How do we become the person we want to be?
For a person to emulate his Creator, he must possess several qualities, which characterize the way G-d Conducts the world: Tomer Devorah Rabbi Moshe Cordovero ch.2
Tomer Devorah is the how-to manual to recognize HaShem; His Kindness, Compassion and Love for us. It teaches how to emulate His Ways.
The attributes of the head, the mind, the soul...
Through using our spiritual body language, literally using our head to improve our behavior we are able to emulate our Creator. Take a moment to think about it. Each one of us has this ability and the opportunity to become like our Creator. It's incredible to realize that we have the potential to behave on such a high level. It takes work and training to improve our old ways, but it is possible!
If we contemplate what Tomer Devorah says we will realize that we can emulate the Holy Behavior of HaShem. This provides an incentive when we feel the goal is out of reach. This is mussar character trait improvement at it's finest.
Below is what Tomer Devorah has to say about Keter (about our head).
1.We must be humble (anavah)
2.Our thoughts (chokmah) should emulate the thought process of keter.
3.Our forehead (metzach) should display no harshness. The forehead shows expression.
4.Our ears (Ozen) should always turn to hear good while falsehood or despicable things should be denied entry.
5.Our eyes (Ayin) should not gaze at anything despicable.
6.Our nose (Chotem) we should always remember that HaShem is constantly Breathing into us a living soul. Nary a breath of anger should ever be found in our nose.
7.Our face (Panim) should always shine, and we should receive all with a cheerful countenance.
8.Our mouth (Peh) should express nothing but good and the content of our words should be Torah and constant good will. Tomer Devorah Rabbi Moshe Cordovero ch.2
Simchah (joy) is a bulldozer that can break through barriers, but depression can lead
to apathetic paralysis.
The Key To Kabbalah book one Rabbi Nissan Dovid Dubov page 155
Let all those who put their trust in You rejoice; let them always shout for joy, because You defend them; let those who love Your Name be joyful in You. Tehillim 5.12
Let's take a look at Sarah for a moment...
The root is Shem, Resh, Hey. This means according to Yaacov's encounter with the Angel to strive with G-d and man and to prevail. Bereisheit (Genesis) 32.29. Etymological Dictionary of Biblical Hebrew Matityahy Clark page 280 Her name would suggest a person with great strength of will who struggled against societal constraints. Both Sarah and Yaacov had difficult relationships with both G-d and man. Sarah encountered many difficulties - she was abducted by Pharaoh. Her husband could not protect her from that. She struggled with Hagar and her son Yishmael. Yet she had great joy when in her old age she had a son.
Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born to him who is a hundred years old? and shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear Bereisheit 17.17
Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am grown old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also. Bereisheit (Genesis) 18.12
And the L-rd Said to Abraham, Why did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old: Bereisheit (Genesis) 18.13
There is one original explanation of G-d's rebuke to Sarah. Chizkuni 18.13 G-d's Criticism of Sarah is compared to a wise woman who wishes to rebuke her daughter-in-law. Instead, she directs her rebuke to her daughter, and the daughter-in-law can infer the indirect message. Similarly, G-d rebuked Avraham indirectly for his laughter by criticizing Sarah's behavior, in order to spare his feelings. This interpretation suggests that Sarah reached such great intimacy and closeness with G-d that she is comparable to the daughter, as opposed to Avraham - the more distant daughter-in-law. Tending the Garden Chana Weisberg page 29-30
What an amazing woman. What joy she must have experienced. Wanting for so many years to give Avraham a son, now she will. It is never too late, we can be bountifully Blessed by HaShem G-d at any moment in our lives.
We are looking this week at Simchah (Joy) and Humility (Anavah).
You will show me the path of life; in your Presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures for evermore: Tehillim (Psalm) 16.11
At our core, we are all holy
If we realize this our hearts will fill with joy.
Mussar tells us that, at our core, we are all holy, and it shows us ways to change those qualities within us that obstruct the light of our holiness from shining through us.
Just like a man conducts himself down here, so too he will merit to open that trait on high, mamash (literally) - according to how he acts, will be the Divine Flow from above Tomer Devorah Rabbi Moshe Cordovero ch.1 page 44
The Sages referred to the intellect as the Yetzer Tov and the forces within a person's soul as the Yetzer Hara. The intellect (the mind) is termed the Yetzer Tov because its modus operandi is to investigate the final result. One's bodily forces draw the sweetness of the moment into their net, even if this entails rebelling against HaShem. This shortsighted force is the Yetzer Hara. Ohr Yesrael Rav Yisrael Salanter page 320-321
What we are being told is what Kabbalah teaches us. We can bring Blessings into our lives by changing our behavior. Remember what Neil Armstrong said.... one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind. If we work to change our soul traits we too can change the world with G-d's Help. One small step.....Ready?
Ezekiel describes a special function that existed during the time when the Temple was still available to us - whoever entered the Temple immediately became aware of the powerful holiness of one's own soul.
Within the inner sanctum of the Temple was Ha Kadosh Ha Kadashim. One was very aware of the Holiness within the Temple. Because we exist in the physical world and given the fact that the Temple is no longer available for us to go to, we have lost the vision, the ability to see the holiness of our soul. Yet there are times when we can still feel it. We have all had such experiences. To become more aware of our soul and the holiness that is there we must have true humility, for nothing comes to us except from the Merciful Hand of HaShem G-d.
And the man Moses was very humble, more than any other men which were upon the face of the earth: Devarim (numbers) 12.3
Humility is not self nullification and not all pride is bad. Humility will encourage tikkum, Teshuvah. Humility is being honest with yourself.
Humility is the root of Divine service, and a small deed of the humble man or woman is a thousand times more acceptable to the Blessed One than a great deed of a proud man or woman. The Ways of the Tzaddikim Feldheim page57
He Guides the humble in judgment; and He teaches the humble His way. Tehillim (Psalms) 25.9
Rabbi Akiva's who was a student of Rabbi Nahum had a favorite maxim,
All that G-d does He Does for good.
Kol de'av Rachmnan letav avad
Humility is associated with spiritual perfection. When humility effects depression it is defective; when it is genuine it inspires joy, courage and inner dignity Abraham Isaac Kook, The Moral Principles, p. 176
Perhaps if we start our day with....
I give thanks to You, King Living and Everlasting, for You have restored my soul within me, with compassion. Great is Your Faithfulness.
Remembering that each and every breath we take, each moment of the day is a gift from G-d then we will have started our day with humility and gratefulness and joy will rule our lives.
We must remember when we are down to nothing,
HaShem is up to something
Blessings and Peace