Removing Spiritual Cataracts


Removing spiritual cataracts for 2020 In Parsha Haazinu, Devarim 32:46 and 47, It says “He (Moshe) said to them, “apply your hearts to all the words that I testify against you today, with which you are to instruct your children, to be careful to perform all the words of this Torah, for it is not an empty thing for you, for it is your life, and through this matter shall you prolong your days on the Land to which you cross the Jordan to possess it.” 

 The Sfas Emes on Parshas Behochesai in 5644 writes that thinking about the mitzvos is greater than the mitzvah itself, because the correction of the soul comes from thinking a lot and desiring to serve Hashem.

In Rectifying the Ego, a 16 shiur two year course through Torat haNefesh, Rabbi Moshe Genuth teaches about having compassion on the Shechina in exile.  This term, the Shechina in exile, is also seen in the prayer before kol nidre from the zohar regarding the releasing of oaths, It speaks about releasing the Shechina in exile from its oath to abide by nature.  It explains that if all else fails, go with pleadings with thirteen attributes of compassion, as modeled for us by Moshe Rebbeinu.

In this reading from the Zohar we learn that the Shechina agrees to be in exile, concealed, and abides by the laws of nature.  Rabbi Genuth explains in commentaries on Vayakeil from the Lubavitcher Rebbe that the Shechina in exile, a prisoner in nature by His Own designation, cannot free Himself and therefore designates the Kohen Gadol once a year to come into the Holy of Holies and free the Shechina from the aveiras of the Jewish Peop\e  Drushim of Yom Kippur Maimer – the Shabbos of Shabbosos given over by Rabbi Moshe Genuth  The paradox of bringing something Infinite into this world through the effort to nullify the ego  Drushim Yom Kippur Maimer weaving time into garments commandments Rabbi Moshe Genut

Rabbi Rome in teaching about Rosh Hashana Shofar blowing explains how there is light within us that comes into the world into the body that immediately bonds with the physical world.  This light is intended to bond with the light from the vav of Hashem’s Name. The Shofar breaks that light’s bond with the natural so that it turns instead to the light from the vav, Zeir Anpin and bonds with that, thereby completing the flow of Infinite Light into the creation.  

Rabb Asher Freund teaches that our natural thinking is attracted to the messages offered by our subconscious thinking, an intellect that is biased towards the body due to developing within time and space at a very early age.  

The personality of a person is largely formed by the age of 2, during the sensori-motor development, as a baby learns about its environment and how to move around.   Surely we can see that it is not true that everything we need to know we learn by two, except that emotionally, until the age of 5, is when our basic personality is formed.  After that, it is a matter of fine tuning. Changes after that require strength of will, not just teaching.

And thus, built into our subconscious are all the impressions, rightly or wrongly, that form when our young mind is developing.

The soul that is placed into a body is its life force.  It comes into a body with a young brain and is placed in dependent situations that to a helpless child can be terrifying.  As a child’s will develops, when that child experiences a lack of something the child wants, the basic reptilian brain reaction is seen.  This is called the terrible two’s but is really revealing to us our core initial reactions, our limbic system, that is connected to our body’s experience of what is happening. 

In that initial moment of lack, there is fear, doubt, accusation, an expression of self-defense that is violent or hurtful discharge of the body’s survival instinct when feeling threatened.

Slowing this down, something appears lacking to the will.  There is a natural will and there is a message that something is lacking and that there is danger. That is despair.  Then there is an interpretation regarding how we feel about this based on what it means for me that my will is not being fulfilled and therefore this message of despair needs to be addressed.  The interpretation messages are from our feeling ourselves and our concern for our image or our lives. These messages then feed the despairing messages and augment the lack of what is our will.  Our soul gets trapped between these two types of thoughts and we give more and more of our life force to such a pattern. However, it does not help because these thoughts are taking place within the realm of the shell over our essential self, the soul.  There are no solutions there because Hashem is doing everything and we simply cannot take for our will what it initially wants.

Thus, there is the initial want and then there is the followup which is the thought pattern into which our soul naturally follows due to being in an immature mind. And our soul enlivens this thought pattern because Hashem agrees to be in exile there, giving us real free will.  As we grow older, and we learn Torah, we can come to see that the Torah tells us to react differently with commandments such as do not hate or bear a grudge, love and fear Hashem, do not take revenge, yet we are “invested” in our subconscious thought pattern because the soul that Hashem has given us, the Shechina in exile, is enlivening the thought pattern in our brain and we make the mistake of thinking that these coping mechanisms and unrectified characteristics are who we are.  

Rather, these are the challenges that well up within us that we are here to use free will to absorb back our soul, the Shechina in exile within these thoughts that is causing the pain to feel so alive and causing us to experience emotions that are being projected onto the present as if the past were happening as it did when these willful moments were first turned into thought patterns.

Our interpretations of the frustrated will and what that means for our self image formed when we were too young to know anything about Hashem.  This is by design because Hashem desires a being whose nervous system is rooted in the tohu and vohu, the void and darkness, with which He conceals the Infinite Light that cannot otherwise come into the world.  By design, our free will with emunah and our nefesh elokis are the needle and thread that bring the Infinite Ligh through the blanket of tohu and vohu into our mind and heart and then into this world through our speech and deeds.  This is how the yetzer hara is very good, for it is His Design on how to have a world with Infinite Light through an imperfect people who in the process earn their perfection and weave eternal garments out of the mitzvahs.

