Weekly Parsha

Weekly MMM – Parsha Toldot

So far in this year 5779 on the Jewish calendar I’ve been framing my MMMs on the weekly Parsha, choosing a central theme in consciousness or transcendence.

Looking at different aspects of Parsha Toldot, one thing in particular stands out for me. When Jacob and Esau go to their father, Issac, and continually battle to receive their father’s blessing, Issac spoke about “the hands.”

We know that Jacob disguised himself as his hairy, older brother, Esau, in order to receive his blessing from Issac. Before bestowing his blessing, Issac mentioned that “the hands are the hands of Esau, but the voice is the voice of Jacob.”

That simple statement is connected to a very deep, cosmic, historical, physical and metaphysical reality representing the Jew and the non-Jew throughout history. Meaning, when we, as Jews, are engaged in the spiritual work of the voice (the voice of Jacob) and to the extent we are engaged in that, the hands (the hands of Esau) cannot touch us.

But when we don’t engage in using our voice in prayer, engaging in the Holy Language, meditating on the thoughts and words of G-d, learning them, expressing them and teaching them… when we are not engaged with the words we are not being “word people,” and we can be smothered by the hand of evil.

That’s the metaphor brought out in this Parsha. Everything else is commentary. Not only in this Parsha, but in life. We have to understand that our legacy is this – “the voice is the voice of Jacob.” We have to understand that the blessings in this portion of Torah are about the material, physical things the world can provide us, and that’s part of our lives because we have a physical body which is part of our spirituality.

But, at the core, what we are meant to do when we are protected from the hands of Esau, is raise up the world. Our Sages, commenting on this dichotomy, indicate that it’s a sliding scale, meaning that when one rises the other falls.

To the extent that we use our voices to raise up the world, the other one falls. To the extent that we don’t use our voices to raise up the world, the other one gets strong and we fall.

We need to understand that the best way to approach this dichotomy is through questions, such as:

  • How can we understand from this “hands vs voice” formula the proper way to engage with our evil inclination?
  • How can we understand from this formula the battle of good and evil in the world?
  • How can we understand from this formula the way to break through it all, and reach a place of enlightenment, of Mashiach?
  • How can we understand from this formula how to purge away all of the blocks and obstructions in both our internal and external worlds?
  • How can we get from this formula of the hands and the voice to a place of abundance? Abundance is a big part of the Parsha as well because it’s all about the blessings from their father who was fabulously wealthy, as were all our Patriarchs and Matriarchs.
  • How, by being voice people, can we do that?
  • And how can we best use our voice? Is there a way we can get to the deeper truths, voices and Divinity inside ourselves by plugging into the “voice of Jacob.” Can we forge a path for going into the depth of all that?

 

Weekly MMM – Chayei Sarah

In the past, I filled up an entire notebook on this week’s Parsha, Chayei Sarah. So, I have ready-made material to re-discover the theme of this week’s Torah, which is also a central theme in our lives and a point of consciousness we need to embrace.

The theme is All-ness. I’ve connected to this theme before, but this time I bring another level of wholeness to the subject of All-ness.

Our exploration this week is inspired and prompted by some of the main points of the Parsha. As it begins, “Sarah was coming to the next world with her days.” That’s the expression, as we also say, “Abraham was old, and he came with his days.”

These expressions represent the idea of taking advantage of every day of our lives.  Some people take advantage of 10% of their days, of their time. But Abraham and Sarah were taking advantage of 100% of their time. They were in awe of life, 365/24/7.

They knew G-d was talking to them, from behind the curtain and between the lines. The sacred text and the highlights of their lives was the idea that there’s something needing their focus and attention at every moment in order to elevate it, to complete it or to be completed by it.

That’s what an All-ness person is all about. They realize that every second is a challenge, complete with G-d’s guidance for solving a problem in their lives. Sometimes, it may become an awareness of another possible problem, like a signal, to bring about a healing or a cure of some kind.

These things are happening at all times, and that’s why we need to be All-ness people. We need to pay attention to everything as an opportunity and bring to it the totality of the All-ness of ourselves.

