On these SoHo streets

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10/12/2015

On these SoHo streets

Walking through the streets of NYC these days with a crazy beard and skull cap feels different than it used to be. I keep thinking about what’s going on in Israel and Europe – I’m a target over there. So I’ve become more suspicious about how others see me here on these SoHo streets filled with all these happy tourists from all around the world.

Where I live, in addition to frequent “Salam Alekem’s”,  I get “Shabbat Shalom’s”  from the under cover brothers. I get “Chag Sameach’s”  from the Israeli tourists. I get screams of “Moshiach Now” from the car windows of out of town Chabad passerbyers. The words are usually accompanied with a nod of unspoken communication – like, I am also Jewish and I relate to you and you bring out something from me. It feels like they need me. And that feeling makes me feel like I need them.

It’s easy to settle into our surroundings. Into community norms, institutional norms, geographic norms – and that can hold down a soul from chasing the light of its potential.

The body and its surrounding environment cannot fully house the soul. So we are really always in a state of breaking out. Expanding. Growing closer toward the Source. So folks whose souls crave to rise beyond the constraints of their limited physical identities and personalities give me that nod because that part of themselves sees something they can relate to – like, I also have that within, and you bring out something from me. It feels like they need me. And that feeling makes me feel like I need them.

Same with those suffering with self doubt, addiction, depression and all forms of mental illness. Like, I see you live beyond the bounds so the part of me that’s trapped here has hope and strength from seeing you breaking free. Through your Emunah and certainty and faith in Hashem – through that, I have hope. It feels like they need me. And that feeling makes me feel like I need them.

Now is not the time to go undercover. Now is the time to boldly rise toward our own greatest potential, to inspire and connect with others.

The prophets talked about this time thousands of years ago. The sages say that the way to navigate and remain safe today is through Torah and acts of kindness. Torah means the way, the wisdom, the code transmitted by the Source to us, the elixir to life. And acts of kindness means alot, including only seeing the good in yourself and in others and never speaking negatively about yourself or others under any circumstance.

Rav Shalom Arush lays out for us a five step plan to navigate these troubling times,  eloquently elaborated by yours truly:

1. Strengthen ourselves in Emunah. Incorporate our higher wisdom and understanding and stretch further during prayer, meditation and intention in every day actions – to live what we learn and learn more – and continue that cycle constantly for the rest of our lives. Never despairing. Never stopping.

2. Recall Hashem’s love for us, recalling the past miracles done for our nation in 1967, 1973, 1991, and all through recent years until today. And, thank Hashem for our national salvations and our private salvations. Think about our own miracles and take nothing for granted. Thank Hashem constantly. Be in a constant state of gratitude for everything in life. For the most trivial detail.

3.Those who are not yet plugged into the miraculous healing power of the holiest 24 hour period of the week A.K.A. Shabbat – those who have not yet merited to bask in the cradle of light which awaits us at sundown Friday – those who have not yet given themselves the sweet gift of rest and inner peace and connection to the ultimate purpose – those still stuck in the quicksands of today, walking in circles around the ordinary week – should begin immediately to follow their inner Divine spark who craves intensely for the requisite freedom and healing recharge of the Shabbat. Weighing in at number 4 of the Ten Commandments, if you observe the Shabbat it’s like you hold up the entire Torah.

Violating the level of Shabbat that we are personally holding today removes us from the powerful realm of Shabbat, pushing away the greatest gift of purpose, peace and rest and joy that can only be experienced with the assistance of the extra soul that joins us on Shabbat, and the angels who dance around our Shabbat table. And, says Rav Arush, those who observe Shabbat should strengthen their knowledge of the laws of Shabbat.

4. One should ponder Hashem constantly and speak to Him as much as possible.

5. One should encourage others to learn and strengthen Emunah.

Perhaps what is most important to us now, is to love each other like we love our self. To love peace and pursue peace within and between ourselves. This brings peace between the Source and His people.

Blessings,

Etan

On these SoHo streets

How to transcend time | Rectifying the imagination

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10/2/2015

How to transcend time | Rectifying the imagination

Inspired by the teachings of my guide, Rav Baruch Gartner.

Life can appear to be bound by the laws of nature.

We really don’t realize how bound we are to the laws of nature when we are living in nature.

The Torah is the gateway to living above nature.

The world is fooling people.

Our consciousness is really nothing more than imagination.

We really don’t know anything for sure, as much as we really wanna believe we know something.

There are a lot of things that cannot really be proven that we are choosing in our minds to believe.