As we learn about Hashem and develop emunah and bitachon, we begin to understand that Hashem is doing everything and that He loves us and that WE are our own Kohen Gadol that must go into our Holy of Holies, the mind/heart pairing, and free the Shechina in exile, our soul, from the prison of our subconscious impressions and possibly life long coping mechanisms and thought patterns or even thought disorders.

How do we separate that initial flow of  light from the messages with which it is bonded?  If we want to boil water, we put water in a pot and turn on the heat.  If we want to break a mental bond, we hold the message, the vessel, with the light, our soul and we shower the soul with compassion on it so that the compassion breaks the bond between the message that is negative and the soul that is pure compassion yet animating it due to its being imprisoned there.  Our compassion on that shechina in exile is an expression of the flame from Yaakov Aveinu, who balanced chesed and gevurah with harmony and compassion. It is within us even if we don’t realize it and when we have emunah and use real free will to shower compassion on the shechina in exile in our thoughts. It is because we recognize our creator and we simply do not want any more of our life force, our soul, our time line, to flow towards such a thought pattern.  We simply do not want it. Even though we are thinking it and our subconscious “wants” it, we cry out to Hashem that we do not want it, that we want our soul to be more like He is so that we can bring that shechina, which is compassion, into the world as the intention for learning Torah, praying, doing chesed, or doing mitzvahs. Crying out to Hashem with this as our truth in our heart is our effort. By speaking it, we break the bond. This is submission, in the Baal Shem Tov’s submission, separation and sweetening model.

Once broken, the compassion flows back to its Source, Hashem, because Hashem draws it back to Him through our nefesh elokis.  This is ratzo, our will to nullify everything that seems to us to be the reality that we know is NOT what we want. We hold steady as we move towards Hashem, running and not getting pulled by the windy forces that are our natural messages trying to pull us back into the darkness of the despair and arrogance concerns.  This is separation, and it feels like being dragged over fiery coals. It takes emunah and compassion on our own soul, the Shechina in exile, and real free will to know that we want to not want any of those messages and that we recognize Hashem is One and that we are a part of Him and desire to connect through Torah, avoda, chesed and mitzvahs.  Our sincerity and our will guide us through the emotional storm.

Hashem then brings that compassion, our soul, back to us through shov returning it to our hearts without the message and at that moment, His Name Havaya and Adni are unified and we are able to bring that unified light into the world through the performance of a mtizvah.  We have been mesiras nefesh our “first born child” namely our ego. As we take an action, this is sweetening.

We have nullified our ego.  What this means is that we recognize that our physicality is a small clump of physical material that is expanded and alive by a nefesh elokis that is made in His Image and that He is doing everything.  He gives us real free will to mistakenly take credit for our successes and to think that we are in control. These are two major reasons why nullifying is so hard, and these false beliefs are labeled as arrogance, even though they feel so normal and necessary.

So what is the difference between arrogance and self?  Self becomes a transparency of being that reflects the nefesh elokis and gives voice and expression to Hashem’s will through acts of learning Torah, praying and blessing, acts of chesed and mitzvahs. Being able to see that we are a clump is the first step in the process of nullifying the painful reactions we have and showering compassion upon the shechina in exile within them.  These are deep places in our hearts. Yet when we submit in such a way and we realize we are helpless clumps that are not in control and we move forward to do good according to His Will, Hashem draws back to Him what is imprisoned within us and restores our soul to our hearts with healing and great simcha. There is life after ego pleasure and it is called joy.  

We are Yisroel, Jacob’s ladder, across which the angels come between heaven and earth through our perceptions to our brains through our hearts and bodies and emunah and prayers through our nefesh elokis and back again to our mind and heart and into our deeds.

May we expand our vision of who we really are, souls in a body, so that our lives become meaningful and our hearts become joyous as we usher new light into the world.

When in pain, we are able to continue to do mitzvahs and do good.  When we are humiliated, we are able to nullify the despair and arrogance winds and truly see with joy the abilities of a clump to serve Hashem as one with Him.

Eventually, we come to understand at that initial experience of our will not happening to simply say thank you and NOT follow the limbic system’s messages at all but rather by recognizing lovingly our patterns, to simply hold steady with emunah and thank you so that we remain focused on recognizing the opportunity to bring our lifeline, our soul, the Shechina in exile from its prison of darkness into the mitzvah of Hodu lHallel, ein od milvado consciousness, with a full heart.

Knowing that this effort will produce a flow of inner simcha is ok..we r doing it from love for Him with compassion on the shechina in exile but it is ok to know that the pain will dissolve and we will feel healed and then can reveal our true essence, His Compassion.

Start here with Devorah Yaffa Singer Foundations of Emunah  I highly recommend that people begin to listen to Devorah Yaffa Singer’s Lights of Emunah – these foundational shiurim are offered for free.  There are about 26 more, for which Devorah Yaffa gives to those who register 4 a month along with an hour of coaching on emunah. This series is experiential understanding of Hashem and I highly recommend it…Devorah Yaffa is delightful and the shiurim are well sourced in Torah and it is quite enjoyable.

And here with Rabbi Moshe Weinberger shiurim on the Bilvavi’s Da es midosecha, getting to know your middos

Rochel Weiman