Restore Jewish Glory
On the occasion of the yartzeit of Rabbi Yitzchak Issac Luria, the Arizal, I want to talk about him because he was such an incredible human being. These are some things everybody needs to know, to understand what it’s possible for a human being to become in this world:
- The Ari was mean to be a spark of a part of the reincarnation of Moses, of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, and possibly Moshiach ben Yosef (of the two Messianic presences, ben David and ben Yosef.)
- The Ari had the ability to look at another person with x-ray eyes, so to speak, and to see into their soul. He could look at a person and understand everything about them, just by looking at them. By sensing their aroma, he knew their essence. He could look at their forehead and understand their sins, and look at their eyes and see their soul, and bring it out to speak to it.
- The Ari could go to a graveyard and look at the souls of the people buried there. He was able to select a name from the Kabbalistic books he studied and speak a name from among the Sages, and that person would appear before him and answer whatever the Ari asked.
- The Ari could look at birds and understand their language, and look at trees and understand their language. He certainly was able to understand the language of Torah and, in fact, was a genius at understanding all of Torah.
- The Ari could look beyond the surface of a person and see what’s underneath, which may reveal that another soul is also inhabiting that person’s body. Not only in an evil, scary way, but also in a holy way. A person from a previous generation came to help another person along in this life, as a mitzvah. He could look at a student and stand up for them, because he understood that, as a result of their actions, they had the assistance of a Sage from 2000 years ago.
- The Ari was able to see, in a learning session during the day, where all the doubts came from. He would seek out these doubts, like a warrior in battle would seek out the enemy. Whenever he found a doubt, something that was unclear in the world of Torah exploration which is mean to be sort of a grey area, meaning not black and white, the Ari would seek out the doubt to destroy it. And that’s how he became a person of incredible clarity. Whatever he said, he said with absolute authority, unlike some of his students who had a harder time, and weren’t always clear about what he said, how much he said and what he meant.
- The Ari could draw down any soul from any time period, past or present, and bring it into the room.
- The Ari went up and visited the upper yeshivas when he went to sleep each night. He was escorted by angels to protect him on the way into Heaven, and he participated in the yeshivas of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and Moses and any other Sages of his choice. He was welcomed with open arms.
- The Ari was able to come back and report what he learned. The accumulated wisdom, his entire body of knowledge communicated by the transcribers of his wisdom was collected from his age of 36 to 38. And that’s what he gave to the world, and it encompasses a body of knowledge which is huge. Every book of Torah you can find includes something from the Ari.
- The Ari was able to share just a fraction of all he actually knew, which became apparent when one of his students snuck into his room while the Ari was napping on a Shabbat afternoon, and he saw the Ari’s lips moving very fast. Afterwards, he was told that during the minute or two he saw the Ari moving his lips there was conveyed so much information through him that it would take 80 years to share with others.
- The Ari was simply a man of increbility, in every sense of the word… a man who knew the root soul of every person, where they were on their path, what they were supposed to be doing in the present and also in the future, and what they need to fix up in their lives.
- The Ari could take a soul out of a person and interview it, and find out where it’s going and where it needs to go.
- The Ari was incredibly humble. He never killed any living thing, although he could have done so at any moment.
- The Ari was speaking with angels at all times. And he understood the language of the body, physical features and facial features, their eyes, nose, mouth, ears and lines on their face. Doing so he could read the person’s reincarnations throughout their past lives.
- The Ari revealed to us methods and systems of Kabbalistic learning which answer the deepest questions ever asked by humans, all the paradoxes included. His account of the constriction of G-d’s presence and revelation in Creation, and his system of Sephirot are good examples. The Ari said he didn’t get anything of his own except what he gleaned from the Zohar of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, and which he put into a system for others to understand.
- The Ari answered some of the biggest dilemmas regarding reincarnation, why bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people… he understood all that.
Those are just a few points outlining a truly amazing person, who emanated this access to wisdom every single minute of his life. He was a shining example of the extraordinary. From the Ari, we see the possibility of what a human can do and can be. He came here to fix the world, and teach through his main student, Rabbi Chaim Vital, who was prepared to be the Moshiach, but it was not the time in his generation as they were not worthy, so it didn’t happen yet.
We still have more work to do, but in the Arizal we can see what a human being can actually become.
This is part seven of the Restoring the Jewish Glory series. I call this one, The Light At The End of The Tunnel People, or maybe The Tunnel-lighters. Here’s the concept – We are known as people who, no matter where you throw us, we’re going to come out ok, one way or another. We may be hurt, killed, tossed-around, wounded, but as a people we are going to survive. We’re going to come through. We’re going to find the light at the end of the tunnel.