We need to have a perspective that is not partial or constricted in any way. And we need to be able to see, even when things don’t look whole and complete, it’s a matter of our own perspective. We are not seeing things clearly, in an All-ness way, and we have an opportunity to turn something partial into All-ness.

This is a type of healing perspective on life, and we can learn to go back to a place of All-ness, the ultimate place known as the Garden of Eden. All of humanity is trying to get back to that All-ness garden, consciously or unconsciously.

The more we look through the lens of All-ness at the encounters of our lives, and the more we live complete lives the more we understand the preciousness of every second, the more we become righteous people.

The more we bring All-ness into the world, and the more we accept and have mindfulness and peace of mind in regard to everything that’s happening, the more we understand the message our Patriarchs and Matriarchs bring to us in Torah.

Weekly MMM – Vayera

This week’s Parsha is Vayera. It’s a continuation of the study of Abraham, and his Chessed and goodness to the world.  It’s a study of extraordinary life.

Abraham has a tent somewhere in the desert, Beersheva I believe, that is open on all four sides, in all four directions, to anyone. Abraham wanted to promote the idea of giving love through hospitality. His motto was, “What is mine is yours.” And that was a life-changing, revolutionary motto in his day, and in our day, too.

Instead of taking, Abraham wanted to show that G-d is a G-d of giving, so G-d’s people should be people of giving. That’s the message, and everything about Abraham’s life is seen as extraordinary love and sharing, even the way he provided his hospitality. He did a little and he did a lot, because he came from this perspective of giving and loving.

Abraham even went to the city of Sodom to pray against its destruction. This would seem to make sense for a person of such stature, but his qualities of morality, goodness, giving and loving were completely the opposite of the characteristics of people in Sodom. He set up an institute of The Sons of Sodom because he wanted to love them as well, to get that message across and to pray for them. He even brought them into his home to demonstrate the theme of his life – loving people despite the consequences and despite possibly being the first man to do so.

Because it means people may take advantage of us, this is a hard concept to hear in the world now, when everybody is protective of themselves, to avoid vulnerability.

But Abraham was teaching a different way, an extraordinary way of life. It was his whole purpose and ambition in life, and he set an example for us to follow. We need to find many ways to emulate Abraham’s extraordinary qualities, such as sharing love in the way we talk to people, deepening the love in our families, appreciating the depth of a mother’s love and the reality of love in people who aren’t currently capable of showing it.

In our hearts we need to have the foresight, the love and the faith to bring out the love in others. We need to be able to identify the point of love in another person, even if its deep inside them, and to the exclusion of all else be able to focus on that point of love within them. This is how we can turn another person’s life into a life of love.

That’s the challenge, and the topic of our MMM this week.

Weekly MMM – Lost Sparks

Our next MMM covers a well-worn but very important topic in Jewish Mysticism… and that’s the Holy Sparks.

I’d like to go through a few sources, and some of the practices that come out of these sources. Probably the earliest source of the idea of Holy Sparks is when the world went through the primordial breaking and breakdown, and the fixing of the breaking is accomplished through gathering lost lights that were scattered in the process of breaking.

We resonate in our lives with pieces of G-dliness that are presented to us in all the challenges and encounters we have. When we resonate and clarity our challenges, we bring the sparks back to our pristine home, inside of ourselves and inside of the world.

This is true on a micro level and on a macro level, as the world leans toward the rectification of the world by replacing the lost sparks into their place, where they came from originally. Practically speaking, on a macro level,  the Jewish people were thrust across the globe for most of our history, and we gathered the lost sparks, which were converts that we inspired to return home, so to speak.

But it’s not just converts, it’s also ideas and energy and lost pieces of Torah that are exiled, and we help to redeem them as well. The Holy Sparks also have a place in reincarnation, meaning that every one of us comes back again and again, to continue to gather up more and more lost sparks. Sometimes we can feel what our unfinished business is by the smoothness or non-smoothness factor. We see what our personalities are struggling with and driven to take care of. That’s another aspect of the Holy Sparks.

And another aspect is to understand our calling, meaning what Hashem is calling you to do. We can understand that, similarly, by what you’re driven to do, and you may have a hard time doing it, but you have to keep on getting up and doing it again. Or, another way so see it is to recognize what we’re really, really good at and understand that other people need us to be good at it, too. We need to shine the light for others in our area of expertise.

