Acceptable Norms & A Vision of Oneness

After each and every General Election, and during the intervening years, we need to let our elected officials know what norms or standards we will accept and won’t accept.

We look to our Jewish tradition for these values and boundaries. Remember, we are all connected: “When Adam was first created, he was pure. His purpose was to raise the system of worlds – Assiyah, Yetzirah, and Briah — to their highest root in Atzilut, and ultimately into Adam Kadmon, which serves as a bridge to the infinite Ayn Sof. But instead of drawing the transcendent light of the Ayn Sof into these worlds, Adam chose to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Before disobeying God, Adam and Eve lived in a world where everything was one. All the worlds were one. All the animals, Adam, Eve, God were connected. But after eating from the Tree, Adam and Eve embraced a duality of birth and death, good and evil, light and darkness, happiness and sadness. This disconnected them from the Creator, with the result that the soul of Adam HaRishon was disconnected from the Spiritual world and shattered into many fragments, called individual souls. The Kabbalists call this ‘the breaking of the soul of Adam HaRishon.’ The soul fragmented into 600,00 root souls, which broke down into six billion individual souls.

To succeed in our work, we need to recover our Vision. We need to see again that the 600,00 root souls in the Universe are spiritually connected. We need to see that each of the millions of cells that comprise a root soul has its own mission and service to perform for the Creator and must come into a life all its own.

Each of us has long been a piece in a shattered puzzle that was once a single common soul. Now it is time for correction, tikkun, to regroup, reintegrate the pieces. This is the function of our world in this time, according to teachings of Kabbalah.” — Healing With God’s Love, Rabbi Douglas Goldhamer, PhD, DD, with Peggy Bagley

Be Brave and Balanced

 

From the Pen of Hebrew Seminary Executive Director Alison C. Brown

20 May, 9 Iyar marks 28 days of Counting the Omer. Tonight we reflect upon ourselves through the lens of Malchut sheb’Netzach. Malchut is the Sefirah that corresponds to our completeness in the physical realm and the Shechinah, the divine within, our source of spiritual strength. With the holographic augmentation of Netzach we reflect tonight upon our “capacity to stand up for what is right and just,” writes Rabbi Rami Shapiro.

Our election cycle offers examples of how to stand up for what is right and just. A female Senator bravely tweeted this week, “Your policies are dangerous. Your words are reckless.” While we count the Omer, we look honestly within about our policies, our attitude, our work, and our words. When we look at our thoughts and our choices honestly and with integrity it makes it possible to also critically follow the election news.

Don’t believe me.

Don’t believe everything you hear and read.

Bring clear eyes and a full heart to your day, your reflections and the election cycle.

We seek balance during these 49 days of the Omer. On Passover, we left Egypt inexperienced with freedom. We have 49 days to get accustomed to this freedom and learn to use it wisely. On the 50th day we once again receive the Torah. As we count the Omer each year and look within for our true selves, we clarify and refine our Sefirot, our transformers of God’s energy.

My husband and I have been easing our twin seniors into more freedoms this year; even so, they will be unaccustomed to the freedoms of college. I recently discovered that one of my favorite writers, George Saunders gave a commencement speech a couple of years ago. He half-jested that we are born with built-in confusions, such as the belief that our personal story is the only story and that we’re separate from the universe. “There’s us and then, out there, all that other junk – dogs and swing sets and the state of Nebraska and low-hanging clouds and, you know, other people.” We intellectually know better than to really believe these things, Saunders writes, but we live by them. We prioritize our own needs first.

In America we are free. We are free to meet our needs. Some are louder about this than others; some have no voice at all. Many of us are somewhere in the middle stages of our life of freedom. We manage to meet our needs and we have enough comforts that we can factor the needs of others into our priorities. Some of us are brave, both within and without our means, because we know that inner balance is found through kindness and love.

Go ahead, be ambitious Saunders told the graduates, “but as you do, to the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindness. Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial.”

Take stock of yourself in these days of freedom. The Source of all is nudging you to be balanced and brave.

 

Parts I through IV of this Omer series are posted on the HS Facebook Page.