We learned that truth from our 210 years in Egypt, which was only a model of our final exile. Our Sages say that just as we came out of Egypt, we will come out of the final exile and experience a redemption.
King David talks about it when he says that for every bit of suffering and torture we experience, we will have recompense for all of it. And, deep in our souls we know that everyone who is part of Israel has a part in the World To Come.
It may take a long time to get to the place to earn it, but there is the light at the end of the tunnel. As King David says in a verse that is universal, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil because you are with me, G-d.” Even in that valley of death, Gehennom, or wherever it happens to be, G-d is will us and He will pull us through.
We have a subconscious task or destiny which includes us, but it also includes G-d, who is in the exile along with us, so to speak. He’s in there with us, and He’s going to come out of the exile with us, too. That’s true in a larger sense, but also in a day-to-day sense in our personal lives.
Whenever we are hurting, we know that G-d is hurting, too. When we focus on that idea, we know it’s not just about my pain, but also about G-d’s pain, because G-d is suffering what I’m suffering. We know that G-d is eventually going to get out, and we’ll be there with Him.
We are in a period right now called The Three Weeks of The Narrow Straits, which is the same time period when the greatest cataclysms have occurred throughout history. Underneath that reality, we have a subconscious realization that these darkest of days hold the highest of lights. They hold the ability to get out of the darkness entirely, by bringing the Messianic Light directly into that place and time.
We are a nation of holy skeptics, which means we are more skeptical than gullible. We won’t buy into something immediately because we won’t settle for second-best. We know that there’s perfection waiting for us and we’re better than that. That’s why we’re skeptical in a holy way. It comes from the knowledge that there is holiness awaiting us, ultimately.
As a people, we know that the deeper we are found inside this tunnel, the deeper the darkness around us, every small step we take to extricate ourselves is equal to gigantic leaps and bounds in easier times. We are not afraid of where we are, because we know there is a pay-off, a compensation for it eventually.
We know that when we get the end of this exile, when we get to the redemption, we’ll be shown, just as the brothers of Joseph were shown, why everything had to happen as it did. When he said, “I am Joseph,” they could see how it all happened, how it came together like puzzle pieces and began to make sense.
G-d is going to tell us, “I am G-d,” and all the hidden puzzle pieces will come together for us, and we’ll see it was all preparation to get out of the tunnel. It will all come together and it will all make sense. We’re going to see it clearly, retroactively.
We are the children of Abraham, Issac and Jacob. For an example, Jacob is called, “the holy Jacob,” because he planted inside us this survival skill. We have the ability to go into the deepest, darkest, most deceptive places and come out shining. After 20 years Jacob came out of the house of his father-in-law, Lavan, the most deceptive man in the world, and he came out shining, he came out whole.
He came out holy, which is when a person goes into an anti-holy place and comes out having maintained his own holiness and having planted holiness in that anti-holy place. That’s the ultimate light at the end of the tunnel. It’s where you lit up the whole tunnel
Napoleon, during these same three weeks, 100 years ago, saw a bunch of Jews sitting on the ground and mourning the loss of the Holy Temple. He actually came into Israel, sometime in the 1800s, and he saw this happening. He asked someone, “How long ago did the event they are mourning happen?” And he got the answer, “About 1800 years ago.” Napoleon was astonished, saying, “1800 years ago? If that’s true and they are still not satisfied, but they still have hope, then I guarantee this people will have its Temple again one day.“
Those grieving Jews understood there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how long that tunnel is. And that’s our legacy, too. We are the light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel people. And no matter what situations we are tossed into, we live our lives with the knowledge that there’s going to be a light at the end.
This will be number six in our series, Restoring The Jewish Glory. My subject is this – our legacy in history is as “raisers of Holy Sparks,” because that’s what we are as a people.
As a background understanding, what does it mean to “raise up Holy Sparks”?
Kabbalah explains that there was a breakdown, a cosmic breakage of reality, which means there was too much Light, and not enough vessel to receive that Light. So, the vessels of reality were shattered. And now we have a scattered collection of vessels, each with a little bit of Light. This is what we call “sparks,’ hidden inside of reality.
This shattering process happened over and over, during the fall of Adam and cataclysms, holocausts and other situations, personal and collective. But, that’s the basic process. And it means that reality is sort of set up in a way that’s not fixed. Instead, it’s all in a broken condition.
That’s why we need somebody who knows how to fix up, or automatically, organically knows how to find the Divine hiding inside the secular, of what seems to be “non-Divine.” The purpose is to raise up the hidden sparks by identifying the Divine and raising up reality to a Divine level, which is where it was originally.
