TREE OF LIFE MEDITATIONS – LIFE APPLICATIONS OF THE ‘AITZ CHAIM’ –THE ARIZAL’S CLASSIC KABBALISTIC WORK – Part 2
- ARIKH \ THE LONG FACE
Know that the persona Arikh Anpin is a persona that stretches all the way, the entire length of the parsuf that corresponds to the core motivation inside of our personas. It motivates us to do everything we do, and when it’s activated, nothing stands in its way and everything aligns with it to make its will happen.
Focus on identifying the deepest, core motivation of your life. And to the extent you catch it, to that extent you are going to melt away all the subsidiary motivations you have, and you will be on fire; there will be nothing that can stand in your way.
- ABBA \ FATHER AND IMA \MOTHER
Know that, as in the upper world, so too in our world, the ultimate Father and Mother, in their ultimate, altruistic state, are completely unified in their purpose, to do what they need to do for the benefit of their children. To the extent you do that, your children will benefit for all time.
So, experience your inner, altruistic, completely dedicated approach to parenting, and apply that with inspiration and joy, every time you connect with your children. That way, you can be sure your children will do the same with their children.
- THE CHILUF \ EXCHANGE
The parents, to the extent they inter-include and bond with each other, sharing the best of who they are, with each other, to that extent these parents will give birth to the greatest representation of who they are, in their children.
Experience doing that with your parenting partner, and with all forms of birthing in your life.
- IBUR, YENIKA AND MOCHIN \ PREGNANCY, SUCKLING AND BRAINS
Know that our lives are in a constant flux of restricted and expanded consciousness. Experience the different states of expansion and restriction that you fall into and out of, and identify them. To the extent that you identify them, you’ll know when to jump in and make major decisions in a state of expansion, and when to pull back and just keep yourself quiet, in a state of restriction.
Know that the process of mothering in the higher and lower worlds involves a constant connection with your fetus, your newborn and your children throughout their entire lives. Experience this connection from the moment you realize you will be giving birth, and cultivate this connection. Then, everything you do for yourself, do that for your child – your literal child and the child of your creative output in the world.
- RAFAKH \ THE HOLY SPARKS
Know that you are constantly in engaging with lost parts of your soul. Experience the level of resonation, how strongly you resonate with all the input that comes to you, in your life. And to the extent that you are drawn to and resonating with whatever and whoever comes into your life, to that extent you will be guided from above to redeem that lost part of your soul.
- THE DESCENT OF THE BRAINS OF ‘ELOKIM’
Know that the other side, the Sitra Akrah, the other side of reality is constantly waiting to suck out any goodness you display or experience in your life. Therefore, experience yourself being protective of the value treasure you hold inside your soul, and be very selective how you share it and with whom you share it.
- GROWTH OF ZEIR ANPIN \ THE SMALL FACE
Know that the Zeir Anpin is the parallel source in the upper worlds of Divine Providence in our lives. Experience revealing the Divine Providence in your life that is normally attributed to happenstance or coincidence, and reveal that it is absolutely purposeful and personalized and customized to bring you to where you need to be in life.
- CHASADIM \CONNECTORS AND GVUROT \ DISCONNECTORS
Know that the dance of life is knowing when to connect when the connection will bring empowerment, and knowing when to disconnect when that disconnection will bring disempowerment. Experience saying Yes as often as possible, when it is to your empowered advantage, and saying No the No’s that disempower you.
- NARNACH’I—5 LEVELS OF SOUL
Know that we have all 5 levels of soul, no matter which soul level we are rooted in, and we have the ability to access all these levels. Experience the Nefesh level of the connection of spirituality with physicality. Experience the Ruach level of the bubbly sensations of associations that come to you in your creative life. Experience the Neshamah level of feeling you are being guided from On High. Experience the Chaya level of feeling you are the right hand person of G-d in bringing this world to its Tikkun. And finally, experience the Yechida level of knowing that you are one infused and enmeshed with the Creator of the entire universe. There is nothing else but the Creator.
- TZELEM —3 LEVELS OF OUR DIVINE IMAGE
Know that your very soul inside you is the very tip of an upside-down iceberg that stretches to the highest heavens. And know that, to the extent you bring that which is beyond you inside yourself, to that extent you’ve grown spiritually. Experience the drive to know what you don’t yet know, to feel what you don’t yet feel, to speak what you have not yet been able to speak, and so on with all areas of human consciousness.
- THE SHADOW PARTZUFIM [YAAKOV, LEAH ..ETC..]
Know that for every manifestation and personality that exists in our world, there is an upper world parallel for all of them. With that knowledge in mind, experience when you sleep, the upper sleep and when you talk, the upper talk. When you meet with a person of importance meet that person’s parallel upstairs and your own highest, most realized self in the upper worlds.
- TIKUN NUKVA \ RECTIFICATION OF THE FEMININE
Know that as counter-intuitive as it may seem, it is incredibly powerful, perhaps the highest power available, in the act of receiving. It’s the power of receptivity. Experience being an open vessel, open to receive from everybody and everything, all they have to give, thereby drawing down to yourself Everythingness.
TREE OF LIFE MEDITATIONS – LIFE APPLICATIONS OF THE ‘AITZ CHAIM’ –THE ARIZAL’S CLASSIC KABBALISTIC WORK – Part 1
The following meditations represent a lifetime collection of ‘Pnimiyut’ (spiritual life applications), which are translations of the otherwise very technical Creation Principles comprising the important Kabbalistic Classic—the Eitz Chaim—the Tree of Life.
These translations are in the form of meditations in order to best internalize and be impacted by them. This is the first of several posts with Creation Principle meditations.
- GIGULIM\ CIRCULAR PROVIDENCE INTERTWINED WITH YOSHER \ LINEAR PROVIDENCE
Know that you have access to G-d in a transcendent and in an immanent fashion. Experience G-d’s transcendence, His Infinite Presence being beyond your fathoming, beyond any limitations at all, while at the same time, experience G-d’s immanence, His intimate presence inside of you, nurturing you, loving you, guiding you, knowing you better than anyone in your life.
Know that in order for you to grow into becoming the best person that you can become, you need two seemingly contradictory approaches to life. First, draw down into yourself a certainty and a clarity that all is now perfect as is along with a knowing that nothing is perfect and you have the responsibility to improve and perfect everything that comes your way.
- THE PARRALEL INNER AND OUTER LIGHTS OF ADAM KADMON \ PRIMORDIAL MAN
Know that your life is a blend of information you’re aware of, knowledge that’s accessible to you and also knowledge that’s beyond you. The way you grow spiritually is to draw down into yourself that which is beyond you.
This is called, “the outer lights,” or sometimes it’s called, “the surrounding light.”
Focus on what you know, in your life. Focus on it in conversation, in learning, in facing challenges. In any aspect of life, identify that which is known to you and that which is not known to you.
And make it a point to try and grow in your spirituality by stepping up into the world of the outer lights, the great world of the unknown. And ask G-d to send you the information, and wisdom and the knowing that it will take to fathom and to become familiar with that which is beyond you in life.
