Wednesday, May 25, 2011

To succeed in a relationship.

In preparation for the Holiday of Shavuot (this year June 8 – 9, 2011) which commemorates the giving of the Ten Commandments, and the five book of Moses, 3323 years ago, we always read from the Torah the beginning of book number four from the bible, the Book of Numbers.

At the giving of the Torah, we entered a covenant and bond with G-d, compared to a marriage between a man and woman, so let us learn a lesson from this special reading and our entering this union, with G-d

This fourth book of the Bible begins with the commandment to count the Israelites, hence, the name for the entire book of numbers.

When people are counted, the attention is decidedly, not on what differentiates one person from the other. Whether it’s a person financial status, their physical appearance, any personal refinement, etc., all of these are inconsequential and not considered when a group of people are counted.

When counting a group of people our attention and our awareness is directed to their essence, what defines these people as human beings. The spark of G-dliness in its purity that always remains whole, complete, and which gives us the identity as human beings is the same in all people. Our inherent value endowed upon us by G-d is what unites all people. It is this very deep fundamental nature, common to us all, we arouse when a group of people are counted.

When G-d promises us reward and connection with Him for observing His commandments, the expression used for commandments does not apply to those commandments which make logical sense, but G-d refers to those commandments that are observed purely out of obedience.

Obedience is a commitment of conformity which surpasses the way anyone understands or feels at the moment.

There is a verse in the book of Isaiah, Ki mitzion teitzei torah ud'var Hashem mirushalayim, "For out of Zion shall go Torah and the word of G-d from Jerusalem

What did the prophet intend by saying out Zion, will come the Torah – wisdom, and out of Jerusalem will come the word of G-d? Wisdom is superficial, relative to a person’s essence and not the same in everyone.

A person can have no wisdom, and yet he is 100%human and 100% alive.

In Mysticism, it explains the word Zion as simply an expression for a symbol of the holiness in Jerusalem, while in Hebrew, Jerusalem is an actual description of the great and deep awareness, the physical location offers its inhabitants for G-dliness and spirituality.

Isaiah is foretelling that when a person awakens and connects not just with G-dly symbolism, but with the actual essence, Jerusalem – G-dliness itself, that is how, and that is when, not just wisdom will be revealed, but the actual word of G-d will emanate.

For a relationship to truly succeed, the essence, commitment and obedience must be there. As great as personal achievement is, they are always limited, finite, and fluctuate and that is precisely what differentiates one person from the other.

There is a much deeper part inside every person where there is unconditional love, between parents and children for example, and where there is unreserved sensitivity between people of different back grounds.

In order to enter this bond and relationship with G-d, and with each other, we must awaken and reach deeper inside ourselves. We must be sensitive to what unites us all instead of noticing what makes us different from each other. It is then, that the attachment and relationship becomes an eternal, one.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Small, but very significant.

Every holiday which the bible commands us to celebrate, grants us a special strength in our overall service to G-d. They are all very significant.

When the Jewish people where commanded for the very first time, to offer the Passover sacrifice in purity, there where some people who where not able to fulfill this commandment because they where not in this state of purity. They where very distraught at loosing this very special opportunity to approach G-d through this very special request and asked that they be given a second chance.

G-d acquiesced to their request and granted them Passover number two. They where given a month to clean up their act, and they would be allowed another chance. This Passover number two, is also called, small Passover.

Although the obvious power and lesson for all people, from this holiday, is that if a person sincerely desires, there is always a second chance. It would seem, that this holy day was granted only as a second chance, and as its’ names indicates that it is second in importance, and small in comparison to Passover number one. So the question is, “How then can we consider this special day on par with all the other holidays of the year?”

There is an accepted paradigm that G-d created every creation in the world, in a way that it is both giver and receiver. The only being that needs no one, but everyone else needs and depends on, is G-d. Apart from G-d, nothing and no one can feel so arrogant and haughty that it needs nobody, because in some area of their existence they need to receive from another.

No one and nothing, can ever feel so low that they are worthless, because in some manner and fashion there is something very unique about their existence that they must contribute to the world, that without them, the world and the universe would be incomplete.

Not only does their every existence contribute to the overall completion of the universe, even further, it is their input that establishes the ultimate perfection of existence that could never be possible without them.

G-d created the world in such a way that he intentionally allowed this very important area of the universe to each individual to complete and perfect. This is the unique mission of every individual, and what this means is that no one can say, well if G-d didn’t do it, if Moses didn’t tell us, it must mean we can put our hands up in the air, and just lay back, since it must not be necessary.

This is the “major” lesson and strength we take from a number two, and “small” holiday. The holiday was established only because, it was people who demanded and would not sit back in satisfaction of status quo. This concept that people can make a difference, creates a small holiday with the lesson that even something that appears insignificant, has its place which is a very special place needed, for not only the completion of the yearly cycle, but it is part of the perfection the calendar.

Every individual person must use their unique and unduplicatable individuality to perfect the world around them, and it’s never too late to do so, there is always another chance.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Commitment and logic.