The Baal Shem Tov talked about sparks, and that according to the quantity and quality of our belief in Divine Providence so, too, will Divine Providence believe in us and react to us, showing its magical world to us. If we really believe that G-d’s guiding us, then G-d will guide us. If you open up your eyes and check out the events of your life you’ll see how G-d is guiding you to do what needs to be done.

Sparks present themselves in the realm of eating, the whole eating ceremony where another type of spark needs to be raised up. Human beings in a netherworld, post-life, on the mineral, plant, animal and human levels, may get stuck. So, sometimes by just eating, or making the blessings at the right place and time, we can raise them to the next higher level, getting them out of the stuck place.

Sparks are found in the giving of the Torah, which happens in this week’s Parsha. At Mount Sinai, we got to a place where we transcended the whole need to raise sparks, which was Adam before the sin, and we got to the place where we could say, “we will do and we will hear,” which represents the willingness to embrace G-d, sight unseen.  That’s probably the fastest and most powerful way of raising sparks.

Sparks are found in the 6-week period of Shovavim, from Parsha Shemot to Parsha Mishpatim. This is the time when we are trying to raise up the seed that was spilled by Adam in the 130 years during which he separated himself from Eve. We do that by doing things above and beyond the normal call, which has to do with more prayer, more learning, more fasts and more specific tikkunim. We raise a lot of sparks by doing these things as well.

This week, Tuesday and Wednesday, is Tu B’ishvat, the time our Sages tell us when the sap is rising in the trees. It’s sort of a Jewish Goundhog Day when Spring is being announced in an unseen way. But we know Spring is coming, and we know this means sparks. We can grasp it experientially by feeling the bubbling-up of unborn life in many forms, and we can plug into it.

And finally, in this collection of material on the topic of sparks, we can find sparks in the Sefirot. Another idea of the Baal Shem Tov is this – the Sefira of any kind of personality trait or any kind of situation we encounter in our lives can be used to raise sparks from a fallen state to an elevated state. As an example, fallen Gevurah, which is fear, unfounded fear, can be raised up into the courage to do G-d’s will. All of the Sefirot have fallen and elevated states. This is yet another way of raising up Holy Sparks.

So, that’s my collection of Holy Sparks ideas for now.

 

 

Weekly MMM – Speaking Into Consciousness

I am going to call this week’s MMM –  Speaking Our Way Into Consciousness.

I’ll tell you where this is coming from, and where we can take it to.  It’s coming from the phrase, “uncircumcised lips,” in the Parasha, referring to Moses.

Moses mumbled and stammered before God, saying, essentially, “Who am I to be your spokesman?” He could barely get the words out, as a reflection of the Jewish people who were a nation of slaves at the time. They couldn’t even speak properly either.

They were grunting and moaning and screaming in their agony, and G-d heard these sounds they were making, and after 200 years of being restricted-consciousness slaves, they were unable to speak their truth, or any truth.

The Jewish people were all inside of Moses, and he was a reflection of them, so he was also limited in the same way. On of the main pathways into redemption was the ability for someone to speak their way to freedom.

The deeper, original idea here is that G-d spoke the world into being. The more we can hook up with and synchronize ourselves with the profound depth of speech, especially speech in Hebrew, the Holy Tongue, the more we are connected to the substance of what created the world – the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The more we connect with it, the more we can speak the world into being, as G-d does.

We can speak our lives into being, which is why the Breslover Hasidim shout out every word of the Hagaddah at the Passover Seder. It’s because they understand this principle of speaking yourself into freedom.

We know that the six weeks of Shovavim, which we’re in right now, involves rectifications. One of them is a rectification of sexuality, which is also a rectification of speaking. Our mystical Sages teach us that just as the sexual organ is a representative of the whole body, so too is our mouth. In a parallel way, our mouth is also a representative of our soul. That’s why they say the lips are uncircumcised, like the sexual organ may or may not be uncircumcised.  It’s a parallel system.

Both the sexual organs and the mouth have the potential and potency to raise us up to higher levels of consciousness.

