Days of Awe – Day 9

Posted by on Sep 17, 2018 in All Posts, All Things Biblical, Days of Awe | 0 comments

One more day. Just one. That is all we have left Dear Friends.

Just a matter of hours, with a few odd bundles of minutes and seconds thrown in. These are all that stands between us and the time appointed for us to walk with our Creator through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

A measured number of heartbeats. A limited number of opportunities for showing kindness. A closing window of chances to attempt to reconcile shattered relationships. Only the most poignant prayers of t’shuvah remain available to us. And then we will be called forward, one by one, to review the meaning and quality of the life we have lived thus far, to consider the reality of the judgment we deserve, and to marvel again – we earnestly hope and tentatively trust – at the incomparable wonder of Divine mercy.

This ninth day of Awe is dedicated to the reconnection of our Awestruck Hearts to the deeper levels of meaning of the ninth prophetic empowerment of Sinai. The Holy One proclaimed over us, in the Hebrew tongue:


לֹֽא־תַעֲנֶה בְרֵעֲךָ עֵד שָֽׁקֶר
transliteration: Lo-ta’aneh vere’acha ed shaker
approximate translation: You will not declare a deceptive testimony
concerning your neighbor

The phrase ‘Lo ta’aneh vere’acha ed shaker’ is traditionally translated into English as ‘Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbor’. This, in turn, is often shortened in people’s minds to ‘Thou shalt not lie’.

Western mindsets thus seek to limit the application and meaning of the stunning lo ta’aneh . . . empowerment to a simple prohibition of intentionally declaring something one knows to be false. But the Hebrew verb anah, which lies at the root of this empowerment, is much broader and inclusive than either ‘bearing false witness’ or ‘lying’ connote.

Anah means to sing – i.e. to tell a story, create a mood, and influence the people around you, with not only carefully selected words but with an accompaniment of inflections of volume, pitch, and tone, as well as a corresponding display of emotions, facial expressions and body language.

Think of a singer performing an epic ballad on a stage. Everything the singer does on the stage – every movement, every gesture, every facial expression, every crescendo, every rest, every tone, every note – all are part of the presentation of the message of the song.

So it is with every human being. However well we carry a tune, or whether or not we enjoy musical accompaniment, we are all singers, and every sphere of influence we have been assigned is for us a stage. Our Wonderful Creator has gifted each of us with the precious gift of intelligent speech. This gift includes far more than just the capacity to formulate and pronounce words.

The gift of intelligent speech is actually a multi-faceted gift package. Along with the gift of intelligent words He has assigned us a wide variety of accessories to use in order to exercise the gift of intelligent speech in extremely powerful ways on behalf of Him and His Kingdom. We have also each been given an amazing story of hope, joy, and redemption to tell, assigned a series of spheres of influence, and empowered with unique ways to vocalize and express the elements of the story as and when and where and how He stirs them in our souls. The combination of the story of redemption, the spheres of influence assigned, and the methodology of expression forms the essence of our song.

The sole reason we have been given these precious gifts at such a time as this is to release that song.

We have not been given the precious gift of speech to declare the opinions formed in our fallen, fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil poisoned minds as to either the motives or the morality of other human beings.

We are not here at such a time as this to complain about the situations, circumstances, or people in our lives.

We are not here at such a time as this to tattle on, or to formulate, repeat, or nod in agreement with accusations against, our human neighbors – be they individual or corporate or governmental.

We are not given the gifts of life and speech to spout ideology, political philosophy, psychological, sociological or scientific theory. We are not here to spread religion, promulgate doctrine, or swear allegiance to creed.

We are here to sing the Creator’s song. We are here to use the gift of speech to tell the story of hope, of joy, and of redemption. We are here to speak of resolutions and restorations.

We are here to sing to the wells of potential in other human beings, not to rail against their mistakes of judgment and misbehaviors of flesh.

And so the most important question before us this day – before we step with our Creator into the Valley of the Shadow of Death – is ‘what have we been doing with the precious gifts of speech and communication?’.