You’ll find that the very question itself, and the very request itself, when done earnestly, will bring the response, the answers, and the ability to fathom that which is beyond you.
- AKUDIM \ THE PRIMORDIAL BANDED PHASE OF THE CREATION PROCESS
Know that there is a future consciousness, a world of reward, where there will be reflected to us the reward of all we have done well in our lives. In that reward world, we will see how all of the wonderful things we accomplished, and the choices we have made result in their power. We will see their power ad infinitum, forever.
Step into that world right now. Experience how there is a result, there is a birthing of all the good things you think, feel, think and do. Step into the other side of your choices and your actions. Set that as a primary focus in all that you do, and you’ll find it all becomes primordially potent and effective.
- MATEI AND LO MATEI \ THE ‘TOUCHING AND NOT TOUCHING’ PRIMORDIAL CREATION PHASE
Know that ladder leading from one world into the other world is a ladder that cannot be climbed head on, or directly. It must be climbed as the angels approached infinity in the prophetic visions we learn.
We must connect to that which is higher to us, by taking a step forward, touching it, then taking a step back and not touching it. Then we repeat it… stepping forward and touching it, then stepping back and not touching it.
Experience reaching out for that which is beyond you this way. But when you reach out for that which is beyond you, touch and grasp and engage and encounter and embrace that unknown area for just a short moment. Then stop and come back to where your base line is located.
Consider how it felt to extend yourself, and when you feel ready, go back and touch it again.
You’ll notice the more often you go forward and touch, and then stop and go back again, the more you’ll be ready to step into the new reality.
- THE WORLD OF NEKUDIM \ POINTS
Know that the world, before it was in a state of Tikkun, or Rectification, was in a state of Tohu, or Chaos. The main reason for that is because the light, the influence of life, was so incredibly powerful that the vessels could not properly contain them. Know that in a future time we will re-engage these primordial lights in such a powerful way that we will be able to harness the most powerful energy, which today would be considered animalistic or criminal.
At that time in the future we will have the ability and the capability to contain them and to hold them.
Step into that future time, and experience a more powerful light force than you have ever experienced before. And visualize your ability to contain that, and to harness that and to hold that, and to step into a whole new levels of inner, positive, beneficial power.
- SHVIRA \BREAKDOWN AND TIKUN \ RECTIFICATION
One of the keys to rectification of all that is broken is to build a proper foundation. It’s to have a vessel that can contain whatever light or life force is being directed at it. One to of the ways to accomplish this is by using teamwork. Two heads are better than one, and three are better than two.
So, step into a community. And search out the strengths of each individual member of the community, and unite the community by sharing that particular strength that nobody else has, and pool those strengths into some kind of single-minded directive or goal that can only be accomplished by a group, instead of one person alone.
- THE DIVINE NAMES –‘MAH’ AND ‘BEN’
Know that in the world as we know it now, in its march towards perfection and rectification, one person can be an influencer, a healer, a rectifier, and another person will be the influenced, the healed and the rectified.
Step into a reality where you completely accept, with full peace of mind, that relative to any particular person in your life, you are the one to be influenced by that person. While you will be, relative to a different person, the influencer.
When you accept and embrace this dynamic, then life becomes very rich and full and effective.
- THE DOUBTS OF THE UNKNOWN HEAD
Know that the core of reality is the understanding that we don’t understand. It’s the knowing that we don’t know. It’s the mystery.
Accept the fact that the deepest levels of your processing of life, and of your knowledge, is a mystery. And have the humility to accept that, as much as you know, there’s much more that you don’t know. That very humility will draw down an incredible amount of knowledge to you, which you wouldn’t otherwise be able to access.
- SEFIROT VS. PARTZUFIM \ PERSONAS
Know that we all have certain traits which dominate our personalities. One person might have the character trait of transcendence. Another person might be an enabler or empowerer.
But know that on a deeper level we are holistic beings. We are personas, containing all of the Sefirot. Engage and empower and enliven all of the traits of your personality, until they are all shining as powerfully as possible.
- ATIK – THE ANCIENT OF DAYS
Know that the highest of the Sefirot is the bridge between that which is above and beyond, and that which is within time and space.
When you step up to be a person with the ability to remove yourself from your own, natural limitations, you step up into the place which is beyond.
The way you do that is to leap straight into it.
In some ways this is my deepest desire in life – to radically accept my fate in life right now. That’s 24/7 and down to the micro details of the events that happened because I caused them to happen, and realizing it’s not from me at all, but it’s all from The One Above, and it’s the best possible thing for me.
hat’s what I want to embrace. That’s what I want to go with and walk with in my life. It’s inspired now by the first verse of Torah portion Lech Lecha, and I’ll translate it as:
“Get yourself out, from your land, from your birthplace and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you.”
hat verse is pregnant with meaning, and one of the deepest is this – When G-d says, “to the land which I will show you,” he means “to the land where I will show myself to you,” and his divine, providential hand will be seen guiding your life. It’s one of our beliefs that the land of Israel has an extra dose of this blessing, over and above all other lands in the world.
Israel is the land I’m living in, so I can completely relate to that. So, how can we get this intimate, divine providential guidance system going? By two things… getting ourselves out of our land, our birthplace, our father’s home, detaching from the things of this world that people are normally stuck on. It means detaching from routines, and other stuff I’m attached to. It means becoming detached and also going deep inside in order to see clearly that everything in my life is the best possible thing for me.
That’s radical acceptance of what’s going on. I’m guiding people, personally, in their lives, and many have deep problems and long-term illnesses. And I help them understand they have to accept what’s happening in their lives. This may sound like a Buddhist kind of thing, and maybe it is, but it’s Jewish-style as well. It’s radical acceptance of what is, plus the other Jewish element of trying to fix it up added to it, without getting hung up on it, and by remaining detached.
hat’s the key to healing dis-ease. It’s having radical acceptance, having peace and ease to accept and flow with the things, just the way they are. A great friend of mine from years back used to walk around all day saying, “Everything’s for the best.” He said it in Hebrew, Hachi Tov. That was his motto in life, and he lived it all the time. I was jealous of that, and I’m still jealous of that! I want to see my life in that way, too. It’s my deepest desire. He was definitely doing it and living his life that way.
hen a person can do that, it’s called “living a life of equanimity,” which is seeing whatever G-d sends you, meaning that which appears to be honoring you or insulting you, as coming from G-d. And it’s the best possible thing for you. That’s such an incredible way of living. From the Chassidic viewpoint it’s called a state of self-nullification.
You are not who you think you are simply in terms of the externalities. You are a soul, and G-d can fuse through you (because you’re not there) and whatever G-d says and does is alright, it’s all fine. You can be G-d’s right-hand man or woman, if you allow yourself to be that vehicle that G-d is working through.
We can re-think and re-frame our lives in these terms, and go from seeing ourselves as emotional victims of circumstance to being souls living this amazing life, where everything is the absolute best, and embracing everything in that way. We can do that as much as possible, to see the calming, amazing effect it has on our lives.