Speaking is an integral part of human beings, by contrast to animals. The more holy we speak, the more holy we create our world. The more truth that we speak, the more the truth surrounds us, the more integrity surrounds us. When our word is a word that can be trusted and relied on, and we weigh our words carefully, to say the right things, we will draw down consciousness to ourselves.

Even in our dreams may be real, to the extent we are speaking the truth.

These are some of the underlying principles of what it means to speak ourselves into consciousness.

There are so many ways to do it, such a Poetry Speak, Heart Speak, and of course, finding our own, personal voice to speak. We can Soul Speak, we can talk to G-d, and sometimes we can go so deep that within our own speaking we find that G-d will ride on our words and speak right back to us, which is the secret of what prophecy is all about.

We can MMM Speak, which means that we bring all these types of speaking together, as a channel for consciousness-speaking in a group.

We can Thank You Speak, which is gratitude that brings down consciousness. Talking Torah is also talking ourselves into consciousness. Prayer Speak is talking ourselves into consciousness. Turning prayer toward meditation, see it that way and choosing to focus on it that way is also speaking our way into consciousness.

Saying a word, like a mantra, such as Master of the Universe, which Rabbi Kaplan teaches, can also help us speak our way into consciousness and draw it down into our own lives.

These, and other ways we’ve yet to explore will be part and parcel of our MMM this week.

 

 

Weekly MMM – Let Go, Let G-d

Where I’m going with this week’s MMM may sound familiar… It’s Let Go and Let G-d. It sounds a bit cliché, but it’s where my heart is, and means so much, in so many ways.

The timing of it in this weeks’ Parsha, Vaera, is significant because G-d is showing his stuff in a simple and miraculous way, letting them know that G-d’s the one running the show, basically. That’s what the 10 Plagues are all about, so that everyone should know it’s from G-d.

And, in addition, that everyone should know it so deeply that even when G-d doesn’t come out from “behind the curtain,” like the Wizard of Oz did at the end of the movie, and he stays hidden behind the workings of the natural world, even that’s miraculous. Even then, we have to know that G-d is “pulling the levers,” and running the show.

Based on this revelation, we have to understand that we always have an option. Whether It’s making a living, navigating a relationship, maintaining our sanity (increasingly a problem), or feeling good about ourselves in any area of life, it’s very important to know we always have the option of letting go and letting G-d take over.

You don’t have to be the boss, operating the control panel of your life, at all times. To the extent that you trust enough to Let Go and Let G-d, to that same extent G-d agrees to step in and take care of things. To the extent that you don’t Let Go and Let G-d, it’s as though G-d is saying, “You got it? OK, just call me if you need me. I’ll let you take care of it.”

It’s almost as simple as that. We all have it, all of us. We have the option of letting go and letting G-d take the helm. To the extent that we’re real with this option, and not just paying lip service to the idea to impress yourself or others that you’re a believer and filled with trust, if you really do let G-d in you will find G-d will really come in. It’s a matter of degree.

This idea is taken from sources, and it provides a background for this Parsha, and for the reasoning behind Let Go and Let God. Hints and tools to accomplish this are widely available, even in this Parsha where Moses has an amazing interchange with G-d about whether he’s the one who should be going into Egypt to save the Jewish people.

Moses asked, essentially, “It’s not enough for me to say G-d sent me. I need to know which aspect of G-d, which characteristic sent me in to say Let My People Go?” And of course G-d said, “Tell him Ayeh Asher Ayeh, I will be who I will be. “ That’s a very deep statement, and it tells us we simply don’t know when, where, how or what. We just have to let it all go. We have to trust G-d.

“I will be who I will be,” is what our trust and our patience are all about. It’s about knowing there really is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s going to get us through. G-d is saying, “You gotta trust me on this one… I’m not going to show you according to what you are ready for in these open miracles, but I want to elicit your trust, and then the miracles will kick in.

We must have trust and patience in the “I will be who I will be” aspect of G-d.

And we have to understand that, to the extent you let G-d in, G-d will come in. That’s what the Shekinah is all about. The Shekinah is the Feminine Principle of G-d, the felt presence of G-d in the world. To the extent that we let G-d in, to that extent will we experience the presence of G-d. So, part of letting go and letting G-d is just to let him into the places where G-d is normally not found.