We all know that G-d gave us a mind and a set of emotions for a reason, so they should be used. As a matter of fact, when the bible says that humans are created in the form and image of G-d, it refers specifically to our faculty of being able to think independently, and experience emotions in a unique kind of way, similar to G-d.

It is only humans who are aware of their own emotions and more so. Only humans are able to control and direct our emotions by the thoughts we allow ourselves to process and absorb.

Notwithstanding this incredible exclusivity to our lives, our sages tell us, be weary of this power, because it will steer you in directions that are energized by a selfishness and ego. As much as a person makes any effort to be objective, in the end, a person’s judgment of anything will always be limited by the sub total of only their own experiences, to the benefit of themselves, and certainly not to what appears at the time to the detriment of themselves.

The Talmud explains why we must first proclaim G-d is one, and that he is the only force behind everything, with the Shema Yisrael prayer, before we can accept to love G-d and fulfill his commandments.

If a person bases his obedience and commitment only on his own conclusions, those that are dictated by his own logic and current feelings, tomorrow, if a more convincing argument is made or a person feels differently, there becomes every reason to reconsider prior conclusions and commitments.

However, when a person’s commitment to a relationship surpasses logic and/or personal feelings, G-d is infinite, he has all that is good and powerful, and nothing that is bad or weak, and therefore even if I can’t totally grasp this concept in my finite mind, I am committed to this principle of faith and this becomes something that is iron clad. This kind of proclamation elevates and expands who we are to a level that is otherwise impossible to reach. This becomes a bond of faith with the essence, the true superpower.

That is why, what truly impressed G-d when he offered us the Torah, was our response. “We will do and then we will dedicate ourselves to understand.” This is why the Holy Day of Passover, which is the first of all the major Holy days is represented in the eating of the flat and simple matza, as opposed to the blown up rich with ingredients bread, that is eaten at other times.

A person must lay the foundation of their worship to G-d in humility, simplicity, faith, and obedience. No complications of the mind and the heart, but simple whole hearted faith. We tell children who keep on asking, but why do I have to do this??? Trust me this is best for you. Now, it is impossible to comprehend matters that can only be understood with age and experience. In order for a soldier to succeed, he must be committed beyond his own comprehension and feelings of the moment.

Commitment takes a person beyond themselves. Commitment connects and joins all that you are with the one you are committed to. It is then, that you have created the conduit and possibility to receive the flow of G-dliness in your life.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The influence of the Intellect.

When G-d revealed himself to Moses on Mt Sinai, he said, “When you take out this people from Egypt, they will serve me on this mountain.” Later on, when Moses speaks to King Pharaoh, he says, “Send out my people so they can serve G-d.”

The going out of Egypt was not an end itself. Being free from servitude, if not replaced with a worthwhile way of life, is no guarantee for true freedom, to choose what is truly proper for the individual.

Exodus was merely the first step in the direction of serving G-d, by receiving the Ten Commandments, 50 days later. Now, true freedom and real choices was possible and available for the first time ever.

During the Holiday of Passover, G-d revealed Himself in a phenomenal, miraculous, supernatural way, to punish the Egyptians and free the Israelites. That is why the bible says, “ the nation hastily left Egypt.” In mysticism, we call this an awakening from above.

G-d did this on his own, without much deserving on the part of the Israelites. They really didn’t do much to improve or change themselves from the evil that was all around them. When G-d showed them an opportunity to escape, they needed to run away immediately from their existing evil.

The advantage to getting something far more than what is deserving is that it is so much more. On the other hand, because it comes from the outside, and isn’t something that was generated and earned from the inside, the influence doesn’t make much of a permanent and personal impact, and the appreciation is always with a sense of detachment.

The seven weeks between Passover and the next Holiday, the giving of the Torah, and the Ten Commandments represent acting on the trigger of Passover. When a person experiences an awakening and a spiritual stir inside, ‘The light shines.” It must be snatched if it is to accomplish anything at all.

Mysticism explains that there are seven layers to ones emotions and character. Each of these seven has an element of all the other seven, for a total of 49 levels that make up ones spiritual personality.

For example, there are people who are kind, and many times, kindness must be tempered with severity, like in the case of a parent saying no to a child because of their love for a child. So, we have an underlying love that is expressed in a negative gesture of no.

The seven weeks is a time for a person to examine his emotions in all 49 levels and determine whether they operate because this is natural, or because a conscious decision was made to behave in one way or the other. When a person behaves only because this feels good and/or it comes natural, this will always lead to detrimental and negative results. What happens when I stop feeling this way, or something bad for me makes me feel good.

The mind must be strengthened to influence, not just the natural inclinations of a person, but even more so, the actual nature of the natural tendencies of ones emotions and character. They must be influenced, directed and totally transformed by the mind.

The shine and trigger of Passover, a time for freedom and liberation, must be absorbed and captured so that all one’s emotions are influenced by the mind in its objective freedom and not because of strictly and purely emotional impulses.

Once a person has worked on himself in this manner, where the intellect influences the feelings of one’s emotions, he merits the Holiday that celebrates the giving of the Torah. He becomes a receptacle to receive the expanded, deep, and broad wisdom of the Holy Torah, the ultimate in intelligence.