Friday, May 24, 2013

A Riddle
2 People have a million dollars, but only one of them is a millionaire?

Shoshie's last Parsha of her life was "Kedoshim" (Holy)

The Torah portion starts out "You shall be holy because I am Holy"
Emulating God is what our life is all about. The Vilna Gaon teaches us that the purpose of our lives is to refine our character traits.

In truth, we are souls ( a soul is a breath of God inside us that is an exact replica of God's essence) which unto itself has a mandate of transforming the it's own (the soul)deepest yearnings and inspirations (to be like God - refine our character traits; loving, mercy, compassionate, good, giving etc) into a form of actualization. Something that through our choices (in this world -every day life) of identifying and choosing with our souls to give, to love, we create an intrinsic identity that we call character. Our life is about self creation. Jewish spirituality and the point of life is not just to experience the transcendental; to experience the sun..... it is to become, make part of our intrinsic identity the beauty of the sun. We become the sun. It is not enough to be inspired and year for love, our mandate is to become love. How do we do that? Only through a concrete loving action. As our entire Torah is embodied on the precept of "Love your neighbor as yourself" - Become a lover, become a giver, become good.....this is what I refer to as building "soul muscles" - It is not enough that you were bequeathed a holy, pure soul. Oh wow you've got a holy soul what.. in a way... it is just like inheriting a million dollars.....same thing-in some way big deal.

In fact i have a riddle. 2 people have a million dollars in their pocket but only one of them is a millionaire. What is the answer to this riddle? it will tell us so much about life. One of then inherited a million dollars, and the others one earned a million dollars. If they both lost a million dollars who would be able to make it back? Only the person who earned the million dollars. He is intrinsically a millionaire whether he has the money in his pocket or not. He has developed himself, his character into someone who has the sticktutiveness, discipline and perseverance to do what it takes to make a million dollars. On the other hand the one who inherited a million dollars, the money was entirely external to who he is. He has a million dollars in his pocket but its incidental to who he is-intrinsically.

Only through the world of action (The Mitzvot) do we have the ability to transform ourselves intrinsically into people of great substance - again, it's not about experiencing love, it's becoming a lover through loving actions, it's not enough to just do loving actions, your goal is to experience love in the deepest level of actualizing your true intrinsic nature until you embody love in all you do and who you are. (even when not involved in a loving action) In this way, if you were able to follow many convoluted thoughts; Jewish spirituality, Mitzvot and personal development and growth are all really the same thing.

How to choose with the dictates,inspirations and yearnings of your soul is a whole topic unto itself that I would like to write about, as well as the overwhelmingly difficult price tag one has to face and pay to be able to choose with their soul.
I'll tease this idea and then finish with a thought about Holiness -the ultimate fulfillment of "being like God" .

What is the opposite of pain? ................Did you intuitively and naturally say "pleasure"? It is most people's gut reaction unless you thought about it before and came to a different conclusion.
The opposite of pain is ........... what? tell me!

How to refine ourselves through our actions in this world, where the world has an amazing strength to enwrap it's tentacles around us an engulf us into an entirely physical realm. After all we have constant legitimate physical needs that cause us to seek and pay for: shelter, food, physical intimacy, clothing, etc - constant -who has time left over?

Here's a thought about Holiness -remember be holy just as I am holy. Just like God is omnipotent and separate from the world, is nevertheless not divorced from it at any moment or in any thing, and he is to found through and through every molecule of this world - - - so too it is our task to emulate Hashem in the same fashion. To be a holy nation but not to divorce ourselves in the world. Rather we must exert ourselves in all areas of life but caution; we must be able not to be pulled in and dragged in by the world's physicality, materialism and false notions of never having enough. How can we attain that level when we have lusts, desires etc? How is possible to engage in physical pleasures and yet have a certain separateness from them? (you use them for spiritual goals as opposed to they use you, and usurp what you are living for in this world? (Y. Nachshoni)

It is for this reason the Torah adds "for I am Hashem your God am holy" - Hashem will help us! We must engage in life to the extent we can -this is our mandate (it is another religion that venerates no physical relations for it's paradigm of holiness-thank god that is not our religion) - it's another religion that says a holy person doesn't drink, the highest calling is to be on a mountain in the Himalayas, a monastery or a convent .

As mentioned before, it is only through being part of this world, in the world of action that we can accomplish our purpose in life. But don't be too over confident - we live in a physical world -it looks all real to us, we have legitimate needs and like all things-it becomes an end unto itself.

As the Torah says "don't look at the jug rather what is in it" - we all get stuck at that jug. Always seeing the external dimension, the material side, the physicality ( the million dollars in the pocket as said before -the one who inherited it) - Go beyond the jug and see the truth and reality that we all strive to see.

Good Shabbos

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