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

jacobs-angel

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.

jacob

Blessings,

Etan

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

Tish’a B’Av | Transforming Void into Vision

tisha baav

7/22/2015

Tish’a B’Av | Transforming Void into Vision

“And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, but the people with me did not see it; yet a great terror befell them, and they fled into hiding. (Daniel 10:7)

What does the destruction of temples and other historical tragedies mean to me – and how am I supposed to mourn over them when I have my own problems to deal with?

It’s hard enough to mourn over current events with all the distractions I face.

I thought the past and future don’t exist – and that focusing on them just brings me out of the present.

How is mourning over ancient history being in the NOW?

Kabbalistically, It is taught that the day of destruction – the 9th of Av – is potentially the day of the most light of the year – and that our job is to transform all negativity in us to light.

What’s the primary reason for the destruction of the temples?

Hatred for no reason.

What is hatred for no reason?

The Zohar teaches that it all stems from a feeling of void and lack.

Lack means an area in me I don’t feel balance – I feel insecure, unclear on my vision for tomorrow – an area of vulnerability, that when people touch, it triggers emptiness, void, lack and weakness. All areas of insecurity, of me not being enough – that triggers the void and emptiness, and when that gets triggered our natural tendency is to react with hate, judgement, revenge and jealousy. If someone hits this area it triggers it – a point of emptiness within is set off.

Hatred for no reason stems from not knowing how to deal with my void and emptiness – and the natural thing is to try to compensate for all our areas of emptiness and pain. To fix it, remove it – every time our insecurity and wound is triggered, the belief system is I have emptiness. A void. When that’s touched I feel as if  I am going down – free falling. Void.

That’s the consciousness. I am going down. And when I believe I’m going down the natural feeling is to fill myself up with hate – the most powerful energy to compensate the belief system of I’m going down – anger, bad intention, intolerance – hurting others. Hate. My insecurities makes me feel I’m alone and empty and not enough and never will achieve it.

So how do I face that void and resist all my impulses – to find the light and act with human dignity in the midst of feeling disconnected and void?

That’s Tish’a B’Av– at that moment of feeling I’m going down – to shift my consciousness in a radical way – the ability to face that void and find the light there.

When that familiar void from childhood is struck – that same void of feeling unworthy, abandoned, not enough – it triggers the same negative desires about us towards others.

There are nations who out of a deep rooted jealousy react to their feelings with hate and rage. When they see another nation succeeding and sticking together this triggers their own deep rooted collective void and they respond with acts of hatred and destruction – war plans – to bring another people down to feel better about themselves.

We can treat our friends the same way – happy for their failure so we rise in contrast to them – happy for their downfall because that makes us appear higher. Secretly rooting against them so they need us and give us more attention – making our situation seem less bleak – making us the savior. Those who are suffering in their own void love company. When others around us are higher we can appear lower to ourselves. This is baseless hatred because it evolves from our void. An illusion. The other side. And this is what causes the worst destruction.

What’s that void in you? Think of it now. When you are judged, embarrassed, failed again at something – that triggers your void.

This coming Shabbat is called Shabbat Chazon. Chazon means vision. We are about to experience a day of destruction and yet it’s called vision – a vision of final redemption.

What do we lose if we have intolerance and judgement and lack care toward others?

When I’m in emptiness I lost my vision – I don’t see how things will be better – I don’t feel I’m going through a process. In order to transform destruction to light I need to connect to and feel the vision. The ultimate vision is Moshiach, peace on earth – unity – reaching my potential.

The reason I can’t resist my negativity is because I have no vision. I see myself as separate from others. I’m going down so I wanna bring others down with me. It’s ok to experience darkness – that’s normal – but to not believe it’s possible to overcome; that’s what makes us vulnerable – a lack of vision.

Real criticism will trigger my void. Real positive constructive criticism will trigger that void – but hopefully I’ll have the strength to embrace it with love even though my ego is bruised – I trust the vision of good will be opened by this.

It’s very easy to say “I’m not contributing any negativity in the world” – the real test is when your insecurities are triggered. We want to steal the light from the dark side and can only do this when the void of our insecurities are triggered. That sets the stage for the opportunity for us to restrict from hatred and connect to higher vision.

Replace it with consciousness of vision.

Tish’a B’Av is the seed of all negativity. Our biggest fear. We need to get deeper to access the light. We want to begin to trigger light and vision in our void.

This is the transformation of Tish’a B’Av.

We need to experience the void, resist reaction with destructive hate, and find the way to feel the light, the certainty – the vision of good within. Then I can handle it. And not fall into baseless hatred.

Moshiach

Blessings,

Etan

Tish’a B’Av | Transforming Void into Vision