That’s what increases the presence of G-d in our lives. Some people make it their entire life goal to connect to G-d. Devekut is probably the most important principle we learn from Mystical Judaism, especially Chassidut. We learn to bring G-d into everything and cling to G-d at all times, in all aspects of our lives.

When we Let Go and Let G-d, we’ll have a lot of more of G-d than we otherwise would have. Our Patriarchs and Matriarchs taught us this. They let G-d into every aspect of their lives, and they only succeeded when they let G-d into their situation.

When we look at the people who did the greatest miracles, took the greatest strides in Biblical history, it was the people who let G-d into their lives. When Pharaoh was just about to promote Joseph to second in command of the most powerful nation of Eqypt, as a result of Joseph’s dream interpretation, Pharaoh asked Joseph how he knew how to interpret dreams.

So, Joseph could have responded that he had a PhD in dream interpretation from the Harvard University of the day, or that he’d been working on it for many years, honing his skills. But he didn’t go in that direction. Instead, he said, basically, “I don’t know a thing. G-d did it all for me.”

Joseph Let Go and Let G-d. And he started to have incredible influence because he was able to do that.

That’s where the miracles come into our lives, when we actually realize and to the extent we realize that G-d’s running the show, in our lives, and we let him in by seeing that and responding to that in a personalized way.

We let G-d in by understanding that we, as humans, are limited. We cannot so everything. There are impossible situations for us, but not for G-d. “I can’t do it, G-d, but you can do it for me.”

In a nutshell, that’s my exploration for the week. And I’ll probably only make it through the week by letting go and letting G-d into my life.

 

 

Weekly MMM – Male/female relationships

Where I’m going now with my next MMM, is following the same theme as last week, which is Transcendence. It’s will be about male/female relationship transcendence.

I’m choosing this topic now because:

  • We’re beginning the book of Shemot, which is Exodus.
  • We’re beginning the series of six Parshas, the first letter of which form the word SHOVAVIM, which speak to a period of time that serves as a rectification of the spilled seed of Adam, the first man, and includes the generations since Adam. Fixing the souls is at the heart of the male/female relationship.
  • We’re living in a time now, certainly in the Western world, specifically America, when many celebrities of all kinds are being called out as sexual abusers. And the reverberations of this situation and international publicity are causing huge confusion, and even an identity crisis. What is a man? What is a woman? What’s a man/woman relationship, especially a physical relationship? There’s a great need to understand the male/female relationship in order to make is healthy, and something the people can feel good about, but how do you sanctify it? How do you elevate it?

Those are some of the ideas that have prompted me to go in this direction now. Of course, there’s a lot more, too much to cover in one weekly MMM. It would include the concept of being “in love,” compared to “loving,” and also the concept of bashert, meaning the right man or right woman. How do you discover your bashert, and how do you cultivate that relationship? How do you see it through G-d’s eyes and resonate with it? How do you even meet such a person, and how do you make it work once you’ve met?

Bashert is a Yiddish word which is loosely translated as “meant to be.” It applies not only in a male/female relationship, but to each of us in relationship with our home, our career, our calling, to everything. And our bashert relationships many be in need of healing, which we want to understand and cultivateies

Kabbalah teaches us a lot about the male/female relationship. One of the primary analogies of spirituality in Kabbalah is the male/female relationship. What does it take to arouse them, and to have a unification? What are the parameters of that unification? What are the various levels on which it’s happening?

Kabbalah gives us insights into higher levels of unification, which are progressively higher and higher, and through which a couple may become one. And the lower levels are where you find more and more divisiveness. That’s where a couple is not connecting at all.

We need to understand the guiding principles and have the tools to help us come to a unification in progressively higher levels of oneness, which contrasts dramatically with what we see in the world now. People getting married, staying married, staying loyal to each other… these are very important, real issues now. They can’t all be addressed in one weekly MMM, but we can get started.

Prior to the beginning of the Eqyptian exile, the Jewish people worked as slaves. It’s said that the more they were oppressed, the more they were fruitful and multiplied. This phenomenon may be a clue to the relationship between people experiencing pressure and anxiety and being fruitful and multiplying. We need to study this as well, to understand the deeper levels of the male/female relationship, not just a psychological understanding, but how a person’s spouse can be a messenger of G-d to us, and how to work with that in our own lives.