There are so many good effects this kind of radical acceptance can have on your life. It can bring you to transcendence, to devekut, clinging to Hashem all the time, to peace of mind, to living fully, to channeling, and to living in the original Jewish state of transcendence. We can feel fully alive and transcendent, expressing loving kindness to everybody. There’s nothing to lose in sharing your love because it’s all coming to you free, with incredible love from Above. So you might as well give it out to other people as well.
When you live that way you’re seeing gifts all the time. You’re seeing the unfolding goodness and the signposts of your life. You’re living a life like the famous Chassidic master, Zusha, who, when someone asked him what the meaning of life is, replied, “Regarding the instructions of our sages to make a blessing on the bad as well as on the good… I never understood what the bad is.” To him, it was all good, even though he was living a very difficult and poverty-stricken life. He was living a radically accepting life of divine providence.
That’s our path, our doorway into seeing eye-to-eye the divine providence, and our doorway into true enlightenment. May we all partake of this wonderful way of living.
I’m going to draw upon some of the same sources I’ve been using recently, Rabbi Tsvi Meyer Zilberberg, and Life As Creation by Shalom Friedman, and some of my own ideas as well.
The idea of knowing yourself in strictly Jewish sources is called Cheshbon Nefesh. It’s a very fundamental principle that applies at all times, especially right now in the month of Elul when we are doing Cheshbon, we are doing self-inventory and finding out who we are, were and want to be. And we want to go from that to actually re-creating our life.
Based on so many different sources, a person is meant to make a permanent practice of this, especially in the month of Elul. We should do something every day to “know thyself,” where you’ve been and where you want to go.
The Holy Zohar says, when it’s referring to the post-life Gehinom, or hell, that in that place there is no Cheshbon or knowledge. Which means if we take care of it now we save ourselves from it, because there’s no need, we’ve already taken care of Cheshbon while we’re here.
Our Sages teach us that one of the 42 journeys the Israelites took in the desert was to a place called Cheshbon. And when they came to that place our Sages made a drasha about that, an interpretation, indicating that we all need to come to a place of knowing ourselves. It’s a place called Cheshbon within ourselves. And our Sages specifically say we have to weigh out the pros and the cons of doing good and doing bad, and what’s the pay-off of each one, and then come to our decisions based on that insight.
We are also taught by our Sages that Pharoah, the Egyptian ruler gave edicts designed to keep us as slaves, and to turn-up or increase the amount and the intensity of slavery we endured. Pharoah represents the evil inclination, on a universal and a timeless level. And more so the evil inclination of this month when we’re supposed to be doing introspective work. The evil inclination’s main tool, as was Pharoah’s, that serves to keep us enslaved is to distract us, and to lead us to do anything but Cheshbon, self-inventory, self-exploration.
In this month of Elul, when it’s so important to know who we are and where we’re going, we are distracted, more than ever, by anything and everything. Banking, schooling, endless errands and all kinds of confusions get in our way every day. So, the idea is to fight off that evil inclination in order to do what we’re meant to do.
Our Sages say that when there is judgment here in this world, meaning when we judge ourselves, then we are absolved from being judged upstairs. That’s a great piece of advice to save ourselves on the day of judgement, Rosh Hashanah, the culmination of Elul. The way to save ourselves from any harsh judgment is to judge ourselves, which is what we do when we’re doing Cheshbon, when we’re checking out our own life and seeing what needs to be done.
Interestingly, our Sages also teach us that when the Israelites came in to inherit the land Israel, it was not only a physical move, but spiritual as well. And in order to truly inherit it we needed to fix our internal traits mirroring the external traits of the peoples inhabiting the land of Canaan, what Israel was called at the time.
The seven nations of Canaan carried the seven fallen, bad Sepherotic traits, and we need to fix those inside ourselves in order to have the privilege of inhabiting the land. Those seven traits, multiplied out, are the template of all the traits of the seventy nations of the world.
So, that’s what we did in the past, and that’s what we do now to earn the privilege to inhabit the land of Israel, and surrounding the land of Israel, which will only happen in Messianic times.
In the past we had to conquer another nation with a king named Sichon of Cheshbon. Amazingly enough, his name and the name of his country, his land, was Cheshbon, representing self-knowledge. And the only way to inherit that part of spiritual and geographical reality was to conquer the evil inclination’s pressure to blow off our efforts to do Cheshbon for ourselves. That’s the biggest challenge of Cheshbon.
It’s working not only with our character traits, but also with our perspective. That’s also what Cheshbon is – expanded consciousness for a person to know who they are and who they will be. We’re taught from life that even the smallest of businesses must do Cheshbon, they must do inventory or they will fall apart. And all the more so, we human beings. If we don’t know who we are, where we are and where we’re going to fall apart as well.
A story is told Lazar Ben Dohr Daya, who did every possible sin and wrong-doing known to mankind, and he was trying to give forgiveness, but right before he passed from this world he put his head between his legs and testified to the mountains, the heavens, the earth and the sea. It’s said he acquired his World To Come in just one second, and when Rebbe Yehuda Ha Nasi heard about this he said, “Look what a person can do in one second! They can fall to the deepest, deepest depths, and when they go deep enough and do Cheshbon, and really get to know who they are, they can totally transform it. And all the more so if we’re doing it throughout our lives, not just at the end.
That’s how powerful Cheshbon, or knowing oneself can be. So that’s why we need to speak out to G-d and tell G-d how important it is, saying, “We can’t do this without you, G-d. Only you can help us. We know how important every little word is, especially lost in our weakened generation. We need you to help us. Look how important and how vital are souls are. Please have mercy on what we can say. Please help us out here.”
Rebbe Tsvi Meyer concludes here with a number of different areas that can be opened up in our life with some self-knowledge, such as serving G-d, prayer, repentence, faith, being happy. All these can be accomplished with self-knowledge.
Now, the book called Life As Creation by Shalom Friedman contains some very important points in connection with our topic, such as:
- Why the sacred text? We need to study it. There’s nothing coincidental. We need to see it all as being gifts. We need to interpret it with the proper interpretation because it’s so necessary. We need to understand that everything that happens to us is, on a personal level, as crucial to us as crossing the Red Sea was to our entire nation. We need to have an ideal perspective on our lives and see everything that’s happening is G-d’s plan, and entirely guided by G-d.
- We also need to know that we are on a path of destiny if we rise to the occasion in doing this kind of work, the knowing and the creating of our lives. Destiny only comes to us when we achieve our destiny, only with G-d’s help and only when we wisely exploit all our opportunities. And then we can see, retroactively, how it was all G-d’s plan, down to the last detail. We need to see ourselves as G-d’s chosen person for and through our life’s work. And we have to see that our work is not only influencing ourselves, but it’s influencing many other people. And we need to know that most people don’t occupy themselves with their legacy or their destiny. They are just trying to survive.