We have this legacy, as a people, to trace it back on a collective level. When Adam fell from the Garden of Eden when he ingested the knowledge of Good and Evil he mixed good souls and bad souls, good energy and bad energy, into all of reality.
You can look into Adam, into the map of the world, like a map of the world showing population density, both now and throughout history, and you can say, “The fall out of the arms or the legs is in North and South America, for example…” Or the fall out of this is in this part of Europe or this part of Asia perhaps.
With the right glasses you can see the fall out of Adam, with an admixture of good and bad, and how it ended up in all these different nations. And our legacy, we who are the Jewish sparks-raisers, is exile. We are exiled throughout history, to the right time and the right place, according to what our personalities are like and the need of the particular country in need of raising sparks at that time.
So, American Jews are thrown out into the exile of America and European Jews into the exile of Europe, all of us in the right place at the right time. We sent out by force into exile, to raise up those sparks that are the most in sync with who we are in our time in history. That’s the cosmic picture, and that’s who we are – cosmic, historical sparks-raisers.
We do it by just being Jews, basically. We don’t have to go anywhere and do hocus-pocus and abracadabra just to raise sparks. We don’t know how to do that because there is no such thing. We accomplish that by simply being ourselves, by being who we should be, if we are choosing to be who we should be. If we are holding to our tradition and we’re connected to G-d and to Torah and to Judaism then we’re going to raise the sparks. And we’re going to bring the potential converts who are not necessarily in their place back to their place, because we happen to be there to arouse them and awaken them.
This is what we do. It’s our historical legacy, our job. Our mission lasts until Moshiach comes and all the sparks will be raised up. That’s the cosmic, the big picture of what we do as sparks-raisers.
The technique or technical “how-to” of it is that every day every person experiences lack. We all lack things, and when we encounter our lack, whether it’s through learning, or relationships, eating, sleeping, walking, talking or anything else we may do, we discover what is driving us. We find out what we want and what we need, and we know we’re resonating with those particular things because they are sparks. When we engage these things we resonate with, the things we lack, and when we do it in a holy and proper way we raise up those sparks.
That’s how we do it. You might way that we are human vacuum cleaners, pulling up the dust and the dirt from all over the place and making everything clean again. We are sent into the world for this purpose, exactly this purpose.
The super-stars of this process were our forefathers. They came with their “days, “ as they said at the end of their life story. Every single day they raised up sparks, and in every encounter in lie they were raising up sparks. Our Patriarchs are Matriarchs are showing us the way, how to do that.
There is nothing that is perchance, or coincidental. We are placed in certain situations individually as well as nationally, because G-d has providentially put us there to raise up that which has fallen. This reality fills us up as well.
Back to the collective idea… As long as we’re in a country of exile and as long as we still have work to do, we’re going to be in that country. Usually, we may find ourselves as leaders in our country. The politicians, the scientists, academicians and financiers are the people who are making that country work.
Once the sparks are all lifted up, the non-Jews will kick us out of the country, in either a nice way or another way, not so nice. Basically, there’s nothing more for us to accomplish over there because the sparks are all lifted up. That’s what’s happening in our time, right now. We are experiencing this incredible influx of exiles from all over the world, because there is no more restoration of sparks needed where they had been living.
We’re in the middle of the influx here in Israel right now. We’re watching the miracle unfold every single day of our lives!
So, that’s our legacy. That’s what we do on an individual and collective basis from the various places of exile where we’ve been sent, and depending on our personalities, who we are.
If you bring all of that into this particular 3-week period we are in right now, called The Narrow Straights, where an uncanny collection of cataclysms have happened to us throughout time, sparks-raiser Jews need to remember, “the higher they climb, the harder they fall.” In other words, the harder and darker things may appear, the greater is the Light underneath.
The Messianic Lights are right beneath this period of time right now. The biggest, the greatest sparks in the dimension of time, not just space, are found right now. This is when and where we really have to shine. We really have to chase after the sparks, as the verse in Jeremiah says, “All those who chase after her will catch her in the Narrow Straights.” It’s referring to our trials during this time of the year. But it also means that everyone who chases after G-d during this period will find G-d.
If you chase after those sparks you couldn’t find the rest of the year, you will find them now. The danger and the opportunity is incredibly great right now. But, that’s our legacy as sparks-raisers.
What I’m going to talk about now is The Ladder, bridging heaven to earth.
“… And a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached up to heaven.” Genesis 28:12
Based on this quote you can find a lot of different interpretations of what “the ladder” means. With regard to our topic, it’s a description of our people returning to our glory as “ladder people,” or people who bridge the spiritual with the physical, people who bridge heaven to earth.