This is the tip of the iceberg on the topic, but it’s the basic direction I’m going in the weekly MMM.

Weekly MMM- Beyond Time

I’m going to share different aspects of transcendence in my upcoming MMM sessions now. I’ve rediscovered that I’m a transcender, and this week I want to focus on timelessness, or transcending time.

Why now?  In the Parshas, we see that Yaakov, Jacob, goes down to Egypt and said that he “began to live.” Our mystical Sages say, and also in the Talmud it’s written that Yaakov never died.  He was timeless. He lived, and of course we know he died, because there are verses in Torah telling us so. But on another level there’s a part of Yaakov that never died.

It behooves us to explore that, because Yaakov is us and we are Yaakov. That’s what the patriarchs and matriarchs are all about. It’s not just a Bible story for us to enjoy quaint lessons from. In reality, they are inside of us and we have to understand that Yaakov never died because it affects our consciousness.

This is the direction I’m going in my MMM sessions – how to stay alive on many, many different levels. One of those levels is reached by understanding how to stay alive by transcending time.

Time is entropy. Time is death. Time ticks away, from a beginning to an end. When you get beyond time, there is no time. There is no end and no beginning.

So, that’s the direction I’m headed now. And we’ll start with an understanding of what time is. Time is basically rectification, Kabbalistically, in our present world right now we are in the world of time. We see G-d is running the world through a time-oriented facet.

As long as there’s more to fix, as long as we’re in this world to fix up unfinished business, it will be measured by time. Our concept of time becomes transcended to the extent that everything is Perfect AS-IS, and everything is whole as-is, and the direction we are headed.

To get to those places of timelessness, there are a lot of different possibilities. One of them is just to be aware, to be real and to embrace the idea of eternity; it’s the notion that what we do now will reverberate forever. It’s understanding that every thought, word and feeling we have now goes on forever.

When we relate to our thoughts, words and actions in that way, we step into timelessness. We relate to it daily.

Timelessness can be acquired by hooking up into our essence. When a musician hooks up into essence, you never get tired of their music. Whenever a great poet does it, contrasted to a great Biblical poet like King David, we see that King David’s psalms go on forever. His poetry has eternal, lasting value. That same psalm has been recited for the last 3000 years, and it never gets old. It will continue to be recited into the future as well. “The song remains the same…” as goes the song sung by Led Zeppelin. It never grows old.

We can measure our own creative works by measuring their timelessness, too. We are trying to create things that are timeless by connecting up to our essence. Any time we connect to essence we connect to G-d and to limitlessness. When we bring limitlessness into the realm of time, then time melts away. That’s when we are situated above time. As they say, time flies when you’re having a good time. When you’re having a good time you’re connecting to G-d and to endlessness. In many ways, it goes by in a flash.

Jacob was working for his bride, Rachel, whom he loved. Seven years passed in a way that showed time had no meaning at that time in history.

We need to find a way to disconnect with what we understand time to be in order to achieve timelessness. When we do that, we do it through G-dliness and through essence, and also through understanding the connectivity of everything. When something is measured by time it means you’re only seeing one, particular time zone, and not what happened before or is happening beyond this time zone.

To the extent that you think in a more wholistic way, beyond a particular time zone, then you are able to expand time. You can make time disappear.

That’s what I think the essence the mystical thinking about time is all about. It’s to go over time. We don’t really move in a linear way through time, we jump around. A timeline has no real relevance for us, not prior to or following after the present moment.

During a calendar year we revisit the same Parshas and the same holidays, in an elliptical way. We are not just going around in circles because we are going deeper and deeper each time around. We see new things we didn’t see before when revisiting the same places. That’s because, until we grasp all the gusto and all the essence available in a particular time zone we aren’t able to transcend its limitations. We can go beyond it once we experience its essence.

So, that’s who we are and what spiritual time is all about. We are moving from an era of humanity, of a time-oriented period, to an above-time-oriented period. We get a taste of this every Shabbat. Shabbat takes us to the place where we try to train ourselves to not think about time, or think about tomorrow. We have many laws, halachot, constraining us from thinking about what’s happened before and what will happen afterwards. It’s about being “here and now,” in the present.

