The Puppet Show
The second lecture- continuing in the highest aspect of Keter-Emunah
The Puppet Show Explained
Imagine the whole world being populated by nothing but puppets. All kind of puppets. Human ones, non human ones, such as messages, current events, or popular societal and cultural movements- all puppets!! The only thing real in this whole scenario is G-d and me. G-d is using all of the puppets to guide me towards my personal tikkun, or perfection process. Recently, there was a popular movie called the "Truman Show," who's star also lived in a sort of a puppet show. Without his knowledge, his entire life was a movie filmed with him being the only real person, unaware that everyone and everything around him was a false set and make believe actors, including his wife, best friend, and even the one directing all the events of his life. That's the fantasy world of Hollywood. But in G-d's real world, this strange, seeming fantasy is actually reality. We just have to reframe our perception of life and our role in it vis-a-vis G-d and vis-a-vis everything and everyone else.
The Puppet Show's Place in our Merkava Series
This is the second course in a series called "merkava." Last time we discussed making the emuna, or living reality of G-d, real in our lives. The first approach to that was the ever increasing clarity that G-d comes through for us when we need Him. We can trust in this so much that we can even take chances in life to do what's right and rest assured that G-d will take care of things for us even beyond our own capabilities. Now we need to make real an even more intimate aspect of emuna. We must be aware that G-d is constantly communicating to us through everyone and everything, ie. His puppets. The communication is one massive, personalized guidance towards my personal tikkun. The greater I believe in this, the more real it actually is.
Benefits of Living in the Puppet Show
Besides the obvious benefit of constantly moving closer to perfection (not to mention actualizing myself and my calling in life, ie. the main reason I am in this world), there are a few others to take note of. First of all, this allows me to reveal G-d and connect to Him in ways that normally are hidden from people. Also this forces me into the moment, into the now- being present with all of my human faculties (this point is the main subject of a research paper called "Paradise Living." See it on the site). I also neutralize virtually all negativity, especially that which comes from all interpersonal relationships. The point here is that these people are G-d's puppets sent to ultimately help me. How can I feel abused, betrayed, neglected or all the rest of the array of negative feelings that people have towards other people? Have you ever seen a dog bark and bite a stick that is hitting it as opposed to the one that is waving the stick? That's how absurd it is to get angry at G-d's puppet. King David, upon being cursed by Shimi Ben Gera, reacted calmly by saying that G-d is making him curse. He understood that this world is a puppet show. Also there is an incredible healing value when perceiving the world like this. I know of a great tzaddik, or saint, presently living in Jerusalem who espouses this puppet show outlook. For many years, the most desperate and sick people, both spiritually and physically, have flocked to his house for help. The awesome transformation in their lives came about by their reframing their lives as being in a puppet show.
A Question and Answer About Understanding Hashem's Messages
A person may correctly pose the following question: When we deeply and honestly try to examine the sources to find out the underlying reason why Hashem is doing to me what He is doing, we come up with a huge amount of possible answers. Maybe it is a test for me to try to lift me up to higher levels? Maybe it has something to do with other people besides myself, such as my parents, my wife or children, my generation as a whole? In short, how can I know which way Hashem is guiding me if I don't know the underlying reason for my receiving the type of Divine Providence that I'm receiving? The answer is that although I may remain ignorant to the true underlying reason, nevertheless, with a very strong desire to know, a very real dose of emuna, a lot of help from Hashem and oftentimes some expert Rabbinical advice, I can at least know generally which direction to go in responding to Hashem's guidance. And please do us both a favor -don't take my word for it. Look up some of the following important Torah based sources:
  1. R. Arye Kaplan-" A Handbook of Jewish Thought" -Part II, Divine Providence
  2. "The Baal Shem Tov on the Torah" - look in the index under Divine Providence
  3. R. Issack of Komarna's book "Ntiv Mitzvotecha" -the chapters on Divine Providence
  4. The book "Shomer Emunim" on Divine Providence
  5. The Ben Ish Chay on Divine Providence as brought in "Gilulei Yisroel," page 60
  6. The Rebbe of Slonim in his series called "Ntivot Shalom" - in a number of places, one of which is in the preface to his first volume of the series
  7. Various commentators to the Torah (chumash) - portions of Bechukotai and Ki Tavo in discussing the fact that if we relate to the events that Hashem is bringing upon us as mere chance occurrences ("keri" is Hebrew), He will respond to us also in a negative happenstance way
  8. The 2 Phases of Actualizing the Puppet Show
    Alright, now that we've discussed the Torah and the theory of the puppet show, let's discuss how to make it happen in our lives. Basically, we can divide the whole thing up into two phases: absorbing and processing. I first need to absorb or at least be aware of the outstanding events in my life- messages that Hashem is sending me!! I suggest accomplishing this as follows: Either take a spider chart and list spontaneously the outstanding messages that I'm being sent or else do this meditatively. For starters, stick to the last twenty-four hours. Recently, I discovered that when praying the standard amidah, or silent prayer, the middle requests are very conducive to recalling and praying for successful processing of G-d's Divine guidance in all areas of our lives.
    5 Steps to Make the Puppet Show a Reality
    After absorption or recalling the events (or messages) that Hashem is sending to us through all of His various "puppets," we need to process (or understand) and act upon the message. I suggest taking the following steps (of course you can be flexible in stressing the steps or the proper order that works best for you; Iım just trying to cover all bases):
    • Step 1 - Puppet Show Acceptance - "I totally accept the fact that Hashem is truly guiding me at all times through all the various puppets."
    • Step 2 - It's All For The Best - "I totally accept the fact that whatever is coming my way is the best possible thing that could happen to me (this is based on our Sages' teaching that all that Hashem does is for the best)."
    • Step 3 - "I desire and pray with all my heart and soul to know what is my personalized message and how to act on it."
    • Step 4 - Either in meditation dialogue or in a letter fashion, ask Hashem to guide you and then make believe that you are in Hashem's place, so to speak, and answer or write back what you think Hashem would answer you (don't get overly carried away in thinking this is really Hashem. Realize, however, that this is a wiser, higher more divine part of yourself that can really understand better).
    • Step 5 - Act upon it. If you see the challenge or obstacle as beyond you at this point, then exercise the lesson learned in our previous class, ie. that of trusting that just as Hashem came through for you in previous similar circumstances, so too He'll come through for you now!! If you are still not okay enough with this trust at the present time, then I suggest you stay tuned for an upcoming class called "Helpless Crying Dvaikus" where one says, "Hashem, I'm helpless, so You do it for me."
    • A Future Class on Me Being a Puppet Also
      Also stay tuned for the ultimate step in the puppet show consciousness, where I realize that I, myself, am a puppet also with Hashem working through me. That class will be called "Shabbos Meditation."