The glory of the Jewish people is restored by virtue of the fact that we have a special connection between our souls (heaven) and our bodies (earth). The way that we bridge those two is the message we have to give to the world.
So, I want to explore three small but significant dimensions in that bridging of the spiritual with the physical.
The first dimension is how we bridge the infinite to the finite. Here are a few examples of Soul Bridges:
- Bridging the creation process, which established the fact that G-d is hidden, and his presence is constricted. This gives us greater and greater revelation in all aspects of life.
- Bridging normal, daily actions we perform (mitzvoth) to the Divine Will. This brings the infinite into the finite as well.
- Bridging a mystical outlook, one that defines thought as having a connection to the infinite, because our souls are plugged-into our thoughts. Our thoughts are connected to our source.
- Bridging our will to G-d’s will, which is infinitizing our will, basically.
- Bridging all processes and all structures to a template called the Ten Sephirot. This means we categorize all processes and structures in terms of a Divine-based model.
- Bridging that which is broken to an infinite rectification, an infinite-based tikkun. That’s our job, our Tikkun Olam.
- Bridging our core desires to the main, core desire of all core desires, which is to return to Hashem, to return to the infinite womb, so to speak.
- Bridging the time after the fall from the Garden of Eden, back to the pre-fall period. This puts us in a pristine state of being where we can go back to the Garden, to the infinite value of what the Garden really is, which is not the tree of knowledge, but the tree of life.
The second dimension is more about expansion. We need to understand that what characterizes spirituality in mystical Judaism is the ability to see things that are partial as being part of something whole. Here are a few examples:
- We can look at things that may grow old, or tiring or boring and we can bridge them to a type of experience which never grows old. It is our legacy to bridge this way.
- We can bridge a narrow mindset to an ever-expanding mindset of ideas. That’s another type of bridging something partial to something whole.
- We can bridge many seemingly unconnected ideas into a whole unit, where each idea is inter-included with every other idea. This is another type of bridging of body and soul we are obliged to accomplish in this world, too.
- We can take a situation of constriction and tap into it to harness expansion. That’s another type of bridging.
- We can take something about which we are unclear and with which we have a lot of doubt and we can experience the power of no choice, which is a transcendent power. That’s another way we can bridge.
- We can walk through life in a haphazard way and we can figure out what our mission and calling in life may be. That expands our possibilities as well.
- We can take any situation of not knowing and we can get answers, just by asking G-d. That is another type of expansion of knowledge.
- We can take a situation of partialness, whatever it might be, and take that partialness to join all the puzzle pieces together, into a situation of wholeness. That’s another example.
- We can take our own actions in the world, when we’re motivated in a general way, and become motivated with laser-like precision with what we have to contribute. That’s how we can personally expand the world.
- We can take a situation of restricted consciousness and expand it through our connection. That is something we can all do.
Finally, the third and last dimension is about going back to the mystery, going back into the “not knowing,” or the Ayin, which is where miracles can happen. We can bridge ourselves to totally transform reality. Here are a few examples:
- Knowing there is nothing in this world but G-d. If we can reframe all the causes and effects from being natural to being supernatural, where there is nothing else but G-d, that’s when we are bridging ourselves to the mystery and changing the reality.
- Knowing we can change our ratzon, our will, to G-d’s will, what G-d wants, when we can make those connect, that’s when we step into the miraculous as well.
- Knowing we can take our faculties, our senses, and fuse them with G-d’s senses… “G-d is seeing through me, hearing through me, etc.” that’s when we take it up to a miraculous level as well.
- Knowing we can take our power of free choice and say, “I have no choice but to do what G-d does,” that’s when we become sort of human angels.
- Knowing we can take our incapacity, our vulnerability, our helplessness, and we say, “I cannot do this, but G-d CAN do this through me…” that’s when we take our lack straight into the miraculous.
- Knowing we can do things that are invisible to the world, in doing so, we bring blessing to those things. Blessing is where the eye does not rest.
- Knowing we can do things not because it’s good for us or it’s not good for us, but from a place of equanimity, that’s when we step into the miracle.
- Knowing we can use our senses in another way besides directly, physically, such as seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling, which is when we can plug into the deeper spiritual senses, and that’s when we tap into the miraculous and bridge that which is physical to that which is spiritual.
I’m calling this post The Healing of The Chosen Nation, and beginning with two quotes:
כִּי-קָרוֹב אֵלֶיךָ הַדָּבָר, מְאֹד: בְּפִיךָ וּבִלְבָבְךָ, לַעֲשֹׂתוֹ.