Have we been singing the song of deliverance the Creator placed us here to sing – or have we been singing the Serpent’s song of negativity?

Have we been furthering the Serpent’s deception regarding any other human being?

Have we been speaking about any other human being’s motives or value to the world as if we had a clue what we were talking about?

Have we been giving our neighbor lip-service which our body language, facial expressions, emotions, and actions belie?

Have we been wasting precious time and influence talking about petty things, irritations, and aggravations that distract from and dilute the effectiveness of the grand song of redemption we are supposed to be releasing upon the earth?

Have we been misrepresenting ourselves as righteous?

Have we been criticizing and judging others as if that was our right, our responsibility, or our purpose?

Time is very, very short. The opportunity to sing the Creator’s song is fading quickly. All words and communications at this point are critical. Let us resolve to use the precious gift of speech and communication wisely, and only for the purposes for which it was given.

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Elul – Day 37

Posted by on Sep 16, 2018 in All Posts, Days of Awe, Elul | 0 comments

Tishrei 7

THE CYCLE OF FORGIVENESS

Yom Kippur, which is only three days away, is called the “Day of Forgiveness” because this is the day when Moses, after pleading with G-d for 80 days to forgive the Israelites for the Sin of the Golden Calf, finally succeeded.  On this day, G-d finally said to him: “I will forgive as you have asked.”

On Yom Kippur we seek to connect to the energy of this awesome day and win forgiveness for ourselves as well.  But we can hardly expect to be forgiven by G-d if we ourselves have not been willing to forgive others.

Forgiveness is not easy; it requires work. But, most importantly, it requires a connection to G-d, the Giver of Life .

The secret of being able to forgive others is to remember that G-d gave you life because you matter to Him—you have a vital and irreplaceable role to play in the perfection of His world.  When you remember that, you can have the strength to rise above the pain others have caused you and forgive both them and yourself.

The word for “forgiveness” in Hebrew, mechilah, is related to the word machol meaning “circle.” Life is meant to be a circle encompassing all our experiences and relationships in one harmonious, seamless whole. When someone hurts us the circle is broken. Forgiveness is the way we mend the fracture.

Forgiveness means not merely forgiving the person who hurt us, but forgiving ourselves, forgiving G-d, forgiving even life itself with all its bizarre and often cruel twists and turns.

When you forgive, the circle is again complete and you find yourself encompassed by the wholeness of G-d’s creation of which you are an integral part. And then you can have the confidence that this Yom Kippur you will hear G-d saying to you: “I will forgive as you have asked.”
 
Ask yourself: Whom have you hurt? Who has hurt you?

Exercise for the day:
– Make a list of those whom you must forgive.
– Make a list of those whom you must ask for forgiveness.
– Begin.

 

 

Excerpt from 60 Days: A Spiritual Guide to the High Holidays, by Simon Jacobson. ©Copyright The Meaningful Life Center, 2014. All rights reserved. www.meaningfullife.com.

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Days of Awe – Day 8

Posted by on Sep 16, 2018 in All Posts, All Things Biblical, Days of Awe | 0 comments

It is now Day 8 of the Days of Great Awe. This is the appointed time for our Awestruck Hearts to reconnect with the 8th of our Creator’s Prophetic Empowerments from Sinai. This one simply reads:

לֹא תִּגְנֹֽב
Transliteration: lo tignov
rough translation: you will not take for your own use and enjoyment any tangible or intangible thing not meant for or which has not been entrusted to you

The Hebrew phrase ‘Lo Tignov’ is traditionally translated into English James as ‘Thou shalt not steal’. English translations of the Bible limit the application and meaning of this empowerment to a prohibition of the crime of theft of property by appropriation. The Western mindset immediately thinks of this as applying only to persons caught purse-snatching, pick-pocketing, shoplifting, burgling, robbing, cattle-rustling, embezzling, or cyber-sleuthing. That kind of interpretation restricts the application of lo tignov to the taking of ‘stuff’.

But lo tignov is a Hebrew phrase, and cannot be limited like that just because the Western Mindset is all about ‘stuff’. Lo tignov not just about the unlawful taking of someone else’s personal property. It covers every appropriation of anything – tangible or intangible – that the Holy One has assigned to anyone else.