But we can do it, we can step up to that. We need to know that every ounce of distraction and suffering, though we feel it’s divinely unjust or that we’re misunderstood, it’s usually the biggest motivation towards achieving and forging our destiny.
- In this whole process we need to be very moral and help others. The more you do to help others, the more you do to help yourself. We start with ourselves and then look around to see how we can help the immediate people in our lives, and then farther and farther out from there, until we’re helping out the whole world with our own destiny.
- Each person needs to know himself or herself. We need to continuously re-create ourselves, and it’s happening anyway, but mostly unconsciously. So, we need to make it conscious. When we realize how we actually do that, in response to the stimuli of our life, then we realize that there’s a huge amount of an unknown mystery dimension. That mystery is freedom, where we dig deep. We need to create a deep self and move towards that ideal self we’re creating, and know ourselves so well that we’re continually on the path, but also being surprised by it. And we need to move towards our ideal self, turning all our disappointments into opportunities.
- We have endless Jewish models for ourselves. We have saints, scholars, patriarchs, matriarchs, righteous people, amazing people to pattern our lives after. Nevertheless we have to go on our own path and fight our own battles. There’s a hidden self also that we need to work on. We need to know that G-d’s doing it through us, and we need to know that when we’re actively involved in this process we are the most alive.
Those are some of the thoughts that Shalom Friedman expressed in his book. My own practical tools that fit in here, and I’ll follow up on them some other time, are as follows:
- We need to really understand this re-creation of ourselves and take the greatest highlights and process them in our lives.
- We need to figure out what our legacy is and how our highlights are giving birth to new aspects of ourselves and helping to develop it.
- We need to see everything as a gift.
- We need to have conversations, questions and answers with G-d, including asking G-d if what’s happening is what he wants to happen for us.
- We need to speak and go through life not only with our mind but with our heart, and try to resonate with what Hashem wants, every step of the way.
- We need to be able to manifest all the tools, the manifestation of what we want.
- We need to understand that everything that’s happening to us is a lost part of our souls seeking to re-attach and to resonate and to know how to bring that in.
- We need to create a graduation speech to project the future roadmap to walk down, and to see how awesomely G-d is bringing us down that path.
- We need to expand infinitely everything that we’re doing.
Those are just a few thoughts on how to re-create our lives.
SOME INTRO WORDS
About a month ago I did Ratzon Part 1, on topics relating to the 3 weeks between Tammuz and Av. We talked about certain aspects of Ratzon, the essence of it, how nothing stands in its way, a little bit about how to achieve it, the fundamentals, how important it is, and some of the applications of it.
Now we’re going to consider Ratzon and the period of Elul, which is a whole different type of Ratzon.
I’ll be drawing in Rabbi Tsvi Meyer Zilberberg’s teachings as well as my own, and adding in teaching from various other sources, too. This is a little different version of what Ratzon is all about, focused on Elul Ratzon in particular.
THE RATZON FACTOR OF ELUL
The month of Elul is the month of Creation of the world. The actual day of Creation of the world happens on the 25th of Elul, according to the Kabbalists. At that time the six days of Creation occurred, right up to Rosh Hashanah, when Adam is said to have been created.
Everything that comes before those final days of Elul is a time that went up into the will or Ratzon of G-d to create the world, meaning that time itself visited the will of G-d. Therefore, the month itself is very connected to the desire for Creation. It’s the wanting, the Ratzon, and it’s in the air. Ratzon is the time zone we can plug into.
Let me step back for a moment, to a time before Creation. There was the primal or primary creation of all of existence, called the constriction or Tzim-Tzum. This principle is also based on Ratzon, and it went up into the will of G-d, who then moved his presence from a certain place in order to make room for the the world. What was left was his omnipresence, a void, and nature abhors a void, and that void is essentially the Ratzon desire.
Ratzon means something is missing, so there’s a void. And it’s that void pushing us, driving us to fill it up. This is a primal feature of Creation – the void and the filling-up of the void corresponds to the male/female principle as well, but in this context we’re discussing, it corresponds to desire, to Ratzon.
That’s what’s opening up to us this month of Elul, which is a very interesting time. Relative to the New Year, it’s the last month of the old Jewish year, and it parallels the end of the previous week and the coming into the new week. The very last thing we do in the last hour of Shabbat is called the Third Meal, or in Kabbalistic terms it’s called the Will of Wills time. We go up, we elevate to the highest Sephirotic time of Ratzon. And that new week is pregnant with the new week that’s coming into being.
We have the power to determine what that new week will be. We take root of Shabbat, which is the root or the source of everything that will come in the new week, and it’s drawn in there along with sort of a bittersweetness. It’s sort of melancholy because we feel Shabbat at its highest and we feel the new week coming in, and we lose our elevated state. We feel the transition, the contrast, as we feel the transition to the new week.
That’s what we feel during Elul, too, the old year fading out and making way for a new year. That opens up our Ratzon because we feel that contrast, that transition into something new. That opens up our Ratzon, or the higher-level filling-up of our calling, our mission in this life. It’s when we plug in and get the clear messages we are meant to receive at that time.
So, Elul is the Third Meal, or the end of Shabbat for the year, going into the new year.
MORE ABOUT ELUL
In addition, the month of Elul… look at all the portions in the Torah we read during Elul. We see that Moses is doing a review in all of them. Moses is reviewing all the episodes the Jews experienced in their stay in the desert. And his review corresponds to what we are meant to be doing. We are meant to be reviewing our year and all the highlights of our year, sort of an inventory of what we did right and wrong, and what we need and want to do.
So, in that sense, Elul is primed for Ratzon. And, as we know, there were three times Moses went up to the mountain for a 40-day period of no eating, drinking or sleeping. During the last of those 40-day periods began the month of Elul, and lasted until Yom Kippur, the day Moses received forgiveness for the Golden Calf. Yom Kippur is the day of forgiveness, the day of atonement. So, those are days of forgiveness and compassion. They are days of G-d finding Ratzon or desire in us, thereby opening up a way for us to find desire in G-d as well.
There are a number of verses that characterize Elul. Maybe the most important one is Ani l’Dodi l’Dodi Li, “I am my beloved and my beloved is to me.” It’s a verse from King Solomon and it’s about the mutual love affair between us and G-d. It’s the acronym for the month of Elul, the time when we connect-up with G-d, during those days. That verse reminds us that Elul is the time when we can synchronize our will with G-d’s will.
There are verses about longing, “my soul is thirsty for you,” and “G-d is my shepherd, I shall not want,” a Psalm we say at the end of Shabbat. It’s appropriate for Elul as well.
We also say the verses including the 13 characteristics of compassion that we say during the entire month of Elul, especially during the slichot period, which is when G-d told Moses to say the 13 characteristics of compassion and your prayers will be answered.
This opens up Elul Ratzon as well.
Elul is a time of higher-level wantings, a time of getting to the core of what we’re here for, what we want to do. And it’s a preparation period for the new year when we go into Rosh Hashanah. Our Sages say, “Take with you words, take with you a plan and a path, if you want things to happen in your year. That’s what we should bring with us from Elul into the new year.
