Weekly Parsha

Weekly MMM – Parsha Vayigash – The Eyes of G-d

I’m calling this week’s MMM – The Eyes of G-d. It’s based on the weekly Parsha, Vayigash. The essence of this Parsha is the moment when Joseph says to his brothers, “I am Joseph,” and they fall into a state of stunned silence. They thought about all Joseph had put them through to get them to recognize the error of their ways, and everything comes together.

When Joseph announced, “I am Joseph,” it triggered his brothers realizing how everything fit into place. We have a similar, parallel situation when G-d announces, at the end of days, “I Am G-d.” That is when all humanity will see how everything comes together.

This is one peek into the eyes of G-d, at looking at reality through G-d’s eyes. Of course, G-d is at least a trillion steps ahead of us, in terms of seeing the whole picture and bringing all the moving parts together.

The more we can emulate G-d’s perspective and see how the world is running on past, present and future, the more successful be can be, in our lives, our relationships with other people and with G-d.

One of the ways we can try to drawn down into ourselves a perspective we can call, “the eyes of G-d,” is to set about to look at the world through G-d’s eyes.

In the difficulties between Joseph and his brothers, in that story of the primal, family schism, we see that G-d is watching the story unfold and the characters in the story are occupied with their role in it. First, they are trying to figure out how to deal with it, and later, they are trying to forgive and to be forgiven.

While all the Patriarchs and the tribes of Israel are occupied with trying to get out of trouble, our Sages make an interesting point when they say that G-d is occupied with bringing the Mashiach. G-d sees one, big story line as a means to an end, the unfolding of a certain process.

Meanwhile, all we can see is our own lives on a time line, in the unfolding process of our lives. So, it’s important to be able to see the adventures of our own lives as parts of a whole.

Joseph, whom Pharaoh referred to as, “the mashbir,” fulfilled the meaning of that word as, “the one who fed the word.” Joseph had the insight and the foresight to know how to survive world famine, and how to feed the world through it. He used his wisdom and understanding of the Hebrew word, “shobair,” which means, “to break things.” It’s the opposite of fixing things.

Someone in business does this same thing. They break down what they have and distribute it. They take the entirety of what they have and break it down into its component parts for sale. A retailer knows how to break down and sell component parts.

The eyes of G-d are what Joseph had to see what needed to be done to save the world from famine. In order to carry out the plans, Joseph needed to see the past, present and future, all the resources available, and communicate them in order to carry them out equitably.

This is just one of the many ways of seeing with the eyes of G-d. It involves not only seeing what is there, but what is not there, that which could be there and that which was and will be there. Joseph could see all this and he knew how to manage it and distribute the food fairly when needed.

When we understand this idea, we develop an appreciation for the ways G-d is working with us, as we work through things for ourselves and with others, seeing a bigger picture taking shape.

 

Weekly MMM – Parsha Vayeshev

This week’s Parsha is Vayeshev, and I’ve chosen the topic of beauty. One of the reasons is because one of the “stars” of the story this week is Joseph, who is known to have been the epitome of beauty in the world.

As we know, Joseph was captured and held as a slave in Egypt. He was working for a rich family and his beauty attracted the lady of the house, who tried to force him into a physical relationship, which Joseph ran away from and which lead to his imprisonment.

When Joseph was rescued out of prison and appointed as second-in-command, he was paraded past Pharoah, and women were throwing themselves at him as he passed by the entire nation of Egypt.

Joseph had physical beauty, but he also had something more. He didn’t just have a Hollywood-type exterior beauty, but a beauty on the inside as well. For Joseph, his beauty came from the fact that he was a tsaddik, a righteous one.

The Sefira of Yesod is all about this kind of beauty, when a person completely shines in the totally of themselves into the world. When a person, man or woman, is shining in that way, that’s real beauty.

Another aspect of beauty comes out in this Parsha, the last one we read before Hannukah. Since Hannukah is all about the distinction between the Maccabees, the heros of the Jewish story and their unique perspective on life, versus the Greek nation and its ideologies.

Although the Greeks contributed greatly to civilization, the main difference in perspective, compared to Jews, being their definition of what beauty is, meaning, “what you see is what you get.” Greeks believed beauty is something that’s tangible and measurable, and that’s evident in their appearance, their athletics and their philosophies.

To the Greeks, beauty had to be visible. By direct contrast, Jews believe “what you DON’T see is what you get.” It’s our soul connection, our G-d connection, our Torah connection and our Shabbos connection. These are things which intangible and invisible.