We are to be content with what we have – physically, emotionally, relationally, and socially. And we are to be content to let other people continue to enjoy without our interference or our judgment everything they have – physically, emotionally, relationally, and socially.

We are not to want or be jealous of what they have; nor are we to try to make them want or be jealous of what we or any other person has.

We are not to speak or act in a way that takes away any other human being’s dignity.

Unless invited, we are not to think, speak or act in a way that invades any person’s privacy or personal space. And even when we get an invitation, we are not to expand our invasion beyond the scope of the invitation we have received.

People are not here for us to use or manipulate. Without permission in advance:

– We are not to infringe upon any person’s liberty;

– We are not to impose on any persons’ time;

– We are not to push the limits of anybody’s generosity;

– We are not to test any person’s patience;

– We are not to demand any person’s attention or affection;

– We are not to try to manipulate any person’s affections;

– We are not to control any person’s life;

– We are not to exhaust any person’s energy.

At all times we are to take care not to appropriate, copy, or make fun of any other human being’s characteristics, mannerisms or identity.

We are not to speak or behave in a way that effectively takes from any person either the love, the respect, or the company of their spouse or betrothed, or their child, or their parent, or their friend.

And perhaps most importantly, we are not to speak or behave in a way that takes away, disrupts, or disturbs the peace of any person, any home, or any community. We are not to be agitators. We are not to be fear-mongers or hate-mongers. We are not to be slanderers. We are not to be discontent-spreaders.

The net of it all is this: We are not put on earth and given the breath of life at such a time as this to be TAKERS. We are put on earth and given the breath of life at such a time as this to be GIVERS. We are not here to be MANIPULATORS and USERS; we are here to be INSPIRERS and ENCOURAGERS.

So, on this 8th Day of Awe, as Yom Kippur draws very, very near, the question for the day is this: In the eyes of the Holy One, have you functioned primarily a TAKER, MANIPULATOR, and USER in life thus far? or have you functioned primarily as a GIVER, INSPIRER, and ENCOURAGER?

And in what areas would the Holy One want to reconnect you to the lo tignov empowerment in the coming year?

 

by Bill Bullock of Rabbi’s Son

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Days of Awe – Day 7

Posted by on Sep 15, 2018 in All Posts, All Things Biblical, Days of Awe, Feast Days | 0 comments

The sands of time are rushing through the great hourglass. The Seventh of the Ten Days of Awe is already upon us. The day of our annual appointed death-to-self consecration ceremony – Yom Kippur – is rapidly approaching.

Our focus on this seventh Day of Awe is the Seventh of the Prophetic Empowerment spoken over us by our Bridegroom-King at Sinai. That empowerment is short and sweet:

לֹא תִּנְאָֽף
transliteration: Lo tinaf
rough translation: You will not adulterate yourself

This empowerment is commonly translated from the Hebrew to English as ‘You will not commit adultery’. But the prophetic empowerments of our King were not conceived or spoken in the English language, but in the Hebrew tongue. And, as always, the Hebrew verbs used by the Holy One are so much deeper than the English verbs usually used to translate them could ever express.

The Hebrew verb is na’af. This verb’s scope and meaning go far deeper and further than engaging in an physical act of sexual intimacy outside a covenant of eternal ish/ishah oneness. Na’af means to adulterate one’s essence in any way. To adulterate is to weaken, dilute, or corrupt a person or thing by mixing, connecting, or uniting it with someone or some thing with which it is incompatible in essence or in purpose.

How do we mix with other people? First of all, we mix with other human beings through the operation of our organs of sight. The first glance at a person is usually a matter of chance; beyond that first innocent glance, however, what and who we look at is a matter of choice. Choosing to look at, stare at, make eye contact with, or fantasize about a person is to mix our destiny with theirs. It is to na’af with them.

We also mix our destiny with other human beings through conversation. This can include written or keyboard conversations as well as in person or telephonic or electronic conversations. The key factor is employing the organs of communication.