Elul is a blessed time when we can get clarity on who we are, what we are, what we’ve done right and wrong, what we want to change and what we want to become, going into our new year. So, this is Elul Ratzon. That’s what it’s all about.
HOW DO WE GET RATZON?
How do we get to the essence of Ratzon? The first thing we have to do is yearn, basically. Ratzon is all about desire, all about wanting. It’s about making simple lists of yearnings and praying for it. And we need to understand that, like anything else, we are the last of the generations, the weakest in many ways, the most burnt-out in many ways.
But because of that, because it’s so difficult for us and because we suffer so much, every little, tiny baby step we take moves worlds. Each step is more important than major steps taken in previous generations. So, wanting, and plugging into Ratzon is very, very important. Because Ratzon is so important, there is a huge, evil impulse to not do it, to forget about it, to play it down. Most people can remember the experience of Elul as being distracted, being full of distractions to do anything but want.
The Yetzer Hara will let you do anything but desire and have clarity about who you are and where you want to go in your life. It will give you anything, even to be a righteous person for G-d, but it won’t let you figure out what you want in this life because that’s where the “big money” is, what the real Elul is all about. We have to understand what we’re fighting and what we’re up against.
And we need to make a list, gathering together our greatest highlights were, what our greatest desires will be, and where we are right now, between the two, the past and the future. We have to know where we’re holding in the present, and try to get the essence of what we’re meant to be and who we’re meant to be. We want to project that into the future, and create a graduation speech announcing the end of the upcoming year as we envision it.
And then we set ourselves on the path to achieve it, and we go with our essential Ratzon, our essential core motivation of who we are. The closer we get, the simpler, the more concise, the more laser-like our Ratzon, the more powerful it is. We can break through everything and open up all closed doors.
Don’t forget to take the highlights of your life and study them, analyze them, get to your essential Ratzon of who you are. See your whole life as a sacred text that’s going to open up and inform you of everything you need to do. And then set your sights on what you want to have.
It’s the Jewish secret, like the Law of Attraction, only Jewish. We understand that we’re not using G-d as our genie in a bottle, but we’re doing it FOR G-d and to connect to G-d. That’s the Jewish secret. When you do it in that way, G-d’s on your side with you. When you’re going it for G-d then things are going to happen for you. That’s the Ratzon of Elul.
As I’ve done recently, I am making sort of a loose adaptation of a number of articles by my recent Rebbe, RebbeTsvi Meyer Zilberberg, along with some of my own ideas as well.
The Spiritual Warrior is a concept, a type of service of G-d that’s common to everyone, which you’ll see as I get this idea across.
1. THE YEITZER HARA’S FALSE CLAIM
Our inner evil inclination, the Yetzer Hara tries to keep us away from being who we are, and doing what G-d wants us to do. And as regards being a Spiritual Warrior, It tries to convince us that the only successful warrior is the one who can look back and see that everything is going smoothly. If everything is going smoothly in your life then you must be succeeding, right?
No, that’s a big, fat false fallacy. We can put a big X on that idea right now.
The truth of the matter is that we’re here in the trenches. We’re battling it out and we have to understand that it’s NOT going to be smooth. That’s why we need to be a warrior, a warrior of transcendent consciousness.
We have to know that the measure of success is not smoothness, with regard to a spiritual warrior. In fact, it’s the persistence and encouragement to not give up, no matter now difficult things are and how rough our lives may appear.
2. OUR PURPOSE IS TO FIGHT
Our purpose in this world is to fight, to be a warrior of these battles of our lives. We’re here to fix up the unfinished business in our lives. Look at the way G-d runs the world. G-d passed down the highest souls into the lowest, coarsest aspects of reality in this world. As King David says in the Psalms, “Though tens of hundreds of thousands fall by your side, still hold onto and trust G-d because he’s going to take care of you.” That’s not an exact quote, but my paraphrase.
That’s what we’re here for. We’re here to trust that we’re in there for the battle and that G-d will take care of the rest. Do your best and G-d will take care of the rest.
The evil inclination convinces us that it’s better to not fight the battles, to repress and ignore all the problems so as not to be bothered by them, and thereby break our fighting spirit. Better to look for the non-confrontational, easy way out. When we do this, it causes us to lose the critical resources we are blessed with and we are meant to be using, and they are rooting for us to be using upstairs.
But the opposite is true. Like a good soldier, we need to be able to wait in ambush for the inner inclination, the Yetzer Hara is trying to tell us NO, you don’t have to do anything, just avoid all troubles. We have to catch that and cast it away when it comes to us. That’s how we fight the war, that’s a big part of the battle.
3. FEEL THE IMPORTANCE OF EVERY BATTLE
Our success depends on how much we feel the importance of every battle. And we have an incredible cheering squad, and incredible band of angels and worlds and souls that are waiting on and rooting for every move we make in our battles. And the harder it is, the more they are rooting for us. We are the only ones who can fight any particular battle, any specific challenge in life that never will be again that has been brought our way because we’re the only ones equipped to fight this particular battle.
4. IT’S NOT AN ALL OR NOTHING BATTLE
We’re presented with these situations all the time. And the battleground is not an all-or-nothing, black & white situation. There are a million subtle levels on which we fight our spiritual battles in life, and we have to understand that the pre-condition of our spiritual assent is actually a spiritual descent, an agreement to go down into the muck and to raise ourselves out of it.
The word for trial and tribulation in Hebrew is the word, “NISAYON,” the root of which is a miracle or a raising-up, like raising a flag. That tribulation is what raises us up and what brings down miracles into our lives. The darker it is, the greater is the light that will come up after it.
6. LIKE IN THE COMING OUT OF EGYPT, SO TOO NOW
We have to understand, when we are in the battle fighting there is a spark of the Messiah inside. Every person has a spark of Moshiach inside, and we are all here to fight those critical battles, all kinds of them. We are preparing the way in our own, personal way, in a revealed way, every single battle we fight.
Just as it was in coming out of Egypt, so will it be in this final redemption as well. A culmination of that Egyptian exile happened in the parting of the Red Sea. In the merit of the tribe of Yehuda (Judah) and Yosef (Joseph) ….. Nachshon ben Aminadav [from the tribe of Judah] was the first one to jump into the sea. The representative of Joseph’s tribe at that time were his bones which Moses carried with him. In the merit of these bones the sea also parted.
So, too, in our time, in us. That spark of Messiah ben David and Messiah ben Joseph is what will bring us all out of it. And we need to understand that every soldier needs to know his or her weapons. And the weapons for this particular war are:
7. THE WEAPONS WE NEED
A.) The weapon of happiness. When you’re happy you’re expanded. You have Da’at, or expanded consciousness allowing you to do things which you normally would not think you’re able to do.
B.) There is nothing but G-d. G-d is helping you every single minute of the day. We say, Shema Israel, and especially right before we go to sleep, that’s called the Double-Edged Sword, protecting us from all kinds of problems and forces that happen when we fall asleep.