But the word is very close to you, in your mouth, and in your heart, so that you may do it. Dvarim 30:14
I will take you from among the nations and gather you out of all the countries and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle on you clean water… I will give you a new heart, and I will place in you a new spirit; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and will give you a heart of flesh… I will put my spirit within you… and you will be my people, and I will be your G-d. Ezekiel 36:24-29
What comes up here is that G-d is going to heal us, because in order to be the chosen people we need healing. Part of the healing we need is the healing of believing in ourselves.
We have a very strong destiny and task at hand. It may even be too strong… It’s cosmic and world-changing task we have to live up to, and we have no choice about it. We have to live up to it, one way or another.
We are on a threshold of history right now, so we need to look inside ourselves to see if we’re up to the task. Part of preparing for it, for being up to our assigned task, is to be healed by G-d and to be ready for it.
There are three types of healing I want to talk about, and the first one is Being Beloved, which means feeling how much Hashem loves us. We have to feel that we are something special. We have to feel that we deserve to be something special. We have to feel like we know what our specialness is all about.
And even if we don’t know, we believe that it will be revealed to us, and that it’s real. We have spent so much of our history trying to be more American than Americans, and more British than the Brits, rather than being more Jewish. We don’t seem to understand how we can be completely Jewish.
We’re like a neglected child that never got the basic foundations needed to build up healthy self-esteem. So, that’s the first thing, feeling the love of who we are, inside and outside.
THE HEALING MEDITATION
Experience yourself as being a proud member of the most special family\nation that has ever existed… experience yourself as being very beloved in the eyes of Hashem now, in your own eyes and ultimately in the eyes of the world… Feel Hashem’s deep, deep love for you—so deep that we are referred-to as His daughter, his sister, his mother, so deep that He reveals Himself to you in all situations –even when we are stuck in the deepest lows… feel the presence of the guardian Angels that Hashem sends to watch over us—every step that we take. Be aware that the whole world was created solely for your sake… know that we are compared to a dove, that though they may fly away—they always come back to their mate—so too, that describes us with Hashem and Hashem with us… we are refereed-to as his Holy ones, his Chosen ones, his Priestly ones, his lights to the world, his righteous ones … in light of all of this love, realize that the when we are targets of hate, it comes from jealousy, and the love and high esteem with which we are regarded from Above will serve as the springboards of our recuperation and our incumbent reclaiming of the unique global standing which is our birthright.
The second type of healing is this – Healing Our Character.
There are several points to make on this:
We have a hard time believing in ourselves. We are not aware of our strengths, and we are brain-washed into believing vicious lies about being lustful money-grabbers.
We are divisive, and have a very difficult time uniting under one leader or one banner.
We are great actors and imitators of other peoples, in the many exiles into which we have been cast. We think we don’t have our own character in depth, so we reach out to grab the cultures and belief systems of other peoples, other cultures and faiths that have, ironically, received their traditions from our own.
THE HEALING MEDITATION
Experience yourself as being a proud member of the most special family\nation that has ever existed.
Know that we are the nation that has done more than all others to give the world values and a conscience (derived from our Holy Torah). Know that you are part of a nation that bears both sides of a paradox and comes through shining. Know that you are part of a people of deep and rich character, and despite this character and greatness, the more that we have, the more that we make ourselves small, usually attributing it all to Hashem
Experience your unique trait of being a holy skeptic, knowing that there is always something bigger and better than what is being offered. Know that you have an inherent brilliance both intellectually and emotionally. Know that we are compared to olive oil and therefore don’t mix with other nations, but rather rise to the top. Know that though we are compared with the sands of the sea, and when we fall, we fall all the way, but at the same time we are compared to the stars in the sky, and we rise, we rise all the way to the top.
Experience being similar to the palm tree—a tree that is useful in all of its aspects—so too are we. Experience being like the lily of the field which blooms despite being burnt by the sun. Know that when all is said and done, the nations of the world will seek to imitate and emulate us and not vice versa.
And finally, the third type of healing is Being Intimately Connected To G-d.
Here’s the challenge we have with this healing – we are a broken people, broken by thousands of years of being tossed around, in exiles and sufferings, and we have a hard time seeing the full picture, the inter-connectedness of it all. A broken people has a hard time believing that G-d is the leader, the healer, the guide and THE ANSWER.
A broken nation, thinking it has nothing of its own, nothing valuable, clutches at straws. We embrace cults and worship idols, fake ideologies and power positions and obsessions and schemes. We tend to go after everything, except that which exists in our own backyard.