We also mix our destiny with other human beings through the mental process of association. We let our minds begin to think of ourselves in relationship with another person.

And of course we also mix our destiny with other human beings through our organs of physical contact. The more intimate the physical contact, the more ‘mixture’ takes place at every level – body, will, mind, emotions, spirit, essence, identity, mission, and destiny.

Here is an essential reality all human beings need to grasp: Mixing any two or more people always results in a change in both. It is like chemistry. In chemistry one finds that the mixture of some elements creates alloys that are stronger together than the components are apart, while the mixture of other elements results in anything from a process of chemical decomposition to a volatile explosion. So it is with the mixture of human beings. Mixing the will, the mind, the emotions, or the body also mixes the spirit, the essence, the mission, and the destiny of each person involved.

For a human being, to na’af [adulterate] means to weaken or destroy one’s essence by mixing it with someone [or even theoretically some thing] with which it is spiritually incompatible.

The Holy One has designed, formed and empowered each human being with a powerful, unique spiritual identity in order that we would be able to accomplish our mission of spreading the majesty and goodness of His Kingdom throughout the spheres of influence He has established for us on this planet. We have an assigned course. We have our orders, and we have our assigned areas of responsibility. With that come ‘no fly’ zones. In order to accomplish the mission as it is designed for us we have to learn to eschew the toxic diversions of the eye, the toxic distractions of the mind,and every level of toxic admixture of the flesh.

Keep your eyes focused on the true and eternal prize and all Divinely assigned targets, goals, and milestones along the way.

Keep your mind focused on the Divinely assigned mission.

Physical members engaged in Divinely assigned tasks.

Stay true to your identity. And stay on course for your destiny.

Lo tinaf.

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Elul – Day 36

Posted by on Sep 15, 2018 in All Posts, Days of Awe, Elul | 0 comments

APPROACHING THE SOURCE

We have now reached the midpoint of the Ten Days of Teshuvah. This is the period, say the sages of the Talmud, of which the Prophet Isaiah (55:6) speaks when he proclaims: “Seek G-d when He is to be found; call on Him when He is near.”

This might seem like an odd statement because we are taught that G-d is omnipresent at all times and all places in the world. How could we say that now He is closer to us?

But Isaiah is not speaking from G-d’s perspective but from the soul’s perspective. Chassidic teachings explain that this special time of the year is compared to the “source drawing near to the spark.” The “source” is G-d; the “spark” is each of our souls, which is called “the flame of G-d.”

All year round the “source” is spiritually “distant,” i.e. concealed, from the “spark.” In the early days of Av the “source” is at its “farthest” (most concealed) point; so far away that the spark can hardly sense its connection to the mother flame. In Elul—when Moses begins his final climb—the “source” begins to draw nearer, become more revealed. On each progressive day of Elul the “source” draws closer and closer to the “spark.” The closest point is on Yom Kippur, specifically during Neilah (“Locking of the Gates”), the final prayer at sundown.

Thus, the Ten Days of Teshuvah represent a type of “coming home” experience.

When the source gets closer to the spark, the spark begins to feel the warmth and it is drawn toward the larger, mother flame. It’s like when you put your hand closer to a flame, you start feeling the warmth.

This is the reason that in these Ten Days of Teshuvah there is more consciousness of G-d among Jews, even those that are not familiar with the meaning of the High Holidays.

Ask yourself: Are you feeling the warmth of the mother flame—the warmth of G-d’as the time draws closer to Yom Kippur. If not, why not?

Exercise for the day:

– Meditate on the verse from the Proverbs (20:27): “The flame of G-d is the soul of the human being.”
– Identify some aspect(s) of your life that reflects the tug of your soul to its source.

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Elul Day 35

Posted by on Sep 14, 2018 in All Posts, Days of Awe, Elul | 0 comments

Tishrei 5
THE PERSONAL HOLY OF HOLIES

Before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, the pinnacle of the Yom Kippur service was the moment when the High Priest (the Kohen Gadol) would enter the Holy of Holies.

