Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Reflecting on pain and weakness

Immediately after posting my commentary on last week's parshah (July 15), I underwent a quadruple by-pass operation at Rambam hospital in Haifa. Everything happened very, very fast and this I should consider a blessing, though I had plenty of "slow" time to reflect on the whole experience. The main reflection came out of the overwhelming weakness as a result of the operation. It is in this weakness that I truly grasped some of the principles of Judaism that we think we understand but actually not as we must.

In weakness we realize that strength is what keeps us alive, and not in helplessness or lack. Weakness became for me the catalyst to realize that the vessel that I am was almost empty, and therefore I started thinking about who created the vessel, how it is filled, and with what it is filled. Reflecting on this made me experience, not only in my own flesh but also in all levels of conscio
usness, that I was an illusion created by an illusion of myself. No matter how much I have intended or tried to approach who created me, I do it amid the illusion that separates me from Him.

It was more about weakness than about pain. As excruciating as it might be, pain shakes us up; but it is the absence of strength what makes us realize that life and all Creation are sustained by our Creator and none else. In this I am including all dimensions and levels of consciousness: nothing is the result of our creation, but His. The reflection was not necessarily leading to anything in partirticular but to the realization that only G-d is. This realization encompasses all possible ethical approaches to life and Creation, including the awareness of humbleness that leads us to accept His will, the One that is. This whole reflection was amazingly matched by an e-mail that I received after the operation from my Rabbi in Chicago, where I lived before I made aliyah, which I feel compelled to share with you:

Dear Ariel,

It is written in Job: "My thoughts are not your thoughts and My ways are not your ways." Ultimately the religious individual accepts the reality that we are the created and He is the Creator. We are finite and He is infinite. We live in our time, He knows time from the beginning to the end. We must accept that as Moses did, we are the revering, the servant of G-d. I have faced death in my own life. I underwent an operation the doctors thought I would not survive. My children were told to inform my greater family that I would not survive. I vividly recall being wheeled to the operating room. I was serene. I placed myself in G-d's hands and simply relaxed. G-d, THE GOOD, would determine my destiny.

Judaism requires we live as if there were no G-d. We must direct our lives and not simply pray for Divine intervention. Yet, there are times during which we have done our level best. There is nothing else we can do. In those times we fall back into the loving hands of G-d, knowing He will do with us as He sees fit according to His timeless plan for Creation.
Ariel, relax. G-d in His wisdom will determine your future. "The L-rd is my shepherd I shall not want." It is true, I know it in my heart and soul. Let the Shepherd care for you in His way.

Refuah Shlema.

Rabbi Phil Lefkowitz

As the Rabbi said it, we are our Creator's invention and not our own. And our lives, either in weakness or in strength, are in His loving hands.

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From the Book's Foreword

Let's reexamine our ancestral memory, intellect, feelings, emotions and passions. Let's wake them up to our true Essence. Let us engage in the delightful awareness of Love as the Essence of G-d. The way this book is written is to reaffirm and reiterate its purpose, so it presents its message and content in a recurrent way. This is exactly its purpose, to restate the same Truth originally proclaimed by our Holy Scriptures, Prophets and Sages. Our purpose is to firmly enthrone G-d's Love in all dimensions of our consciousness, and by doing it we will fulfill His Promise that He may dwell with us on Earth forever. Let's discover together the hidden message of our ancient Scriptures and Sages. In that journey, let's realize Love as our Divine Essence, what we call in this book the revealed Light of Redemption in the Messianic era.