Many people choose to believe a lot of things that are producing a lot of fear and anxieties, rather than choosing thoughts that are empowering us and bringing us closer to the Source. “I’m gonna get sick again”, “the world is coming to an end”, “I can’t get this out of my mind”, “this is not going to work out”.

The sages attempt to rectify our mind so that we can think properly – to raise our consciousness to a higher level – to reach a platform of higher levels of perception.

The sage’s goal is to try to change our way of thinking from being constricted to expanded. And this is called rectifying the imagination.

Through the rectification of the imagination, we ultimately get to a whole different realm – a different way of living and experiencing life.

We go from one level to the next level to the next level to the ultimate place of clarity – we get to a place which is above imagination.

Rebbe Nachman teaches us that God is above time. Really, only children believe that God is a man in heaven. The truth is that God doesn’t have any character traits. The ones He revealed to us simply serve as rungs to rise up through our imperfect imagination – we rise up from not knowing to knowing that God is above time and space.

Rebbe Nachman said that it is impossible for the human mind to grasp this.

However, we see that there are other things which are also above time.

Teshuvah (returning to our true nature through repentance) is above time. The day a person does teshuvah, he is above time. He rectifies the past.

And the holidays are all above time.

A person can at any moment of his life be reborn. At the time of his passing it was this idea that Rebbe Nachman was bringing himself to life with – the concept of being above time.

There is a type of understanding referred to by Rebbe Nachman as transcendental understanding. It is also referred to as “Shefa Elokim” a Godly outpouring – a sort of Divine flow “Ruach Hakodesh” –  a state of Divine inspiration. A supernatural realm which does not come through thinking or working hard for. A channel of higher perception which bypasses the constraints of the intellect.

This type of wisdom will change your whole life and produce something called “V’hitlahavut Halev” a passionate heart. But it is impossible to experience this level unless a person first sanctifies the seven windows of his face.

This is connected to the holiday of Sukkot, when we commemorate the seven Divine clouds of glory which surrounded the nation of Israel throughout their travels in the desert.

Rebbe Nachman taught that the seven clouds correspond to the seven windows of the purification of the human being, required in order to receive the outpouring of knowledge called “ruach hakodesh” which allows for a person to know things in a supernatural way.

The holiday of Sukkot is connected to the idea of a type of knowledge called “makifin” a transcendental intellect that surrounds us – no matter what level you are on you have a surrounding makif – just like God is infinite, so too is our ability to perceive Him – but our minds cannot contain this perception.

So too, our body is not able to fully house our soul. As a person perfects his senses, the person brings into his aura a higher level of intellect , a makif, into his level of understanding. This is accomplished through purification.

There are certain concepts that a person’s mind cannot really grasp. For instance, the concept of free will and an all knowing God. How can I really have free will if God knows what I’m going to do? No human being can perceive this. This is something beyond human consciousness. A person cannot grasp this.

This in itself is the reason that a person has free choice.

As long as a person cannot grasp that understanding then his free choice is in place because he has the ability to choose this or that, life or death.

But as soon as this wisdom comes into his realm, that free choice will dissipate and he will no longer have free will.

We learn that in the future, the sages will be sitting with their crowns “in their heads” (not on their heads) – what is permeating beyond and around them will come into their intellect – into their heads. Our free choice will not be the same. The sages will be “sitting” (ie. not moving from their place)

How do we bring transcendental reasoning into our minds?

First, we must conceive these transcendental concepts. Similar to the way a woman gives birth through crying out, we give birth to our understanding from the hidden realm. This is the deeper meaning of the process of Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Hoshana Rabbah – to scream out from our constricted consciousness to God to help us to sanctify these windows with holiness of Hashem so that we merit to reach a place of expanded understanding.

A person brings higher intellect inside, which is the aspect of Sukkah – the transcendental intellect that comes to us from sitting in the sukkah and connecting to the powers of sukkot through observing the spiritual technology of its laws.

Transcending our ways of being obsessed with the past and the future – transcending our thinking to being above time is what Sukkot is all about. A temporary dwelling – transcendence . The makifin – the higher levels of intellect – the culmination of all the holidays.

Shabbat shalom and chag sameach.

Blessings,

Etan

How to transcend time | Rectifying the imagination

Uman Uman Rosh Hashana!

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9/3/2015

Uman Uman Rosh Hashana!

This blog is all about sharing with others what turns me on. I’ve learned with friends on a one on one basis and a number of them have encouraged me to go wider and this is the format that feels natural for me.

What turns me on, and really all I am interested in thinking about, talking about and writing about is consciousness and our relationship with the Source. How to perceive what’s going on in our lives, how was the world created, why was it created, what’s our purpose and role in creation and where are we going from here.