This was the only time of the year that anyone could enter this holiest of inner sanctums and only the High Priest was permitted to do so and only for a short duration.

It was such an intense moment that if the High Priest was not completely pure—if he had committed even one transgression for which had had not previously atoned—he would die immediately.

This was because the Holy of Holies was a place so pure that even one blemish was intolerable. An eye cannot tolerate even one small eyelash, because it is so sensitive. And the Holy of Holies was the most sensitive, purest place in existence.

If he died, the other kohanim would have to pull his body out by a rope that had been previously attached to him. But if he succeeded in his mission to obtain G-d’s forgiveness for the Jewish people, he emerged radiating a special glow that is vividly described in Yom Kippur prayers.

Today we have no High Priest and no Temple. But the Holy of Holies still exists—in the depths of our own soul. On Yom Kippur we attempt to reach that purest part of our selves and to connect with G-d there.

We might not be able to stay in that pure place for a long time. It might only be a few minutes. But, as we know, the most special experiences last only a moment. We prepare for these most special times for hours, years, and even decades, and the effort of the preparation is well worth that split second they last.

Ask yourself: Have you prepared sufficiently for Yom Kippur to be able to make the most of the experience?
Exercise for the day:

Begin reviewing the Yom Kippur prayers in order to connect fully with the words when the time comes to enter your personal Holy of Holies.

Excerpt from 60 Days: A Spiritual Guide to the High Holidays, by Simon Jacobson. ©Copyright The Meaningful Life Center, 2014. All rights reserved. www.meaningfullife.com.

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10 Days of Awe – Day 6

Posted by on Sep 14, 2018 in All Posts, All Things Biblical | 0 comments

The Days of Awe have reached their midpoint. There are only five of them left. Five evenings. Five mornings. Five days.

This sixth Day of Awe is dedicated to reconnecting the Awestruck Heart with the sixth Prophetic Empowerment of our Bridegroom King. This empowerment is usually translated from the Hebrew to English as ‘You will not kill’ or ‘You will not commit murder’.

But the prophetic empowerment was not given in English. It was given in Hebrew, and the Hebrew verb used by the Holy One is so much deeper than the English verbs ‘kill’ or ‘murder’ could ever express.

The actual words of empowerment used by the Creator of the Universe were:

לֹא תִּרְצָֽח’
You will not dash into pieces/break/shatter

We are empowered by the Creator’s Breath and Words to act on earth at all times as His agents, ambassadors, and carriers of His Kingdom. That means we are to walk in, carry, exude, and spread, LIFE, WHOLENESS, WELLNESS, and SHALOM.

What an awesome privilege. What an amazing calling. What a glorious mission. To break people or things in pieces – to wound, or fracture, or fragment them, or cause them to enter the realm of death or that which leads or pertains to it – whether with negative or judgmental attitudes, with cutting words of accusation, slander, or disapproval, or with physical aggression – is completely inconsistent with our calling and mission. By His ‘Lo Titzach’ Empowerment, we are provided with all we need to keep from doing such things.

There is, of course, another kingdom on earth. The agenda of that other kingdom is the mirror image of the Holy One’s agenda. While we are called, commissioned and empowered to walk in, carry, exude, and spread LIFE, WHOLENESS, WELLNESS, and SHALOM, those who surrender their thoughts, attitudes, speech, and actions to the agenda of the other kingdom walk in, carry, exude, and spread the opposite of such things – promoting DEATH instead of life, FRAGMENTATION instead of wholeness, DISEASE instead of wellness, and STRESS instead of shalom.

So, it is time to consider ourselves. Of which kingdom are we?

Do we focus our thoughts, emotions, speech, and conduct on the things that pertain to life, and wholeness [in ourselves and others], wellness [in ourselves and others] – or are we like bulls in a china shop, breaking things and wounding people everywhere we turn?

In the Sermon on the Mount Yeshua taught that lo titzach means much, much more than ‘do not commit murder’. Matthew 5:22. It had been so from the beginning; it will be until the end. Lo Tirtzach is a forever empowerment.

