direct contrast, Jews believe “what you DON’T see is what you get.” It’s our soul connection, our G-d connection, our Torah connection and our Shabbos connection. These are things which intangible and invisible.
Jews have been and still are teaching the world about beauty that you don’t show, that’s a mystery requiring the use of imagination to understand what it’s all about. This is another important thing in this week’s Parsha as well.
I believe we include the whole concept of beauty during my weekly MMM explorations. Half the beauty is to answer the question, “What is it that makes us attractive?” That includes attraction by other people, between a man and a woman, a person to a religion, a person to a way of life, a person to everything they encounter during the day. What’s the attraction there?
So, the real beauty and the attraction are one and the same. We are attracted to that which is beautiful to us, that which we resonate with and we need. People who are trying to find a mate, a job or the right people, places and things to enhance their lives, need to know this secret of attraction.
People are attracted to what they are lacking, what they need. And they may be attracted to what you have, that nobody else has. When you emanate that because you understand what it is, the more naturally the better, then you are a source of walking beauty, a deep source of the substance that other people need. That’s beauty, and it’s what makes you beautiful.
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.
So far in this year 5779 on the Jewish calendar I’ve been framing my MMMs on the weekly Parsha, choosing a central theme in consciousness or transcendence.
Looking at different aspects of Parsha Toldot, one thing in particular stands out for me. When Jacob and Esau go to their father, Issac, and continually battle to receive their father’s blessing, Issac spoke about “the hands.”
We know that Jacob disguised himself as his hairy, older brother, Esau, in order to receive his blessing from Issac. Before bestowing his blessing, Issac mentioned that “the hands are the hands of Esau, but the voice is the voice of Jacob.”
That simple statement is connected to a very deep, cosmic, historical, physical and metaphysical reality representing the Jew and the non-Jew throughout history. Meaning, when we, as Jews, are engaged in the spiritual work of the voice (the voice of Jacob) and to the extent we are engaged in that, the hands (the hands of Esau) cannot touch us.
But when we don’t engage in using our voice in prayer, engaging in the Holy Language, meditating on the thoughts and words of G-d, learning them, expressing them and teaching them… when we are not engaged with the words we are not being “word people,” and we can be smothered by the hand of evil.
That’s the metaphor brought out in this Parsha. Everything else is commentary. Not only in this Parsha, but in life. We have to understand that our legacy is this – “the voice is the voice of Jacob.” We have to understand that the blessings in this portion of Torah are about the material, physical things the world can provide us, and that’s part of our lives because we have a physical body which is part of our spirituality.
But, at the core, what we are meant to do when we are protected from the hands of Esau, is raise up the world. Our Sages, commenting on this dichotomy, indicate that it’s a sliding scale, meaning that when one rises the other falls.
To the extent that we use our voices to raise up the world, the other one falls. To the extent that we don’t use our voices to raise up the world, the other one gets strong and we fall.
We need to understand that the best way to approach this dichotomy is through questions, such as:
- How can we understand from this “hands vs voice” formula the proper way to engage with our evil inclination?
- How can we understand from this formula the battle of good and evil in the world?
- How can we understand from this formula the way to break through it all, and reach a place of enlightenment, of Mashiach?
- How can we understand from this formula how to purge away all of the blocks and obstructions in both our internal and external worlds?
- How can we get from this formula of the hands and the voice to a place of abundance? Abundance is a big part of the Parsha as well because it’s all about the blessings from their father who was fabulously wealthy, as were all our Patriarchs and Matriarchs.
- How, by being voice people, can we do that?
- And how can we best use our voice? Is there a way we can get to the deeper truths, voices and Divinity inside ourselves by plugging into the “voice of Jacob.” Can we forge a path for going into the depth of all that?
In the past, I filled up an entire notebook on this week’s Parsha, Chayei Sarah. So, I have ready-made material to re-discover the theme of this week’s Torah, which is also a central theme in our lives and a point of consciousness we need to embrace.
The theme is All-ness. I’ve connected to this theme before, but this time I bring another level of wholeness to the subject of All-ness.
Our exploration this week is inspired and prompted by some of the main points of the Parsha. As it begins, “Sarah was coming to the next world with her days.” That’s the expression, as we also say, “Abraham was old, and he came with his days.”