C.) The weapon of music. I remember being in a Breslov yeshiva where we all sang and danced at the end of every day, in order to sweeten up all the harsh judgments in the world, and to instill happiness. That’s the battle, to go forth with a brazen happiness, a chutzpah happiness. “no matter what you throw at me, I’m going to be happy!”
D.) There’s a story about the Saba of Nevordik—that when he was seen smiling and celebrating that war at the yeshiva going through hell. That’s why he came in with that smile on his face.
8. BEING VICTORIOUS IS NOT NECESSARILY THE MEASURE OF SUCCESS
Another mistaken notion the Yetzer Hara tries to convince us that once we finish the war we must be victorious. That’s what the evil inclination is trying to get us to believe. The truth of the matter is exactly the opposite. We know we are most often NOT successful, and never completely successful. And it’s the times we’re most successful that we’re caught off-guard, but when we’re not successful we’re still hungry for success.
9. ‘’FROM YOUR BLOOD YOU WILL LIVE’’
We have to consider how successful every movement, every new engagement of the enemy we can undertake. That’s really what’s important. We have to understand that all of our life force pumps through all the battles, even the losing battles. Coming out of Egypt with blood, which represents defeat in war. We put blood on our doorposts and the angel of death passed over it. We have the blood of circumcision, and that gave rise to our getting out of Egypt as well.
“From your blood you will live”, ‘Bdamayich Chayi’–in Hebrew, means getting into a state of raw life-force, to go down into the trenches of life. We have to understand that as well.
10. BE LOVERS OF THE FIGHT
We have to be impressed by the fall, lovers of the fight itself. The Light of Moshiach, we’re taught, is created by empowering yourself, when you think you’re hurt and wounded, you’re hurting others, you’re doing something wrong, that’s when he shines, that’s when he shows up, the Moshiah, the Messiah. It’s full of losing battles, it’s full of odd, weird, life situations from which we can come up and say, “I’ve been there and done that.” He’s the ultimate warrior inside of all of us.
11. THE TSADIK FALLS 7 TIMES AND RISES [EACH TIME]
We have to remember what our Sages teach us, that the Tsaddik, the righteous person falls seven times and gets up every time, and that it’s not just seven, really, it’s many, many more. “Seven” is a code word for “endless numbers” of times.
12. KICKING UP THE DUST
13. THE EFFORT STAVES OFF THE FIRES
We have to know that the effort a person expends here in doing anything of holiness is what staves off the fires of hell. That’s a known fact in spiritual work. That’s what it takes. You do that hard work now and you’ll be absolved of it in the end.
14. FIGHT AGAINST DOUBT AND DESPAIR
SAnd finally, we know that the strength of the arch-enemy of our people, Amalek, is based on doubt and despair. So, our ability to overcome them is based on our willingness to take great pleasure in being able to fight at every step, to fight that spiritual battle and to know that is exactly the right thing to do.
Now I’m going to analyze some of the best gifts in my life this Jewish year 5775, from the beginning of the year until now, which is the last 1/5 of the year and corresponds to the last of the 5 books of Moses.
Of all the gifts I took the absolute best, and I want to comment very briefly on my Greatest Hit Gifts I Have Been Given By G-d So Far This Year.
So, here we go, here are the best gifts of 5775 for the first 4/5 of my year:
1) SPEAKING MMM
I have a student who is learning the art of healing by speaking in an MMM way. I play the music on Skype and she will talk herself out of her problems. It becomes a sort of purging experience.
2) SHARING EXPERIENCE TEACHING
I have another student, a teacher of another spiritual discipline, who requested I teach her my knowledge of Kabbalah in a unique way. She relates her experience and then I relate my own experience on the same thing. I call this Sharing Experience Teaching.
3) RABBI TSVI MEIR ZILBERBERG
Rabbi Tsvi Meyer Zilberberg has been an incredible gift to me this year, especially his life encouragement principles. I learned and tried to live what I learned from him:
a) About taking Baby Steps.
b) About being encouraged by every little bit we do, every little move we make has incredible value.
c) About how G-d loves us so incredibly much that we can do anything because we have the love of G-d.
4) OPENING CLOSED DOORS
Opening closed doors… when one door closes we can open another one. That’s a perspective on life that’s extremely valuable because everybody has doors closed in their lives, all the time, mentally, physically, symbolically. If we understand that there is a principle that every time one door closes a new one opens up, and be believe that, we embrace that, we see amazing new doors open up in our lives.
5) RECEIVING GIFTS 24\7
Seeing life as receiving of Divine gifts all the time. These gifts include what you accomplish, too. I want to say thank you for the gifts and make a list of the gifts and be happy about the gifts. I want to focus on the things coming into my life as a series of incredible presents and gifts. This is a very happiness-inducing principle.
Visiting the little neighborhood of Nachlaot, which is very creative, artistic, and filled with interesting people who are thirsty for growth, spiritual growth and creative growth. As someone once said, “Nachlaot is not a neighborhood, it’s a state of mind.”
Reconnecting to poetry. I had sort of let that go for 3 – 4 years after having a burst of poetic inspiration, and I’ve started reconnecting with it by bypassing the cerebral cortex and going straight into the heart. I began speaking heart-speak again and opened myself up to some degree to reconnect to poetry.
8) PARADISE PRINCIPLE TEAM
Putting together a team, a Paradise Principle Institute Team, made up of incredible people who are helping me connect my teachings to Facebook, to SoundCloud, to blogging, to hosting my Mystical Musical Meditation sessions, to hosting me in America, to posting my work on other people’s blogs, to helping me with technology, to advising me on technology and marketing, to filming me and recording me. It’s a team that came together in a Divinely-inspired way. This is one incredible gift and I thank G-d for all these people.
9) HOLLYWOOD DIALOGUES
Connecting with one special man who happens to be a veteran Hollywood screenwriter who is deeply involved in that world, and recording our weekly dialogues. It’s an ongoing stream-of-thought dialogue about the principles of Jerusalem Kabbalah with a person who has the Hollywood skills and connections to get the message out to the world. Ours is a work in progress and I have high hopes for incredible things to come from it.
10) THE ZEN OF BASHERT
Developing the Zen of Bashert, which is matchmaking on the level of soulmate connecting. It is a way to Paradise that experience, to Zen that experience and it has become a truly useful way to advise so, so many people who are lonely and looking to find their special person. For some, the years are going by and the clock is ticking and they want to have a family. It allows them to groove on the experience and to totally be authentic and in their essence, which helps them attract the same thing in another. This has brought more people into my life, too.
Reading a book by Allen Afterman and studying it with others as we get ourselves ready for Moshiach, for Messiah, by seeing a Kabbalistic, deep take on that whole idea. We expand it and walk with it and embrace it… It’s been a wonderful experience.
Living in the world of MMM, being surrounded by it as a purveyor of Mystical Musical Meditations. I did that every single day and night in America, and I’m doing it here in Israel more than once a week now, even when I’m not teaching I’m putting it out there. MMM is expanding into a whole, new dimension. I have MMM Teacher Training and I’m teaching the Art of MMM and expanding MMM to include other types of creative expressions, such as poetry, drawing and other types of music and other cool stuff. MMM is exploding and imploding and blitzing. I’m so excited about MMM.
