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A Dvar Torah for Nitzavim

Our Dvar Torah: What is the Soul
A Dvar Torah for Nitzavim: Deuteronomy 29:9 - 30:20

By Rabbi Shlomo Nachman ben Ya'akov © September 24, 2020

Our Haftara says:

I will rejoice with the Lord; my soul shall exult with my God, for He has attired me with garments of salvation, with a robe of righteousness He has enwrapped me; like a bridegroom, who, priestlike, dons garments of glory, and like a bride, who adorns herself with her jewelry: “My soul shall exult with my God.”

What is the soul? Many conceive of the soul as a ghostly character, some are like Casper the friendly Ghost, some are like his unkind brothers.
This is not the Jewish conception. Our sages teach us that the soul is more like a spark of the Holy Light, the Ohr Chadash. A closer simile for the soul then is to a spark. But a spark of what? A spark of the One Light, yes!

HaShem is echad. This tells us that HaShem is One without division or distinction. He is One with the Divine Light. HaShem is not a finite being like we are, however the closest conception we have for His Existence is “Being,” with a capital “B.” There is no Being like the Beloved.

The Consciousness of the One transcends all finite consciousness. His consciousness is Purity itself! Those who would Know such a Being must do so through a purified consciousness.

--- Let's read Likutey Moharan Book I, Lesson #211 ---

Our regular, daily consciousness is not always so pure. Our minds easily become unclean due to the contamination of materialism, of greed, of sexual impurity, of poverty, of riches.... but the Consciousness of the Holy One is Pure and Pristine. From this glorious consciousness the Ten Utterances of Creation issued forth. As the Scriptures are clear that sin can not enter into His Presence those who would do so must be purified.

But, how can a person purify his or her consciousness? Rebbe Nachman says:

...It is impossible to attain a clear mind other than by bonding to the tzaddikim.

What is the meaning? This important principle is so often misunderstood. What is meant by Tzaddikim? Moshe here represents the Mind, the Consciousness. Yosef represents the tzaddik. Rebbe Nachman explains, based on this, that perfection or purification of the Consciousness depends on attachment to the Torah, the revelation through Moshe Rabbeinu, and by action, depicted by Yosef. We must Will to study Torah, and then apply its precepts to our lives. This requires teshuvah, repentance. Teshuvah requires introspection and self awareness. True self awareness requires Torah precepts because this is HaShem Guide to Life. The Tzaddikim are those who dwell in the Consciousness of Torah.

On Rosh Hashanah Breslover Chassidim desire to go to Uman to associate the tzaddikim directly at Rebbe Nachman's grave site. Why was Rebbe Nachman such an amazing tzadik? Torah. What makes the tzaddikim righteous? Torah. Tzaddikim are those who actively incorporate Torah into their lives and who place HaShem ever before their eyes. One whose consciousness is filled the Light of Torah and the Love of the Beloved is a tzaddik.

Judaism is a Path of doing, of action. As Jews we focus on the “doing of Torah.” As is so often the case, there is an “other hand” to consider.

That is consciousness, seeking the Mind of G-d. Through Torah, emunah and devekut one achieves sanctity of Consciousness.

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