These expressions represent the idea of taking advantage of every day of our lives. Some people take advantage of 10% of their days, of their time. But Abraham and Sarah were taking advantage of 100% of their time. They were in awe of life, 365/24/7.
They knew G-d was talking to them, from behind the curtain and between the lines. The sacred text and the highlights of their lives was the idea that there’s something needing their focus and attention at every moment in order to elevate it, to complete it or to be completed by it.
That’s what an All-ness person is all about. They realize that every second is a challenge, complete with G-d’s guidance for solving a problem in their lives. Sometimes, it may become an awareness of another possible problem, like a signal, to bring about a healing or a cure of some kind.
These things are happening at all times, and that’s why we need to be All-ness people. We need to pay attention to everything as an opportunity and bring to it the totality of the All-ness of ourselves.
We need to have a perspective that is not partial or constricted in any way. And we need to be able to see, even when things don’t look whole and complete, it’s a matter of our own perspective. We are not seeing things clearly, in an All-ness way, and we have an opportunity to turn something partial into All-ness.
This is a type of healing perspective on life, and we can learn to go back to a place of All-ness, the ultimate place known as the Garden of Eden. All of humanity is trying to get back to that All-ness garden, consciously or unconsciously.
The more we look through the lens of All-ness at the encounters of our lives, and the more we live complete lives the more we understand the preciousness of every second, the more we become righteous people.
The more we bring All-ness into the world, and the more we accept and have mindfulness and peace of mind in regard to everything that’s happening, the more we understand the message our Patriarchs and Matriarchs bring to us in Torah.
This week’s Parsha is Vayera. It’s a continuation of the study of Abraham, and his Chessed and goodness to the world. It’s a study of extraordinary life.
Abraham has a tent somewhere in the desert, Beersheva I believe, that is open on all four sides, in all four directions, to anyone. Abraham wanted to promote the idea of giving love through hospitality. His motto was, “What is mine is yours.” And that was a life-changing, revolutionary motto in his day, and in our day, too.
Instead of taking, Abraham wanted to show that G-d is a G-d of giving, so G-d’s people should be people of giving. That’s the message, and everything about Abraham’s life is seen as extraordinary love and sharing, even the way he provided his hospitality. He did a little and he did a lot, because he came from this perspective of giving and loving.
Abraham even went to the city of Sodom to pray against its destruction. This would seem to make sense for a person of such stature, but his qualities of morality, goodness, giving and loving were completely the opposite of the characteristics of people in Sodom. He set up an institute of The Sons of Sodom because he wanted to love them as well, to get that message across and to pray for them. He even brought them into his home to demonstrate the theme of his life – loving people despite the consequences and despite possibly being the first man to do so.
Because it means people may take advantage of us, this is a hard concept to hear in the world now, when everybody is protective of themselves, to avoid vulnerability.
But Abraham was teaching a different way, an extraordinary way of life. It was his whole purpose and ambition in life, and he set an example for us to follow. We need to find many ways to emulate Abraham’s extraordinary qualities, such as sharing love in the way we talk to people, deepening the love in our families, appreciating the depth of a mother’s love and the reality of love in people who aren’t currently capable of showing it.
In our hearts we need to have the foresight, the love and the faith to bring out the love in others. We need to be able to identify the point of love in another person, even if its deep inside them, and to the exclusion of all else be able to focus on that point of love within them. This is how we can turn another person’s life into a life of love.
That’s the challenge, and the topic of our MMM this week.
This week’s MMM is preparation for Succot.
To start, it’s a holiday of connections. I want to explore some of the main features, highlights and spiritual principles involved in Succot
For example, one of the themes of Succot is happiness. It’s the second half of the holiday month, and instead of Gevurot being transferred from the male persona to the female persona, there are chasidim, which are mechanisms of connection instead of mechanisms of disconnection.
Also, there’s the idea of a love affair, the one happening between us, the Jewish people, and Hashem. And this love affair culminates in a unification during the holiday of Succot, which has ramifications for the whole year.
We go out into a succah, and inside it we are covered by the clouds of Glory, of trust and Emunah. These clouds raise us up to a level where we are able to commune with the seven shepherds of Israel, with Abraham, Issac and Jacob, and the others, each on a different night.
Rosh Hashanah falls on the heels of Elul, a month of very intense time of self-exploration. And then there’s Yom Kippur, a time of judgment and tshuva. What’s the essential connection woven into this whole period, including Succot? That’s the question.