As Yeshua plainly taught, lo tirtzach means it is inconsistent with our redeemed identities and mission as His agents of LIFE, WHOLENESS, WELLNESS and SHALOM to break or wound or cause fragmentation or confusion in other people in any of three ways:

1. exhibiting angry attitudes toward them [Yeshua called it ‘being angry with your brother’, or
2.expressing negative opinions toward them or applying negative labels to them [example: saying to our brother ‘Raca’], or
3. making, believing, or repeating accusations or critical judgments toward them [example: saying ‘You Fool!’]

All the world gets this, it seems, except us. The world fully understands ‘looks that kill’, the ‘cutting tongue’, and ‘words that maim’. Until we take responsibility for our thoughts, our facial expressions and body language, our words, and our behavior toward others – surrendering all of them to the Holy One’s ‘lo tirtzcach’ empowerment and the Breath of Life, Wholeness, Wellness, and Shalom He placed in us – we will continue behaving like bulls in a china shop.

Our spouses will continue to be dashed into pieces by our negative attitudes, opinions, snide comments, opinions, accusations, and criticisms.

Our children will continue to be shattered internally by our anger, our disapproval, our harsh words, and our destructive labels.

Our interactions in the marketplace will continue to bear the stench of death and fragmentation.

Our homes will continue to be urban combat zones, where people get wounded and learn to wound others just to survive, instead of the oases of shalom they are supposed to be.

Beloved, these things ought not be so. We have been given the precious gifts of LIFE, WHOLENESS, WELLNESS, and SHALOM to pass on to others. Our attitudes, opinions, thoughts, nonverbal communications, words, and behaviors must not be allowed to spread death, woundedness, and toxicity. That is the work of the other kingdom – and there is more than enough of it in the world already.

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Elul – Day 34

Posted by on Sep 13, 2018 in All Posts, Elul | 0 comments

RETURNING TO PURE ESSENCE

In our earlier exploration of the meaning of teshuvah (see Elul 18), we defined teshuvah as having two levels—repentance and return:
Repentance means regretting a wrongful action, resolving not to repeat it, asking forgiveness, making amends.
Return means coming back to one’s soul, one’s Divine essence, to one’s source in G-d.
The first level—which is what we should have been working on during the month of Elul—is only the means to achieve the second, which is our focus now, during the Ten Days of Teshuvah.

During these special days, we should be working to return to the quintessential self that we really are. Teshuvah (which literally means “return”) implies that there is a part of us that is always healthy and good and pure, as we say in the morning prayer, “The soul that You gave me is pure…” And no matter what damage had been done to us in life—to our sense of self, to our personal dignity—no matter what damage we ourselves have done, we can always return to the soul that remains undamaged, intact, pure.

The great 16th century Kabbalist Rabbi Moshe Cordevero of Safed, better known as Ramak, suggests that the best way to return to our pure essence is to isolate ourselves for a period of time each day during the Ten Days of Teshuvah in order to meditate on the Ten Sefirot, which he calls the “Gates of Teshuvah.”  In this way it is possible to enter a different “gate” each day, thereby connecting the soul with its root in a given sefirah, each of which serves as a channel for Divine energy into creation and, of course into the soul.

Ask yourself: How much do you want to connect with the purest, holiest part of yourself?  Are you willing to invest the effort and the time to make this possible?

Exercise for the day:

– Review the Ramak’s and the Ari’s correspondences listed on the calendar pages for each day of the Ten Days of Teshuvah.
– Meditate today on the sefirah of netzach (“endurance”). In doing so, assess your level of endurance and your ambition. Is it being used for the proper things?
 

Excerpt from 60 Days: A Spiritual Guide to the High Holidays, by Simon Jacobson. ©Copyright The Meaningful Life Center, 2014. All rights reserved.