13) I CAN SPEAK
Refining the concept of I CAN SPEAK , which was originally to help a person who cannot communicate verbally. But now I’ve used it for SoundCloud recordings and in other teachings. It shows how much we all need to speak that which cannot be spoken.
14) DEEP WATERS
Seeing the Deep Waters, which we all have inside and need the ability and the tools to express the Deep Waters we experience. There are Deep Waters in every concept we learn in life, and they are awesome.
15) Q AND As WITH G-D
Reviewing old concepts, such as Questions and Answers To and From G-d, because I continually get a lot of mileage from this one. Another one is Living The Live I Love, Paradising My Life, and a new one that came up in my last US trip is All About Relationships, which is understanding that so much of what we do with our careers, our family and our friends is all about nurturing relationships. If we make that the front and center of our lives we’ll see what an incredible gift that really is.
16) SPIRITUAL GUIDE
Re-considering the term Ratzon Counselor. I was told I should not tell people I’m a Ratzon Counselor or a Life Coach because I’m actually a Spiritual Guide. I am encouraged to do it and be it and love it and embrace it and groove on it. So I sort of reframed my identity after coming through a number of different situations. So, that’s who I am. I’m a spiritual guide.
Those are my greatest received Divine gifts so far, this Jewish year 5775.
This is a review of my New York City – Chicago trip to the US in 2015.
I’ve had reviews for the last 6 -7 years, and I’d like to keep up this tradition. The review is there to teach me, and others, the lessons of life and of our travels, the lessons of what G-d is saying to us when we venture outside our normal comfort zone, our normal home and our normal style.
There are lessons to gather, so here are some of them:
1.. DEEP WATERS
An hour before heading out for the airport in Israel for the US, I received a verse. It said, “Deep waters are counsel in the heart of a person, and a person of understanding or contemplation can draw them out.”
I felt as though it was by Divine Design that this verse came to me because I came up with many different interpretations of it immediately. It had universal application and was very powerful for me personally, for everything I was about to do.
It’s just what I do anyway… I draw out the deep waters, when I do my Mystical Musical Meditations, when I do my Heart Speaking, when I use all my Tools, my Questions and Answers From G-d, and seeing people with divine eyes, and looking deeply into a piece of wisdom to bring out what’s there.
It’s what I do when I brainstorm, when I analyze the highlights of my life and basically everything I do – it’s drawn from those deep waters. So, I recognized this verse as something that would be guiding me during my trip, and sure enough it was. So, then I was on my way…
Here are some of the highlights, all having a common thread of the deep waters, not necessarily presented in chronological order because I’m just throwing out some of the ideas that come to me now.
2. DAILY MMMs
I was doing MMM sessions daily, sometimes two and three times a day throughout the three weeks of my trip. In every possible way I was communicating through MMM sessions. It became my trademark and, so to speak, the tool of my trade. The musical meditations became my craft and the way I presented everything I was called to share with everybody.
3. THE ART OF MMM-ING
I taught three different classes in Crown Heights on the Art of MMMing, how to open it up into your life because it is basically a consciousness. I taught about having confidence that the Mystical Musical Meditations that you’re communicating are coming from a place of the Divine through you. Meaning, you’re just a channel to get the MMM out into the world. Being that channel, you want to open yourself up as much as possible to get the message out and to communicate your wholeness, all of your goals and all of which is unique inside yourself.
These were almost like training classes and MMM was certainly one of the highlights of my trip. MMM showed up on the “big screen,” too. I was filmed and the clip became part of a whole film on psychology and spirituality. The creator and star of the film interviewed me regarding my personal opinions about psychology and spirituality, and my answers, as she requested, were all in the form of MMMs.
4. MMM FILMING
I was filmed doing an MMM that had to do with helping non-verbal people speak, such as autistic people. It was a stream of consciousness expounding of the primal need, desire, beauty and profundity of our need to communicate.
We also did a few MMM clips from the film Kabbalah Me, which was filmed in the Chicago theatre. And I did an MMM follow-up afterwards for people to see. It was live and in-person what was done on film. And other clips I’d done in Kabbalah Me were shown in other classes as a go-to, or a way to introduce a whole topic. So I guess you could say my MMMs have hit the big screen, and it was really interesting to see the power of that, meaning MMMs on film
5. MMM-‘FORMULA CLASSES’
Another thing that became sort of new on this trip was that I was asked to address a lot of different topics in MMMs, and instead of being completely spontaneous in my presentation this time I did it in sort of a formula fashion.
I was assigned five MMM classes in Chicago for an advanced, open, artistic, new age center, and the topics all bespoke my style, such as living a life I love and Kabbalistic healing and Perfect-As-Is, among others. This trip, every topic I was assigned I expressed in terms of a formula. For example, “What is the formula for living the life of love?” And the formula was naturally created during the MMM.
There would be two, three or four steps in the process of “how to” live the life of love, or to paradise your soulmate relationship, or to see things as being completely from G-d , or to open up the flow of Kabbalistic healing, and so forth in that way. So, that’s a new thing that happened during my 2015 trip, and something to explore in my life now.
6. IT’S ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS
And another new development that happened on my trip is this – I’ve been meeting with people all year on Skype, to teach and to learn together, and to counsel them. These people are all “Skypees,” on friends of mine, that I guide in one way or another, primarily on Skype only. So this this trip afforded me the opportunity to nurture those relationships, live and in-person. And it made me realize it’s all about relationships.
Anybody, no matter what job they are working, in the stock market, in the medical field, or whatever job they happen to have, it’s all about relationships. It’s all about how you nurture and feed and develop and work out any blocks to a functioning relationship. I realized how important it is to give a lot of attention and tender loving care to nurturing these relationships. So that was a big, big part of my trip as well.
All of these things, by the way, are all expressions of the deeper waters, of drawing out the deep waters of all these dimensions. The deeper waters of MMMing, the deeper waters of relationships, and the deeper waters of all these topics I’ve mentioned, and others. There’s much more than meets the eye. A few times I did the deeper waters of seeing the world through the eyes of a Kabbalist.
Also, I did the deeper waters of relationships.
There is just so much more than we encounter on a surface level. One of the major topic I MMM’d a number of times was “wellbeing.” People want to know how to live a life of wellbeing, and to have peace of mind.
So, my MMM topics include living the life I love, Perfect-As-Is, Wellbeing Shabbat, the wellbeing of soulmating, the wellbeing of getting past the blocks in your life, the wellbeing of seeing what is to be, what is to happen, what is to be born from your actions right now. That is a dire need of everyone, not just in the USA, but everywhere, including Israel. So, that came up a lot as well.