My answer would be this – it’s a paradigm model for all relationships. What’s happening during Rosh Hashanah, though the end of the holidays, is something that happens every day. This elongated unification process is actually going on all the time, every day, every week, every month and every holiday.
This period represents a standard, paradigm model, and I believe it teaches us about all our relationships by first teaching us about our relationship with G-d. It’s a pattern for all our interactions.
That pattern is – first step could be described as, “if you love somebody, set them free…” It’s the separation of Eve from Adam, before she became a separate being. We can start with a separation of ourselves from G-d so that we can see who we are and how we bond with G-d.
That’s the first step, and it’s the Days of Awe, or the Days of Tshuva we’re in right now. Once we get a complete self-realization of the “real Me,” then that mature, clarified Me who knows why I’m here in the world is ready to bond with Hashem, the One who made me and who enables the real Me.
That’s the beginning of the bonding process. And when we get to that place, we must have a commitment. Like the wedding ceremony that commits the couple for the rest of their lives, to each other and to no one else, which involves a contractual agreement that’s signed and sealed, so it is in the paradigm process at this time of year. Our commitment is signed and sealed, and that’s when happiness comes into the picture.
We have clarity on our connection and where we’re going together. The Sages say, there’s no happiness like the happiness of ridding ourselves of doubt. So, happiness comes into the second half of this holiday period because our commitment is sealed on Yom Kippur. After that, we can celebrate. It’s the happiest time of year. We try to keep ourselves happy by singing and dancing with each other every night. It’s a connection built up from the demonstration of our undying love, and our willingness to go into the succah exile with our beloved.
Without a normal home to sleep in and eat in, we still have deep trust in our partner. We are willing to do anything for our partner.
And finally, when we come together at the end of this whole holiday period with a mutual sharing of our essence, with love, joy, a hug and a kiss… after the intimacy we give birth to our newness in the new year. It’s a family created by this type of a paradigm relationship. It’s reproductive.
This season is a model for paradigm relationships.
This week I want to speak about the power of Tshuva, and what it can accomplish.
First of all, Tshuva was created before the creation of the world because Tshuva is the tikkun of the world. It relates to the world within each person, and it’s not simply a matter of fixing up something wrong.
Instead, Tshuva is a whole separate, unique creation, according to the Slonim Rebbe, as well as a way to fix up our sins.
We know that the place where the Baal Tshuva stands, the Masters of Return, even the righteous one cannot stand in such a place. The Baal Tshuva have “been there and done that,” and made a choice not to do so any longer.
When they made that choice, they raised up buried and hidden sparks, which the righteous ones could never get to because they haven’t been to those places.
So, where the Baal Tshuva stands, the ones who really came back, who really made the move, they stand as a holy creature with no flaws, with a new soul and a new, above-nature personality. They access the roots of Creation at the highest levels, with the ability to change everything.
They have changed themselves, changed their own nature, their place, their name and the reality of their situation. All this may be what it takes for a returnee to get where he or she is going.
To get to these levels is the work of a lifetime.
Here in Jerusalem there’s a certain Baal Tshuva yeshiva where, many years ago, one of the students met up with one of the great Rebbes of the time. The Rebbe asked him, “Are you a Baal Tshuva?” And the student mistakenly thought that would give him a lower status, so he denied it.
Then the Rebbe asked, “Why not? Why don’t you rise to the occasion and be a true Baal Tshuva?” His questions showed respect for the fact that Baal Tshuva can get to a place that others cannot reach. One reason they can do so is because they can’t stand living in a world of deception, living a lie. They have to be true to themselves.
Instead of putting up a front, they acknowledge their place and start from there. They have come to realize the severity of sin, of missing the mark.
One of the ways of becoming a Baal Tshuva is in the sound of the shofar. It is a primal scream; it’s like primal scream therapy, in a way, because it uproots the darkness in our souls and allows us to rise up and out of the darkness.
A Baal Tshuva, as a Master of Return, can bring healing to the whole world and has more power to bring healing because they went into the darkness and hiddenness and came back with revelation. The ones who can dig up and extract revelation from the darkness and hiddenness while refusing to embrace them don’t budge until they reveal the reality of G-d’s light in everything, everywhere.