Wednesday, April 17, 2013

“Love your Fellow as Yourself” by Reconnecting with the Soul of Souls

We have passed the border (מחסום) that separates between exile and redemption. The way is still long, but we are on the other side of the barricade. The period of exile is behind us, and we are stepping on the way to redemption. Even if we are quite far from the peak, still, with the grace of G*d, the main obstacles of the last two thousand years have been removed. 

Now we need to infuse the physical independence in our Land with true love for our people. In order to attain our goal of establishing a Jewish country that reflects the Divine ideal for Israel, we need to learn to truly love one another. 

This meditative practice helps us engender and integrate true love for all the people in our lives!

With Blessings of the Torah and the Land
Chana Bracha Siegelbaum

Read Rebbetzin's commentary to Haftorat Acharei Mot/Kedushim: "Connecting through Working the Land"

Parasha Meditation Kedoshim
Vayikra 19:1-20:27
In Parashat Kedoshim – the parasha that teaches us how to become holy – we learn about the prerequisite to love others, as we love ourselves. True holiness is not just about what we do outwardly, but it is even more about how we feel inwardly. A real holy person has learned to control his feelings, to think only holy thoughts about others, and to feel love and compassion for every creature. To be holy, is to let go of all the big and even small resentments that we may carry with us. Only then will we be able to truly love each other with a full heart as the Torah teaches:
  :לֹא תִקֹּם וְלֹא תִטֹּר אֶת בְּנֵי עַמֶּךָ וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ אֲנִי הָשֵם
“Do not revenge, and do not bear a grudge against the children of your people. Love your fellow as yourself, I am Hashem.”[1]

Learning to Forgive Ourselves
The Torah verse requires us to love our fellow, as we love ourselves. In order to give and receive love, we need to begin by learning to love ourselves. If we don’t have love for ourselves, all our relationships may suffer. It is impossible to fulfill this mitzvah from the Torah, and free ourselves from holding on to grudges, without deep inner spiritual healing work. Many of the women who come to me for EmunaHealing (Spiritual Healing) have difficulty loving themselves. They may be filled with guilt and shame and have a hard time learning to forgive themselves. In order to forgive ourselves we need to go into a meditative state, to get in touch with our guilt and its underlying causes, before we can remove it. The next step is then to work on forgiving others truly with all our hearts, and sending them love. This too, requires the meditative work of spiritual healing.

The Oneness of Love
The gematria (numerical value) of the Hebrew word for “love” – אַהֲבָה – ahava is thirteen. This is the same gematria as the Hebrew word for “one” – אֶחָד – echad. The number thirteen also alludes to the thirteen attributes of mercy.[2] Only when we become one with someone, can we really love that person. This is why the greatest love is between a mother and her baby, as they were one in her womb. To feel love, we need to reveal the aspect with which we unify with our friend.

Receiving Hashem’s Love – the Soul of Our Soul
The body is a vessel for the soul; the soul is a vessel for the Divine. Every Jew has a Divine spark of light and love emanating directly from Hashem. This is the source and power of our love – G*d’s love, which is beyond our reality. Hashem surprises us with endless love, if we only open for Him, even a small opening, to receive.
פתחי לי פתח כחודה של מחט ואני אפתח לכם פתח שיהיו עגלות נכנסים
“Open for Me like the opening of a needle, and I will open for you an opening for wagons to enter.”[3]

Sit comfortably in your chair, close your eyes and take deep breaths several times. Notice anything you may be holding onto, and let go... Connect with the light of Hashem, which always comes down from Above. Our body is continually filled with Hashem’s light and love even when we don’t see it or feel it; we know that we are filled with Hashem’s light.

1. Imagine Hashem’s light filling your head and spreading down your shoulders to the rest of your body. Picture your entire body as a light bulb filled with light.

2. Now try to get in touch with old feelings of guilt and resentment. Did someone ever embarrass or reject you? Did you ever feel a lack of love and consideration from a family member or a close friend? Did you yourself mistreat someone who needed you? Or do you feel guilty about something you’ve done? Tune into any images, words or feelings that come up for you.

Allow yourself to get in touch with any painful feelings that you may have repressed and swept under the rug.

3. Visualize these feelings as dark clouds within you. Try to locate these dark clouds in your body. Are there any in your head, in your throat or perhaps in your heart region?

4. Send Hashem’s light and love to each of the dark clouds within you. Keep breathing into them, one by one, until you feel them evaporate or burst.

5. Think about a person that you feel badly about for whatever reason. Visualize your bad feelings/resentments/grudges as dark clouds within you, within the other person, or on an imaginary string connecting the two of you.

6. Take Hashem’s light and send it to all of these dark clouds, one by one, until each of them evaporates or bursts. You can repeat this spiritual healing exercise with as many people as you can focus on at any given time. If necessary, you can continue at a different time.

7. Now send Hashem’s light and love to the person towards whom you had resentment. By sending light to someone that you have difficulty with, you have the ability to rectify your relationship with that person.

8. You may also send light to any person close to you. It could be a person you love very much, and who is in need of light and healing. See if you can feel where the person most needs this light from you, and direct your light to that place.

9. Keep sending light as long as you are able, and then wiggle your toes and fingers before opening your eyes. It is wonderful to repeat this meditation daily, opening yourself to receive Hashem’s light and sending it to different people in your life.

It is important to send love to everyone, especially to a person with whom we have difficulty relating. A friend of mine once had difficulty relating to one of her neighbors. They had had a dispute over trivialities. She decided to work on this by continually sending her neighbor love and light. One day, her neighbor sent her two challot for Shabbat (Shabbat bread), without there being any special occasion. Isn’t it amazing to experience the power of sending love to someone? It is so great that it can materialize into two Shabbat challot! This proves that sending love and light can overcome tension and difficulties that we may have with another person. This is what King Shlomo alluded to in his Proverbs:
 (ספר משלי פרק כז:יט) “כַּמַּיִם הַפָּנִים לַפָּנִים כֵּן לֵב הָאָדָם לָאָדָם”
“As in water, face answers to face, so the heart of man to man.”[4]

[1] Vayikra 19:18.
[2] The Thirteen Attributes of Mercy or Shelosh-Esreh Midot, enumerated in Shemot 34:6-7, are the attributes with which G*d governs the world.
[3] Yalkut Shimoni, Shir Hashirim, Chapter 5, Allusion 989.
[4] Mishlei 27:19.

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