My personal expression of spirituality is grounded in the wisdom of the prophets and the holy sages past and present. I learn from and with sages and I absorb their teachings and look to integrate their wisdom into my life. Sometimes this is a slow process and other times it’s a swift radical change. Sometimes I don’t have the choice. I believe that life is a constant lesson and our job is to keep our eyes wide open to learn from the wisdom flowing toward us. I look to share this wisdom because it brings me great joy and I enjoy sharing what I believe can bring joy to others.

I have a special connection to the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. His teachings can be found in several places including http://www.breslov.org

For decades, the individuals at breslov.org have tirelessly worked on organizing and translating the teachings of Rebbe Nachman. Their efforts have provided me with the luxury of having these teachings organized and translated, ready to consume.

Rebbe Nachman, a great-grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, breathed new life into the Hasidic movement by combining the esoteric secrets of Judaism (the Kabbalah) with in-depth Torah scholarship. He attracted thousands of followers during his lifetime and his influence continues until today through many Hasidic movements such as Breslov Hasidism. Rebbe Nachman’s religious philosophy revolved around closeness to God and speaking to God in normal conversation “as you would with a best friend.” The concept of hitbodedut is central to his thinking.

I’ve found that there is a general disconnect between many peoples understanding of what Breslov Hasidism is and what they imagine it to be. Unlike Chabad Hasidism, there are no “Breslov Houses”, and without an official leader over the past 200 years, many people connect to Breslov wisdom on their own through books. There are very few Breslov communities one can find and be a part of and the organizational infrastructure is sparse and centralized to a few locations around the world.

Many people think of Breslov as a movement of hippies in white na na Nachman hats dancing to techno music around spray painted vans. A movement of ex cons and social outcasts who have found a gateway to spiritual ecstasy.

As exciting as that may sound to some, there’s an important opportunity now to educate the masses in what Breslov is and how the teachings of Rebbe Nachman are more relevant and critical than ever, for everyone.

The wisdom and relevancy of the teachings of Rebbe Nachman, as well as the teachings which have come from his teachings are extraordinarily powerful and appeal to a very wide spectrum of the population within Judaism and beyond.

The teachings of Rebbe Nachman are deep and multi-layered and one can connect to them on many levels, each according to their own perspective and stage in life.

I’ve found the most beneficial way to learn and develop spiritually is through relationships with guides who have spent their lives clearing away their own chaff and refining the jewels of wisdom within. Witnessing firsthand the attributes and lifestyle of those who live the wisdom provides much more than simply reading a book on our own. Just like experiencing a Shabbat is necessary in order to truly understand its power and meaning.

So how can one who is interested in the wisdom of Breslov Hasidism take their connection to the next level? How can one who’s soul is thirsting for the truth and power in the words of Rebbe Nachman connect to an anchor of this wisdom? They need to develop a relationship with a guide. And this is what breslov.org is creating now through Breslov Campus. Direct access to the Breslov all-stars around the world from the comfort of your own home and office. It’s all about the Rebbe to them.

This is also what my soul brother Rav Dror Moshe Cassouto is building at http://www.emunahchannel.com and the new Emunah Center in Jerusalem. Rav Dror’s friendship, strength and daily videos continue to change my life and thousands of other lives around the globe in profound ways. It’s all about the Rebbe to him.

And this is also what my dear friend and guide in Jerusalem, Rav Baruch Gartner, is building through illuminating one on one psycho-spiritual video sessions which rock worlds and bring clarity, purpose and joy to so many of my friends and family’s lives. Last year in Uman, Rav Gartner said that he is just another monkey on the chain to the big Gorilla. It’s all about the Rebbe to him.

And then there’s Uman.

Next week I’m gonna leave my wife and three kids again for Rosh Hashana. I’m gonna leave them to fend for themselves while I fly to Ukraine for a week. On the surface this can seem like a highly selfish act.

Fortunately for me, my beyond generous and open minded spiritual gangster wife went to Barnard, drove a 1340 CC Harley Davidson low rider, and when asked for her hand in marriage said “as long as you are committed to achieving your spiritual potential”. She knows I plan to slay it out east and bring back a year of penetrating light for the bayis.

I’m fully aware that this sounds odd to most people but I believe I can connect with souls which have dropped their garb. I believe their spirits are still here. And I believe the influence they have over me only increases with their physical passing. So my connection to Rebbe Nachman is alive and well.