And on my trip I had to cope a lot. I feel really good to be back in Israel, and I’m not sure if it’s because I’m in Israel or because I’m home. A person who’s not in their natural surroundings is in a sort of an exile. And being in exile when you’re not in the driver’s seat, not in a place where you’re in control and able to navigate around town and how to work different computers and other high-tech equipment, and how to create new situations, that situation is just not the same as being home. Sometimes, away from home it’s a bit tough. It can be tougher to sleep, to get your bearings, especially when you’re meeting with unfamiliar people who don’t know you, so you have to present yourself over and over. Going through that stage with people who don’t know who you are or what you’re about is not always easy.
I met a lot of people who are in dire need of attention. That’s not really unusual, and I saw it as what I was meant to deal with at the time, but it was definitely not an easy situation. People saw me as being an endless reservoir or patience and good counsel. I try my best to live up to it, but it’s not always easy. There were some hard situations, and they were harder situations than I’m used to.
I stayed as a guest in an old-age home for three days in Chicago, and that was a real eye-opener. Seeing the mortality of our lives, where it’s going, sort of shocks you into knowing what’s important and what’s not important.
And finally, getting around in unfamiliar places, and making sure people are coming to the classes set up in advance, advertising for those classes and all forms of transportation, planes, etc, and following up with people… Since I’m an independent operator it’s all on me. I don’t have a secretary doing administrative tasks for me. I have a lot of people helping me, for sure. And I’m incredibly thankful for them. And I see them always come through at the right time and the right place, too.
Maybe that’s one of the bigger lessons from logistics and the coping – to a certain extent you have to try hard, but then you have to let it go. And so, I did. A lot of times I thought, “OK, I don’t know what’s going to be at this thing, but I’m going to do A, B and C, and then it’s up to G-d. Invariably, amazingly, it would all work out.
So, those are some thoughts I am contemplating now, following up on my trip. I have a lot of people who feel I tapped into their lives and they tapped into mine, and I would still like to follow-up with them. I presented what I presented, and some of the people were NOs. I couldn’t be a YES person 100% of the time, and they couldn’t be YES people with me a lot of the times. That’s a great lesson as well.
I have to know when to say NO to the NOs and when to say, “OK, so that’s the way it’s meant to be at this point. That’s the reality of life as well. It’s good to be home, and it’s good to have rattled the tree in the US as well, and to realize the difference between being in your comfort zone and not being in it, and appreciating home for what it is.
The day of Lag B’Omer commemorates [according to most opinions] the last day of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai’s life, I would like to share [in a personalized way] from his classic work, the Zohar. Based partially on the translation of Daniel Matt in his version of the Zohar, I will share this story in honor of Lag B’Omer this year.
On the day that Rabbi Shimon was to leave this world, he was arranging his affairs. All of his chaverim, his colleagues, assembled at his house. Among them were Rabbi Elazar and Rabbi Abba, but the whole house was full.
On this last day of his life, Rabbi Shimon raised his eyes and saw that the house was full. He began to cry, and he said, “The other time I was ill, R. Yitzchak was in my presence. I was already selecting my place in Paradise, next to his, but I didn’t die then. They extended our lives until now. When I returned, fire was whirling in front of me and it’s never gone out. No human has entered without permission. Now I see the fire is out and the house is filled.”
Rabbi Shimon opened his eyes again, and he saw what he saw. There was a fire whirling throughout the house, which is one of the reasons we light bonfires on Lag B’Omer. And with that fire, everybody left, except for his son, Rabbi Elazar and Rabbi Abba.
Rabbi Shimon told his son, Rabbi Elazar, “Tell him [R. Abba] to arrange my affairs and sit by my side. Happy is his portion.”
That’s exactly what they did. They sat down and Rabbi Shimon began to reveal to them the secrets-the deepest secrets he’d never revealed. Rabbi Shimon said, “This gathering is different than our previous gatherings. In the previous gatherings, the Blessed Holy One and his chariots, they convened.
But now, he comes with all the Righteous from the Garden of Eden and he wants the Righteous to be honored… Rabbi Shimon quoted a verse from the Song of Songs, verse 7:11, “I am my beloved’s, his desire is upon me.”
He went on to explain, “All the days I have been bound to this world, I am bound in a single bond with the Blessed Holy One. That is why his desire is upon me, he and his Holy company have come to hear and enjoy concealed words of praise for the Holy Ancient One, the Concealed of All Concealed, separated from all, yet not separate.”
And they all noticed the presence of this Supernal Company.
Rabbi Shimon said, “Until now, all the words I am going to declare were concealed, for I was scared to reveal them. Yet, now they have been revealed. And it is known by the Holy Blessed One, blessed be he, that I have not acted on this last day of my life for my own honor, nor for the honor of my family. But rather, that I would not enter his Holy Palace ashamed. Furthermore, I see that the Holy Blessed One and all his Righteous Ones approve. I see all of them rejoicing at this, my wedding celebration.”
He called the last day of his life his “wedding celebration.”
“All of them, in that world, are invited to my wedding celebration. Happy is my portion.”
Rabbi Shimon went on to explain his deepest Kabbalistic Secrets. The Supernal crowd that was there took note of every word. And the description of each word was a description of sparks that are sparkling from the highest spark, from the hidden of all hidden. Levels upon levels of enlightenment, there is revealed upon revealed and these lights were all connected.
The lights of each and every spark were ornaments of the King, the crowns of the King. Every light shines and joins onto the Light within, not separating at all. The Light that is revealed is called the Garment of the King. The Light within is a concealed light. All those sparks and all those Lights sparkle from the Holy Ancient One, the concealed of all concealed, the high spark.
Rabbi Abba said, “Before the Holy Spark finished saying the word, “life,” (which was the last word Rabbi Shimon said in his life) his words subsided.”
Rabbi Abba was still writing. He was the one taking notes. He was the scribe of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. He said, “I was still writing and intending to write more, but then I heard nothing. I did not raise my head because the light was so overwhelming I could not look. Then I started trembling and I heard a heavenly voice calling, “Length of days and years of life.”
All day long, the fire did not go out in the house. No one could reach the house; fire surrounded it, a heavenly fire. All day long I lay on the ground and wailed. After the fire disappeared I saw the Holy Spark, the Holy of Holies leaving the world. And he had a smile on his face on the last day of his life, which he, himself, called his, “wedding celebration,” his passage into the higher world.
Rabbi Chiya rose to his feet and said, “Until now the Holy Spark has looked after us. Now is the time to engage in honoring him.”
They carried his body out, lifted the bed he was lying on, and after the bed emerged from the house it rose and a fire blazed before it. They heard a voice saying, “Come and enter. Assemble for the wedding celebration of Rabbi Shimon. They shall come to peace. They shall rest on their couches.” [Isaiah 57\2]
As they entered the cave for burial, they heard a [Heavenly] voice from inside that said, “This is the man who shook the earth, who made kingdoms tremble. Many open mouths of accusation up in heaven subside today because of you, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. Happy is his portion above and below. Many sublime treasures lie in store for him. With him it is said, ‘’As for you , go to the end and take your rest; you will rise for your reward at the end of days.”