THE HEALING MEDITATION
Experience yourself as being a proud member of the most special family\nation that has ever existed. Know that you are a monotheist—you gave this idea to the world, you have inborn faith—you are a believer, the child of believers… you are a Y-E-H-U-D-I, a person whose essence is G-dliness.
You are a part of a people who bridge Heaven to Earth in every detailed aspect of life. You are a person who is constantly seeking to unify everything and to see everything brought to perfection, rooted in our people’s drive towards an ideal, globally-unified messianic vision. You are an inheritor of Tefilla and Torah –a constant dialogue to and from Hashem.
You are a witness to the world of Hashem’s existence, your deepest will is at one with Hashem’s will. You are a soul that is a part of Hashem, and therefore beyond space and time and all other limitations. You are G-d’s mouthpiece to the world when you are connected to Hashem, you are indestructible and impervious to all harm. You are an inheritor of eternity and infinity, and the great liberation that these grant to you. You are one with Hashem and one with the Torah, so step up and shake off the dust of the apparent exile that you are dwelling in, and that dwells inside of you. Lift up your hands to the Heavens and reclaim your glorious heritage!
I’m going to look at the question – What makes Jews special people?
First, I’ll read a verse, from which I’m going to draw some special, Biblical attributes attributed to the Jewish people.
‘’And now, if you will hearken to my voice and keep my covenant, you will be to me a special people of all the nations, for all the earth is mine. And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation; these are the words that you shall say to the children of Israel.‘’ [Exodus 19:5-6]
Here are the topics I’ve derived from Exodus 19: 5-6:
- Am Segula. This Hebrew phrase is important. It describes a person who is chosen and special, but not necessarily understood. The qualities of being chosen and special are beyond our comprehension.
So, this Am Segula, this special nation of the Jewish people is unique because we have an inherent, spiritual capability within each of us. We have a hidden power of survival, self-sacrifice, healing, invincibility and durability inside us. We are a nation with the ability to embrace paradox, to embrace two contradictory arguments and bring them into a whole.
We are a nation with a very special destiny, a glorious destiny. And we have a super-consciousness which is also unique. Though we may not consciously know something, super-consciously, we do know certain things.
Here’s a meditation about being part of a unique and special nation:
Experience the feeling of being part of a nation that is unique and special… Get in touch with the feeling that your destiny is unique and special—something you may not comprehend , but something you just know… Get in touch with the power of Segula—the power of being able to walk through doors and accomplish things, not necessarily because you deserve it, but rather because you are special… feel the responsibility of having a special destiny … feel the responsibility for the entire world somehow on your shoulders… feel how the world was created just for you, and therefore you need to see to it that all goes well and smooth in the world, that all that you hear and see about your people and about the world is a personal calling for you to pray and act and do what you can to help out the situation… be humble in your role and in your destiny knowing that it’s all a gift and a beckoning from the One Above…
These are the elements of being a Holy Nation:
- We are connected to G-d. We are called Yehudi, which is the Hebrew word for Judah, or Judean. It’s one of the tribes of Israel, the central and ruling tribe of Israel. The name of the tribe spells the four-letter name of G-d. So, we’re all about being G-d-connected, all the time.
- We’re all about having our will connected to G-d’s will. If you dig down into the will of a Jewish person you’ll find a will that’s connected to G-d’s. We want to do G-d’s will. Sometimes there are a lot of layers blocking it from our awareness, but if you dig down deep enough you’ll actually find them and even put them to the test.
- Down deep, we know it’s not about us, it’s about G-d. It’s about our deepest ratzon, our will, to do what G-d wants us to do.
Here’s a meditation about being a Holy Nation:
Experience the feeling of being part of a nation that is unique, special and different from all other nations… Experience being a member of a nation that is referred to as the The Holy Nation… Experience underneath all the confusion and other forms of spiritual blockage, your primal motivation to be connected with Hashem… Experience that all that you really will is actually Hashem’s Will… Experience the certainty that all that you engage in, and every effort that you make to control and influence your fate in life is actually Hashem working through you and activating you in order to carry out whatever he wants to carry out –through you.
And finally, we are a kingdom of priests. What does that mean?
- It means to testify and to be witnesses to the fact that G-d is running the world. One of the verses in prophecy mentions that G-d calls his witnesses, testifying of his presence in the world.
- It means we are servants, like priests are service-oriented people. We are here to serve G-d, and like a priest, to serve other people as well.
- It means we are teachers, because priests are people who teach. They teach by example, but they also teach G-d’s will in the world.