I believe Rosh Hashana is the day of judgement, and that what is decreed on Rosh Hashana impacts the upcoming year for my and my family’s lives – so I look at Rosh Hashana in Uman as more of a spiritual business trip than a family holiday like Sukkot, Pesach and Thanksgiving.

Maybe I’m extreme. Maybe I walk so far out from the norm to chase the light so I can bring it back for us. No one ever accused me of being normal –  but I feel that my trip to Uman, to be with 40,000 brothers by the grave site of a sage whose wisdom I immerse myself in – and all my holy rabbis and guides, and brother’s who join me – I believe that’s the most normal and rational thing I can imagine.

Leaving my wife and kids for a week?

Would that be an issue if I was standing trial?

I am. And I’m representing them.

Would that be an issue if I was headed on a business trip to support my family?

I am. This is when health and wealth for the upcoming year is crystallized.

I leave for the most treasured purpose of all – to chase the light of my salvation, to make me a better person, to connect to reality – to alter reality – to channel blessings into my life, my family’s lives, to our people and the world. It’s better than bringing back diamonds and gold.

So does it have to be done in Uman on Rosh Hashana?

My business trip is in Ukraine. It’s where I feel most connected during Rosh Hashana and where I feel I can be most effective in accomplishing my objectives. Sometimes these questions are really more about the one asking them. Like they are looking for strength from your strength – a subconscious effort to accumulate ammunition to battle for their own highest good. And I’m happy to assist.

Every single year, I along with my guides and brothers I’ve brought with me have the most insane positive holy trans-formative spiritual life changing experiences there.

Leaving my kids? I cant wait to take them. I consider it every year. Taking my holy tzaddikim twins to Uman is going to be incredible. They are mad at me every year I don’t. Maybe next year.

The arrival in Kiev is a like a hostile takeover – Jews everywhere – young hasidim from all over the world with runny noses and DNA strand side locks holding onto their tati’s bekishes. Sephardi businessmen with gold rolexes reciting psalms. Disheveled yeshiva students, hands interlocked with Israeli hippies, singing and dancing – and robotic large men with broad shoulders and big hands in uniform stamping passports – the baggage claim – the exit to the buses and cars lined up for the 3 hour drive to Uman. The dancing and singing on the bus. The brotherhood. The excitement in the air.

The strange towns passed by – the open sunflower fields – the expansive forests traveled through by brothers long gone on cold winter nights to visit their tzadik. The history in those forests.

The mafia encounters along the way – the arrival in Uman – the heavy bags and the rocky dirt roads – the heavy flow of joyous brothers walking everywhere in every direction – in song and in awe – the energy is thick and building. The sounds of the shofar, holy beggars shaking cans and Breslov techno blaring in the streets.

The 3am mikvah. The magical sunrise. The all day prayer. The deep meditation in the fields. The pulsating energy radiating from the grave of the Rebbe.

The sweet feeling of togetherness that makes you just stop and smile.

I wish for you and bless you that you be granted in the approaching days of judgement, to be inscribed and sealed in the book of judgement for a good life.

Shana Tova.

Blessings,

Etan

Uman Uman Rosh Hashana!

All My Heart and All My Soul

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8/14/2015

All My Heart and All My Soul

“From there you will seek Hashem, your God, and you will find Him, if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.”  – Deuteronomy 4:29 Va’Eschanan

He is here.

24/7 here and ready to be found — if we search for Him with all our heart and all our soul.

He said we will find Him –  and to me, finding Him means me perceiving Him more than just knowing He is there. To me, this means the more heart and soul I put into searching for Him, the more I will find Him.

I believe this is true.

That through searching with all my heart and soul I find Hashem more and more. And since I believe this, and have seen it over and over again – how can I waste my time not searching for Him? How can I not be working on summoning up more and more desire from my heart and soul to search and find, search and find?

As we set sail into Elul with Rosh Hashana just around the bend I’m thinking of these past few weekly Torah portions. It’s crystal clear that the Source wants us to embody and live His commandments so that He can bless us in full measure.

And when we stray – like electric fences guarding the perimeter of the Garden of Eden, He blesses us with “curses” to wake us up, shake us free from unconsciousness and steer us back to serving Him with joy only so that we can receive more and more of His blessings. Our greatest joy.

The Torah and the holy nation are one. And the Torah lays out the blueprint for our lives.

We are to refine ourselves through the wisdom of the Torah – to purify ourselves so that we can be most fit to receive the highest levels of joy intended for us – because the Source created this world to give us the highest levels of joy – and we were created with a huge capacity to attract and house those high levels of joy intended for us.