Jews have been and still are teaching the world about beauty that you don’t show, that’s a mystery requiring the use of imagination to understand what it’s all about. This is another important thing in this week’s Parsha as well.

I believe we include the whole concept of beauty during my weekly MMM explorations. Half the beauty is to answer the question, “What is it that makes us attractive?”  That includes attraction by other people, between a man and a woman, a person to a religion, a person to a way of life, a person to everything they encounter during the day. What’s the attraction there?

So, the real beauty and the attraction are one and the same. We are attracted to that which is beautiful to us, that which we resonate with and we need. People who are trying to find a mate, a job or the right people, places and things to enhance their lives, need to know this secret of attraction.

People are attracted to what they are lacking, what they need. And they may be attracted to what you have, that nobody else has. When you emanate that because you understand what it is, the more naturally the better, then you are a source of walking beauty, a deep source of the substance that other people need. That’s beauty, and it’s what makes you beautiful.

Weekly MMM – Parsha Vayishlach

The theme for next week’s Parsha Vayishlach is Pnim d’ pnim, which is like, “the soul of the soul.”

One way to understand the concept is this – if you implode inside yourself, going deep enough into who you are, and you express that and live that, you’ll be functioning at a higher frequency than normal.

To the extent you do this, you will reduce the need to chase things in your life, such as productivity, goodness, relationships, income, etc. All the things we often make concerted efforts to accomplish are the things we tend to chase.

But if you can get to the “soul of your soul,” the completeness and actualization of who you are, things will come to you automatically. I call this the Pnim Principle, which I’ve tested in my own life many times.

I inevitably feel that the more I’m connected to the essence of who I am, in a self-actualized and self-expressed way, the more the door opens for others to “chase” me, rather than having to do the chasing myself. That’s the concept.

Now, where do I see it in Torah, in Parsha Vayishlach? One place is Jacob’s transition, when he’s leaving Lavan’s house after 20 years and he’s coming out more elevated than he was when he arrived there.

This coincides with Jacob’s wrestling match with Esau’s angel, which corresponds to the yetzer hara, the evil inclination, the satan, the primal antagonistic energies in the world. And the injury to his sciatic nerve during the wrestling corresponds to his support for his spirituality throughout the ages.

Despite the injury, Jacob becomes the ultimate, self-expressed human being during his wrestling match. He comes out of his 20 years of coping with the world’s greatest deceivers by telling his nemesis, his twin brother Esau, that not only did he survive, but he became a complete human being.

Jacob comes out of the wrestling by earning a name change, which goes hand-in-hand with the wrestling match. He’s no longer called Jacob, or Yaakov in Hebrew, representing the more constricted aspect of who he is, but he becomes Israel.

He went into the house of Lavan as a person who had nothing, no family, no children, nothing. And he came out with a complete family, the 12 Tribes of Israel. He went into the house of Lavan as a person who was being pursued, and he came out having great respect, as had his father and grandfather.

Although he suffered greatly in future episodes of his life, Jacob became another human being named Israel, and he discovered Divinity in places where Divinity was normally hidden. This was the purpose of his entire stay in the house of Lavan. He became a representative of Divinity inside the land, as he had been a representative of Divinity outside the land in the past.

Jacob, now known as Israel, does this not only for his own family, but for all generations to come. He prepared the way. Not only is he a person who does good and receives good, but he does the ultimate good by finding G-d in every single minute and situation of each day, and he receives in a mirror-like fashion what’s called an “endless G-dly inheritance.”

He comes out of the house of Lavan with a discovery of human holiness, revealed in a mundane, non-holy place. And he sets the standard for all his children, for all of posterity.

We are the children of Israel. We go by his name because that is our legacy and our destiny in all these years of exile. He set the standard for us. And one of the deepest lessons of all his extraordinary achievements is that he’s provided us with the tools to survive and to reveal G-dliness inside the darkness, for all eternity.

That is part of our destiny, and what could be, should be and will be our own achievement if we really work on it. Personally, in my own way, I try to pour everything in to my Mystical Musical Meditations. I pour the entirety of who I am, all my creativity, all my wisdom, all my Torah, all my enjoyment of life, all my experiential consciousness of life, my poetry… I pour all of who I am in order to achieve my fully-actualized soul and to, hopefully, draw down the power of Jacob/Israel.

I think this is what anyone can do when they set about to find the self-actualization within them. And to the extent that they do find it, their struggles will be softened and transformed.

 

 

 

 

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.

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