Topic: Consciousness | Posted:November 28, 2012
This is a very important portion. It is the first time that the Torah speaks about the battle between ourselves and what’s called “Sitra Achra,” the Negative Side – the story of Jacob coming toward Esau, the story of Jacob battling the angel. We face this battle daily with both our thoughts and our words, and on this Shabbat, we can draw great strength to help us defeat this Negative Side, and connect, instead, to Light.
Most of us think that our thoughts are fleeting, unimportant things. They come, they go, don’t leave a residue, don’t have an effect. I don’t think any of us have a full appreciation for the power that thoughts actually have on our lives; the powerful truth is that where we invest our thoughts we are investing our soul.
Let me explain. If you spend more than half of the day with thoughts of anger, jealousy, sadness, disappointment, and so forth, then that place is where your soul is, in negativity. Then tomorrow you wake up and you are sad. Do you know why? Because yesterday you put your soul in a dark room, so you shouldn’t be surprised that you wake up in the morning in darkness. Conversely, if you spend your day focused on and invested in thoughts of positive and happy things, sharing, spiritual matters, ways to help other people, then tomorrow you’ll wake up, you’ll have Light, joy, happiness - because you put your soul in a happy place. You invested your soul in a place of Light.
If your thoughts are connected to Light, then you will draw Light and blessings into your life. If your thoughts are connected to things that are not of Light, not of sharing, then your soul is disconnected from the Light and as a result you cannot manifest Light, can’t be happy, can’t assist others; all those things we want to accomplish with our lives cannot be accomplished when our soul is like this... and our soul gets like this because of our thoughts.
Therefore, the choice about where we will focus our mind is the single most important cause of our soul being connected to Light and life, or to darkness and death. Daily, we make this decision, with every thought. This week’s portion helps us to win the battle over letting our thoughts go towards the negative.
Now the second battle we face daily: words, which we do not realize the power of either. It says in Song of Songs “nafshi yitzah bidvaro,” which translates as, “my soul went out in speech.” What does that mean? The Baal Shem Tov said, “Every word that comes out of our mouth, takes with it a part of our soul.” It means that every time we speak, we are literally letting out an aspect of our soul… but that’s only part of it. Here is the incredible secret: every word that we say is actually the way we can sustain our soul.
When a part of our soul goes out with a word, it leaves a space, a diminishment. Now, the great understanding- the words that we say tell the Creator to send a new spark of Light into our soul to fill in the part we released... but that new spark the Creator sends is dependent on the words we are saying. If a person is saying positive words then the new Light that comes in is going to be from the Positive Side, connecting him to the Light. If a person is saying negative words then the new energy comes in is going to be from the Negative Side, connecting him to darkness.
This is the cycle that we go through. Everything about us, everything about what we draw into our life, good or bad, is dependent on the words that we say; and this is the secret about the replenishment of our soul. We have to understand the scale of this. If, in a day, you’re saying thousands of words, then in a week you are saying 150,000 words, then think about it - at the end of the week, that’s the soul you are going to have, based on all those 150,000 words.
These two elements have to be clear to us. Every word that I say takes out a part of my soul, and then also sends back new Light. The new Light that comes in is dependent on what type of word was said. Hopefully, with this understanding we change everything about the way we talk. This is a really beautiful thing, as ultimately, we have the power through our words to cleanse our soul.
Our words and thoughts connect us either to the Light of the Creator, allowing blessings and joy to flow into our lives, or to the Negative Side, allowing darkness and lack into our lives. Every single day – perhaps, in fact, every single moment - we are in a battle between these two sides. The gift that we are given in this portion, the gift that we are given from connecting to Jacob this week, is the assistance in overcoming the Negative Side. We are given the help to choose thoughts and words invested in Light, so that we may go forward not only drawing more Light into our lives, but also bringing more Light to all those around us.