The Torah is wisdom. The interpretations of the Torah by the prophets and sages have distilled the deeper meaning contained within the Torah into digestible vapors of wisdom for us. As we delve deeper into the Torah and grow in its ways we develop higher perceptions of its holy words and the Source’s intention – all so that we can practice in deeper ways, purifying our vessels to receive deeper and deeper levels of joy from the Source.

He said He won’t abandon us in Va’eschanan. That means that He will never abandon us.

And He told us how to find Him. By searching with all our heart and all our soul.

It’s time to start searching with all of my heart and all of my soul.

אני לדודי ודודי לי (I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine)

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Shabbat Shalom & Chodesh Tov.

Blessings,

Etan

All My Heart and All My Soul

Growing or free falling

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7/29/2015

Growing or free falling

Moses was a man who asked to be blotted out from God’s book if God didn’t forgive his brother’s and sister’s sins. He lived for his people and was prepared to die for his people.

And at the end of the leader’s journey, Moses desired greatly to enter the land. And he prayed for it hundreds of times.

It doesn’t happen.

That doesn’t make sense because Moses is a hero of the Torah, if not The Hero. What kind of message is that from God to us?

Kabbalistically, desire that is manifest loses its powers.

Moses’s hidden deep gift to us is the blessings we haven’t yet received – the desire for the blessings we haven’t yet received.

The gift that Moses received for all of his prayers was the gift of pain from lack, and the gift of desire.

Moses’s gift to us, which we can connect to this Shabbat, is unfulfilled desire.

The greatest desire is unfulfilled desire as it assures that we will never be disconnected from the light of the Source.

How much pain am I experiencing right now about my lack of spiritual connection, wisdom and growth?

My connection is proportionate to the pain I feel from the lack of that connection.

I am growing or free falling.

So Moses’s constant prayers and desires manifested into the greatest possible gift to him and to us.

The gift of experiencing purpose in desire.

Understanding the deeper need for lack.

It is taught that every prayer cast and desire summoned is heard from the Source and accumulates and creates more light around us. The wise will not judge life’s circumstances and physical outcomes until they explore the hidden and more significant blessings contained.

Blessings,

Etan

Growing or free falling

Pre Shabbat Gift from a Brother |The Cure for Removing the Heaviness in life

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7/24/2015

Pre Shabbat Gift from a Brother |The Cure for Removing the Heaviness in life

My holy brother in Jerusalem, Rav Dror,  just shared a most powerful gift inspired by a gift he received from his Rav, Shalom Arush.

He also gave me a monster shout out (video below) which was a gift in of itself – and just lifted me to shamayim listening to it.

When a person forgets about the Source, at that moment he creates a husk around him.

A husk around him is a barrier, a curtain which blocks off his perception of the Source. So the world becomes more dark and fuzzy.

There is a cure for this condition – this condition of darkness and fuzziness.

The cure is called Teshuva.

Teshuva means to repair, to return to reality – to our true nature –  back to being able to see the Source of reality in your life.

Our destructive thoughts, actions and intentions create husks around this perception. It causes the Source to retract further from us. And life can seem darker.

And there’s a lot of space in this physical world with all the planets, stars and galaxies – and that’s just this world. Spiritually, there are worlds upon worlds beyond our world. So the Source has a lot of room to retract from our limited perception.

We want to see the Source at all times.

Doing teshuva is not connected to being religious – a person doesn’t have to be religious to do teshuva.

It’s a spiritual thing.

It just brings back the Source into your life. Increased clarity and purpose – perception of the blessings.

Here is how it works: It’s an apology that you forgot the Source in a situation – that you were arrogant enough to think that you can operate without Him. So you feel regret and confess – you can’t communicate without talking – and then accept upon yourself for the future that you don’t want to forget the Source anymore – and will do what you can to make sure you don’t.

This must be done in an honorable way. And this brings back the light of the Source into the dark areas that you left Him out of – and it removes the husks.

You remove all the burden and suffering and fears and anxieties and sadnesses that are coming for only one reason – that the Source is not there.

By doing teshuva you come back to complete faith.

Why is a person so sad and angry and filled with anxiety? Because of past destructive actions.

You want to fix it? Do teshuva.

How? Talk with the Source and bring Him back into your life.

Life gets heavy from our past destructive thoughts and actions and intentions. Teshuva removes the weight.

Shabbat Shalom.

Blessings,

Etan

Pre Shabbat Gift from a Brother |The Cure for Removing the Heaviness in life

Jacob’s Angel | Fighting for a Dwelling Place for God

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7/23/2015

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.

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Blessings,

Etan

Jacob’s Angel | Fighting for a Dwelling Place for God