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10 Days of Awe – Day 5

Posted by on Sep 13, 2018 in All Posts, All Things Biblical, Days of Awe | 0 comments

It is Day Five of the Awesome Days of the Creator. Today we are called to reconnect with the rhythms and deeper meanings of the Holy One’s Fifth Prophetic Empowerment, which is:

כַּבֵּד אֶת־אָבִיךָ וְאֶת־אִמֶּךָ
[Honor your father and your mother . . . ]

The operative Hebrew verb in this prophetic empowerment is כַּבֵּד [transliterated as ‘kabad’]. Our English Bibles translate it as ‘honor’. To כַּבֵּד is to assign value, and/or accord significance, respect, or esteem to someone. It means to think highly of and to speak and act respectfully toward someone or some thing – to increase the esteem and value the person or thing is held in our own eyes and the eyes of others.

Each of us is empowered by the Breath of our Creator to see and relate to every other human being in a positive and uplifting way. The ingestion of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, however, has reprogrammed us to condition a positive approach to and speech and behavior toward people upon our perception of whether they are, from the dysfunctional perspective of our fallen human minds and corrupted fleshly desires, ‘good’ or ‘evil’. Therefore, if a person does not do – especially in relation to us – what our fallen human minds or our corrupted fleshly desires consider as ‘good’ [which in our fallen state of perspective really just means in accordance with what we think is morally right or what our selfish appetites crave], we withhold kabad. Our fallen minds substitute disapproval for kabad. Our deceived tongues substitute sarcasm and criticism for kabad. And our self-obsessed wills substitute disrespect and rebellion for kabad.

The first and greatest Divinely-designed crucible for return to a kavad-ing lifestyle is the realm of our thoughts about and our conversations and interactions with and involving two very significant people in our lives. One is our father. The second is our mother.

If we cannot kavad our father and our mother – whether or not they speak or behave in ways that we think are ‘good’ in relation to us – we will never truly – or for long – be able to effectively kavad anyone.

We will instead always look for and find fault.

We will always condition approval and positive interaction upon whether other people say and do things that we want them to or think they should.

And that will bring death to ourselves, and to everyone and every thing we touch.

The Holy One esteems all men. He does not condition His care or His esteem upon any behavior. This is a big part of His attribute of Holiness. And He gives to each of us the crucible of relationship with fathers and mothers in order to enable us to overcome the after-effects of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and return to the state of being holy as He is holy.

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Elul Day 33

Posted by on Sep 12, 2018 in All Posts, Days of Awe, Elul | 0 comments

REBUILDING THE KINGDOM

Today begins the countdown to Yom Kippur.  Today is the third day of the Ten Days of Teshuvah, which will culminate on this most awesome of days. This is possibly the most intense time in the Hebrew calendar when each individual is granted the power of a group of ten.

We are vested with this power because in these ten days, having crowned G-d as our King, we now undertake the task of rebuilding His kingdom—both in the spiritual realm “above” and in our world “below”—known in the language of Kabbalah as Binyan HaMalchut.

Malchut (“kingship”) refers to the tenth of the Ten Sefirot, the ten spheres or channels of Divine energy with which G-d created the world and which flow through every aspect of reality including our own souls.  This means that to rebuildmalchut we must rebuild ourselves—our own nobility, our own dignity, that very aspect of ourselves which was created in the image of G-d. By building our own malchut, we help rebuild G-d’s malchut in the universe.

We know our malchut is in need of rebuilding when we feel afraid and insecure, because our personal sense of security and insecurity in life depends on it.

When children are raised in dysfunctional homes where their dignity is trampled upon, their malchut is eroded. They can grow up to be adults with great minds and great hearts, but they are insecure adults who lack the courage for the suspension of self that is necessary to truly grow, because they feel they must fight for whatever scrap of dignity they can grab.

So the rebuilding of malchut in effect means the building of dignity, majesty, and security in a world that’s very insecure. And we are given special power during these ten days to do it. It is not as hard as we might imagine because to build it all we need do is access the place in ourselves that was never wounded in the first place—the place of our Divine soul.

Ask yourself: Do you generally feel secure or insecure in life? Are you someone whose malchut has been eroded by life experiences?

Exercise for the day:

– Describe the part of yourself that was never wounded—your Divine soul.
– Do something Divine today, something that makes you proud and  builds your malchut, your dignity.

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