That trains us to move from the time-boundedness of this world to the unboundedness of the next world.

Weekly MMM – Parsha Re’eh

This will be the MMM for Parsha Re’eh this week, and the topic is Integrating the Lower Self, or the Lower Soul. This is a topic that really interests me, because most people are completely ignorant of it and suffer as a result of their ignorance of it. They simply don’t know how to integrate their Lower Soul into their lives.

The Lower Self, Lower Soul or Animal Soul… which is not the same as the Evil Inclination, not at all… but it is part of us which often takes over to sabotage us at the wrong moment. It can impair us in a negative way, or it can empower us in a positive way.

The source of the Lower Soul in Kabbalistic works is called The Left Side of the Heart or The Animal Soul. It’s associated with the original mix-up with the Tree of Good and Evil. It’s associated with Esav, the twin brother of Yaakov, and the Esau/Esav energy of unharnessed chaos, in a way.

When properly processed however, this part of ourselves becomes a great point of life force and empowerment. We have to integrate it, and it’s dangerous stuff because we can easily take it too far.

In a conversation with a friend of mine who is a Hollywood script writer, we discovered that he does not refrain from talking about the dark parts of himself because it gives him the creative edge needed in his business. The more he does it, the more his works become brilliant.

To bring this idea back to the Jewish sources, it’s like this – King David, at the end of his life, could not physically maintain warmth. So, after searching the Land of Israel, the most beautiful girl was found, and she was hired to lie beside him to keep him warm.

The meaning of “not being warm” in King David’s expression was, “libieb chalal bekirei” which translates as, “my heart is void inside of me,” and means that he had no desire for lower-soul stuff any more. It means he was complete and had no need for it, so that caused the situation he experienced at the end of his life, his inability to literally and figuratively warm himself up.

The body heat and the spiritual heat that warms people up is that Lower Self, that Animal Self, that stuff that’s coming from the Left Side of the Heart. King David didn’t have it, toward the end of his life, and he needed help to get warm, literally.

Moses, at the age of 120, right before he died, was completely lucid. And he said, “I can no longer go in and come out anymore,” which means he didn’t experience ups and downs any more. That Lower Soul is responsible for knocking us down so we have to climb up and reach a higher place. Moses didn’t have that responsibility any longer. He was not no longer a warrior and he didn’t belong in this life anymore because he had completed the job.

So, that lower part of ourselves, that Animal Self, is actually the part that keeps the life force alive. So, what we need to do to get to that part, to connect with it, and there are several different ways to do that.  One of the ways to connect with that part is to clean it, clear it, and purge it.

We need to give it a voice. People who do Transcendental Meditation say a non-sensical mantra so that the mind will “sweat out” all of these lower soul thoughts, so that they are not just repressed there. They get processed, and that’s what keeps them calm during the day.

Debbie Ford, one of the original new age writers, wrote about the dark side of ourselves in a book called The Dark Side of the Light Chasers. The wrote about what she called a “shadow world.” We have many parts inside of ourselves, character traits which are not flattering and we’d never want written on our tombstone. We’d never want to become famous for them or have them written on our CD.

We may be lazy or jealous or just looking for a good time. Those are just some examples, and what we have to do is find our own character traits and bring them to the surface, so that we can make a deal with them, we can say, “ok, I’ll let you be a part of my conscious world if you don’t mess me around too much, and if you don’t steer me wrong.”

When we do that, we are able to integrate. Then we generate and ignite those parts of ourselves that, if we didn’t allow them to come to the surface in a healthy, sane way, they would derail us. They would sabotage us, at all the wrong times and in all the wrong ways. So, that’s another way to get to them.

Yet another way to get to them is to know how to mix them, to mix the strong parts with the weak parts, the holy parts with the not-so-holy parts.  We can learn to unify them in a way which is healthy.

One way to do that is to look into our mind, which is what the Baal Shem Tov used to do. When we’re involved in a holy space, such as prayer or learning or something like them, we need to look at the thoughts coming to us. There are a lot of lower-self thoughts coming to us, saying, “raise me up!”

