Posted on Sep 15, 2018 | 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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