Jacob’s Angel | Fighting for a Dwelling Place for God
Because of our void we see ourselves as separate from our brothers and sisters.
Because of our void we seek to compensate for feelings of inadequacy by casting destructive thoughts and energies towards our brothers and sisters.
Divine presence won’t rest there.
The concept of separation – of defining ourselves in contrast to others is so common – fragmentation – creating differentiations – orthodox, conservative, reform, re-constructionist – far right, far left – so far from One nation.
Divine presence won’t rest there.
What do we think these baseless feelings of separation which emerge from our void are causing spiritually?
The fending off of Divine presence in our lives – Hashem won’t take the smell of it, and the temple is destroyed – which means that Hashem is in hiding. Still here, just we can’t see Him as clearly. And with hiding comes chaos and destruction – and we are forced to see the good in destruction, which causes us to mourn and yearn and change our ways to bring Him back to our perception.
It’s taking personal responsibility for our destructive thoughts and actions. It’s tikkun chatzot. It’s praying for the success of others. It’s not speaking negatively about our brothers and sisters. Its giving charity. It’s sharing illuminating wisdom. It’s seeing each other as one.
Why is the 9th of Av so powerful? There are 365 days of the year corresponding to 365 sinews in our bodies corresponding to 365 negative commandments (the 365 do not do’s) – the sinew of the sciatic nerve corresponds to the 9th of Av which corresponds to the Samech Mem (Angel of Death) which corresponds to the ultimate evil – the seed of all negativity – so on this day we don’t eat or have marital relations or spray perfume or anoint or rock leather shoes or wash up or get joy from learning Torah. We starve the Samech Mem like we starve ourselves from the treif sciatic nerve.
Jacob’s fight with the Samech Mem corresponds to the angel of Esau, which corresponds to the cosmic struggle between two nations and two worlds, which corresponds to the battle between spirituality and materiality, which corresponds to our struggle in exile – and the angel struck the hollow of his thigh, the sciatic nerve. Jacob could not be overcome but he was struck in his thigh, the area which corresponds to a region of the body that is biblically symbolic of procreation and future generations. That’s us – for us to remember this struggle today.
Hashem tasked the Samech Mem to put up his best fight to guard us against reaching our highest potential. That’s his job. He is our resistance. It’s not that he is a bad guy – he is doing holy work. When we overcome him we can celebrate with him.
But we can only overcome him through restriction and exertion – from seeing the greater vision from our personal and collective place of void. Then we can turn the seed of evil into the point of potential – to overcome and achieve our highest potential. Without the Samech Mem, we can’t reach our highest potential. So the highest light comes from this day which corresponds to Samech Mem which corresponds to the sciatic nerve which corresponds to the 365 sinews, days, Tish’a B’Av.
When the Samech Mem wins, Hashem hides. The temple is destroyed. We are then forced to find the good in the bad as opposed to seeing the good in broad daylight. Today we have separate blessings for “good” events (Who is good and does good) and “bad” events (The true Judge) – but in the future there will be no more duality – there will only be one blessing (Who is good and does good).
“On that day, God will be One and His Name One” (Zehkariah 14:9)
The Samech Mem is our sparring partner. We get better by fighting with him. We get stronger. Just like a seed must deteriorate before it grows into a tree so must we deteriorate our identity – our exterior husk, before we can grow into our potential – our fight with the Samech Mem is our fight with our limited ego – our perception of duality amongst ourselves and our brothers and sisters.
When we overcome and transform our ego so that we see with spiritual pure eyes, then Hashem is in front of us, clear as day – and when He is clear as day to us collectively, the temple is built and we can serve Him – bringing sacrifices of our animistic identifications to our Creator once again with clear vision.
So this Saturday night and Sunday, step out of your leather shoes, don’t wash up, refrain from eating and drinking, marital relations and doing business, from anointing with oils and lotions – it’s the time to sit low and meditate on Lamentations – on the internal quest from baseless hatred and its destructive consequences to endless love and its unifying potential.
Most of all, remember that out of destruction – hidden within destruction as destruction’s purpose, is a love from Hashem that calls us to Him – to the ultimate purpose – to our redemption and salvation. Know this love even in darkness and know that the darkness is only here because of this love.