Some people are encouraged to go around, because it’s too dangerous to deal with the thoughts. But another approach is to say, “take those things and elevate them, to put them in the service of G-d.”

Instead of wanting to strong-arm people, be a warrior for G-d. It’s that kind of a work that we do.

Even in time management, we can process these things. We can take the Higher Self, which is what we should do, and the Lower Self is what we would do if we could, and we blend those together. We take the woulds and the coulds and, and scoring them on a scale of 1 – 10, and then looking at the combination of them and making it our priority.

Whatever scores a 10 on the woulds and coulds in my life is the first thing I’m going to do. It’s the most important thing, and the ones scoring 9 and less, are less important to me.

We can look at these lower parts of ourselves and rather than completely focusing on them, we can look at the positive side and try to bring that out to be the dominant side. We can mesh them together to achieve harmony in our lives.

We can look at the Esav side of ourselves, this animal energy we have, and if we can possibly put it into proper vessels, then we have harnessed the animal energy for holy purposes.

There’s a lot more to talk about on this topic, but that’s it for now.

Weekly MMM – Parsha Eikev

The MMM theme for the week of Parsha Eikev is connection. Here’s a list of the things I want to share in my connection-themed MMM:

  • The whole concept of connection or connecting, in Kabbalistic literature, is the juxtaposition of two Sephirotic aspects, one of which is always the source of all activation, movement and vitality. Everything is either a connection or a disconnection. Connections in Kabbalah are called “chasadim,” and disconnections are referred to as “gevurot.”

These are the universal activators of life, opposite of each other. Chasadim connect, and they are associated with water, and gevurot disconnect, and they are associated with fire. Many more parallel aspects exist, but I won’t deal with them right now.

  • Another source of connection is the unification of the broken vessels of the world. Right now, we are in a 45-day period of time, from Tisha B’Av until the 25th of Elul, the day commemorating the creation of the world. Forty-five is the Kabbalistic code name for Tikkun, or rectification.

 

Connecting, then, is rectifying. And disconnecting is breaking, which is the opposite of rectifying.

 

  • A Messianic consciousness source for connecting can be seen by understanding that a human being is a microcosm, created in the image of G-d. A microcosm is a brilliant mechanism of connection, and interconnection. Man as a microcosm, or a small world, is connected with the past, the present and the future. We are connected with all people in the world, all consciousnesses of the world, and with all aspects of life, if we know how to press the right buttons to connect.

 

  • A Garden of Eden source for connecting comes from the Fall from the Garden. While the Fall created disconnection and duality, such as light and dark, life and death, anything and it’s opposite. The connecting aspect, the way we get back into the Garden, is by getting into the oneness. This is what will happen when we get into the Messianic period.

 

  • A Cycle of Life source for connecting comes from time, which does not exist in a vacuum, but in brilliant interconnections. For example, the weekdays are connected with the Sabbath, which is connected with the next weekdays. Rosh Hashana, the New Year, is connected to the whole year, in fact there’s an intimate connection. Our lives are connected to the post life; it’s all going to be reflected in that way. Our present life is connected to our past life and our future life as well.

 

These are Cycle of Life connections. The more we connect them, the more we can tap into the healing potential of making connections, which is what it’s all about.

 

  • A Bashert source for connecting is available in our relationships. Bashert means “meant for each other,” and it comes from historical connections we’ve had with each other, root soul connections. When we discover those connections and actualize them, then we can live in a win-win relationship, or a bliss-bliss relationship where we are completely receptive to each other.

You could say we complete each other, we are each other’s soulmate or soul sibling, and we turn the “me” into a “we.” That’s the greater possibility for connecting in relationships.

  • A Me/Myself source for connecting is often called, “finding your calling.” We find our calling in life with what we most resonate with when we’re “in the zone.” Or, we find the most difficult thing in our lives and endeavor to take care of it. We can project how we will take care of it by finding our inner voice and by going down a path towards actualizing ourselves. That’s what we call, “connecting to myself.”

 

  • A Faith in G-d source for connecting is when we have faith and trust in G-d, and when we see G-d’s hand at work 24/7, in everything we do in life. It’s available by connecting our will to G-d’s will, with our entire heart and soul and might.
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