Here’s a meditation about being a nation of priests:
Experience the feeling of being part of a nation of priests… feel the awesome responsibility of being the one who gives testimony to the world that G-d exists—that there is in fact nothing more important than G-d—that there is essentially nothing else but G-d… fill yourself up with this role and with the responsibility that it carries to enable others to be connected to G-d, to know G-d, to follow G-d’s ways and will, to reveal G-d where He is normally not found, to teach others how to do all this, how to live this… feel the pleasure and awe in opening up this reality for one other person and for more than one person, and for all of humanity… Feel the awe of the responsibility of your actions—feel that you don’t only represent yourself, but you represent G-d to all whom you encounter—and how being a representative of G-d lifts you up to act in a higher and more serious and passionate manner…
Last week I gave an introduction to this series – Restoring the Glory of the Jewish People. It’s touching on the idea of us being the chosen people, but also to the reality of stepping up into our legacy.
Today let’s start with this – The Jewish people are the ones who testify that G-d is in the world. One prophecy says, “You are my witnesses.” I’d like to point out that besides being witnesses verbally, and talking about G-d, it’s our extraordinary connection to G-d and our living in an above-nature way that serve as our testimony.
Our extraordinary, above-nature living in the world, as a people, involves a number of things:
- It involves our will being connected to G-d’s will.
- Our ideal perception is that there’s nothing else in the world except G-d.
- Our ideal testimony is that where G-d is normally not found, we are witnesses revealing Him to be found.
- We are a people connected so deeply with G-d that, as the Zohar teaches, G-d and Israel and Torah are one, which means we can connect with our souls to G-d and to Torah in any combination, and find each other in that interconnection.
- We are a people whose souls are described in the book of Job as being “a part of G-d above,” which is a hard concept to understand, meaning partializing G-d, but that’s what the words say and we have a very deep understanding of our souls based on that idea.
- We are a people who are promised that G-d will be with us in the exile, and G-d will return with us from the exile. Most of our history involves exile, almost all of it. And we are always connected up with G-d in an extraordinary way, wherever we are.
- We are a people who are very beloved. Our Sages teach us, if a person knew how much G-d loves us, we would be roaring like a lion all day long.
- We are a people who are beloved, and there are parts of Holy script referring to us as His daughter, His sister and His mother, describing the love of G-d that is shared with us.
- We are taught that Heaven and Earth were created for us, that’s how much love sustains our faith and who we are.
- We are taught that God mirrors the Jewish people doing mizvot in many different ways, and one of the ways is that He wears tefillin, just as we do. Our tefillin speaks of our love for G-d, the verse in the Shema, and His tefillin speaks of His love for us, “Who is like my people Israel?” Even on the level of ritual, G-d is expressing His deep love for us.
- We are connected to G-d in an extraordinary way with regard to our character.
- We are considered to be above the stars, and more numerous than the stars and the sand.
- We are considered to be a nation which dwells alone.
- We are considered to be a nation which, when we ascend, we ascend to the highest heights, and when we fall, we fall lower than anyone else.
- We are compared to various fruits, such as the date palm. Every part of the date palm is has a particular use.
- We are compared to the apple, which has a bud that comes out before the fruit appears. And as a people we said, “We will DO before we said we will listen,” which is parallel to the apple.
- We’re compared to olive oil because it does not mix well with water, and we do not mix well with the nations. The best of the olive oil only comes out when you crush it, and we do our best as a people when we are crushed. That’s when we really shine.
- One of our character traits is holy skepticism. When others may jump up and buy into whatever is being sold to them, the Jewish people don’t necessarily buy into everything.
- We are a people with a tendency to unite the disunited things, the divided things in this life.
- We are a people who, when pushed to say what we really want, will declare we want G-d and His will. Sometimes we have to be pushed to say it and to genuinely desiring it.
Based on these things, here are a couple of meditations based on the above-nature of the Jewish people:
Experience being Beloved by the Master of the Universe… Feel the love and how nothing can stand in the way of this love… Feel the warm glow that encompasses you , knowing that whatever you do, wherever you go, whatever you say—-you are beloved with an unconditional love—with an eternal love—a love that will never be taken away—and even when you fall and do that which seems to be bad and wrong, when all is said and done—it’ll be retrospectively clear that you really intended it to be done for the sake of your Beloved –Hashem…
Experience your unique character as a member of the Jewish people… Awaken your inborn humbleness and your natural uniqueness… experience your faithfulness… appreciate that you know deep down inside that you know of a higher and better way… take great and profound pleasure in the fact that these traits and many more are an inheritance that were experienced by your parents and theirs all the way back to the Patriarchs and Matriarchs…
Experience how you are at one with Hashem, and how He is the source of all that is good in your life … experience how he is the deepest will in your own will… experience that the deepest motivation inside of you is to reunite with Hashem in His infinite womb… experience how you are truly a child of Hashem … experience how no matter where you go and what you do, that Hashem is right there if you call…. experience that you are empowered to the extent that you connect with Hashem… experience how you are at one with Hashem on the deepest level… experience an inner drive to reveal Hashem’s presence in the world –especially where it’s not felt…
I’m starting a new series now, on the untapped essence of the Jewish people. It won’t be comparing Jewish people to non-Jewish people, as that would be politically incorrect, to say the least.
Instead, this is an exploration, and I’ll be tapping into what our destiny is all about, using some sources I’ve put together in the past and expanding on them. My intention is to reveal some things I didn’t see or know before.
In that spirit, I’m calling this series, “Restore The Jewish Glory.” And this will be a little introduction to it:
First, a quote from Ezekiel 36:24-29, “I will take you from among the nations and gather you out of all the countries and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle on you clean water. I will give you a new heart and I will place in you a new spirit. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and will give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you. You will be my people and I will be your G-d.”
Second, a quote from the writings of Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook, “Our truth is strong enough, but it is so overpowering and we are still unable to explain it in a clear language. In our inwardness, we understand our ideas and in the course of time our speech will also emerge from its hard exile in which it is confined. Only a people that has finished what it has started can descend from the stage of history, when its vision has already been fully disclosed to the world. Out of the inner depths, the Jewish people will yet sound the same call that was issued by the rock, from which it was hewn.”
The whole motivation of this my new exploration here is this – our historical destiny as a people is at hand. We are a nation of priests, we are a chosen people, we are a light unto the nations, and we are living in a period of time where the great majority of our people don’t buy into these times. They don’t begin to see, understand or know its own greatness and glory. Most of us cannot see that there’s anything special or unique that distinguishes us from other people in world outlooks, not at all.
So, the question is how to approach a subject that is so broad, so sensitive and yet so crucial. How can we hope to do justice to, perhaps, the most important question that exists for our people, and maybe for the whole world? And the answer is, we cannot do justice. It’s clearly beyond our capacity. But G-d can do it through us.
In that spirit then, we march forward, drawing specific topics from the following categories, and maybe we can find our way on this journey and map out some kind of path. Maybe we can develop some types of meditations by taking these ideas, one by one, and exploring what they’re all about.
These platitudes that we are meant to step up into, for the sake of our own destiny and the sake of all mankind present some challenges. Here’s a list of the challenges, the things we must work with:
- What does it mean to be a light to the nations?
- What does it mean to have a heart of flesh?
- What does it mean to be a chosen people?
- What does it mean to be a kingdom of priests?
- What does it mean to be a testifier of G-d for the whole world?
- What does it mean to be a teacher to the whole world?
- How does the land of Israel figure in to all of this?
- How does Moshiach figure in to all this?
- How does our people, the great majority of which are not observant, but very spirited (I would say)… How do they figure into all of this process?
- What is the timing involved in all this, stepping up into our destiny?
Those are a few of the questions, and obviously there are more. But let’s deal with at least one of them now.
We are a light unto the nations. What does this whole idea mean? If we were to do a Light Unto The Nations Meditation, what would it look like?
I think it would sound like this – Allow yourself to step into the future. See yourself as a proud member of a people who understand both the glory and the responsibility of being a chosen nation, a nation of global light-conveyers.
Experience the love inside of yourself that you are very inspired to share with all of humanity.
Experience yourself filled-up with light, a light that stretches from one end of the world to the other, a light that’s overflowing, a light that’s experienced as wisdom and G-dliness and love and transcendence and healing. It’s a light you’re driven to share with everyone, a light that’s received by one and all, directly and consciously, but also indirectly and subconsciously.
This is what I think the meditation would be about, and it’s not just a meditation, but a type of foresight or vision of what this state would be like. Because being a light to the nations is being someone who, when the world is in the dark, lights up a torch, a light or a beam to light up the path.
How does a person, no less than a nation, do that for the rest of the world? What comes to my mind is that person would need a universal language. We would need to have the ability to talk to anyone about all these things, and as a teacher we must know a language the students will understand, a translation of our destiny, which is Torah, into a universal kind of language of some type. That’s the first thing.
In order to be a superior kind of light, we would need to teach so that a person can come away from our teachings with absolute clarity, to know where to go, what to do, what to say and how to say it, who to be with and why to do it. They would know the answers to what baffles us all, in our private lives and in our national destiny.
That’s the challenge, and being a light unto the nations is probably much more than that.