Extracted from my post-retreat communication letter to the the Mexico retreat participants.
On the last day, we did a unique 4-step Nexus breakthrough guided vessel work to bring light to the dark side of our moon, which is synonymous (psycho-spiritually) with rising into our crown. You can do this 4-step process as many times as you like for the big things and the small things. It is nice to have a group or partner when going through the steps, but using a journal and some quiet time to reflect will also yield amazing results. [If you are reading this and you were not present at the retreat, stay tuned for when I am able to bring this to light in a bigger way bs”d, or contact email@example.com for a private session.]
Attesi will always have a cherished place in my heart. Carol Esther, Andrea and Danielle outdid themselves with attention to every detail. The food was out of this world – so healthy, interesting and delicious. And the venue – a pocket of Gan Eden on our troubled planet! May Attesi only know Bracha, success, peace and true Jewish nachas (no – not nachos! nachas 🙂 ) and many more wonderful retreats on their exquisite campus.
I now how thirsty you came and how much you wanted to penetrate the secrets of the feminine. The Kabbalistic teachings that are the heart of Nexus are completely revolutionary and require a lot of safety and commitment. I would like to look back at our sessions, quantify what we built and covered, and then for those of you that would like, explore your next steps in the amazing journey of actualizing your feminine potential as a Jewish woman. (One thing is for sure – I definitely came away feeling that the information needs to be put into book form – and made accessible to the world (and translated into Spanish beH! I will need donors!)
So here is a quick review.
At the opening session, we tasted the fact that the feminine has 2 parts – one that is called “Malchus” in mystical texts and the other that is called “Bina”. (Also referred to as “Rochel” and “Leah”!) The “higher feminine” is “Bina” and the “lower feminine” is “Malchus”. This was meant to “crown” the retreat as a sort of foreshadowing of what I wanted to impart in the sessions that followed.
The next morning, we went on the glorious forest hike. Though the meditation didn’t appear to have anything to do with the theme of rising into our higher feminine, the structure of Hashem’s name is the basis for all the Kabbalistic teachings that we eventually bring in our journey. (For example, the first and second heh’s are the two “feminines” and the yud and vav are the two “masculines”.)
It was at this point that there was sufficient grounding to begin to go more deeply into the story of creation – how there were 2 Chavas – not just one – and the first one turned into “Lili-th” – the demon and feminine archetype of evil, and of course what this all means practically. This is usually the moment of big shift. Unfortunately, we did not get to do this in the time that we had for the learning segment of this retreat. But I trust and know that everything is always as it is meant to be, and I thank Hashem for everything that He has given us and made possible at the retreat and in the larger community. This is exactly what the Chava course is and from that foundation the Sarah, Rivka, Rachel & Leah courses germinate and build on. Plus, learning this material over a longer period of time is WAY more conducive to your complete transformation. (Learn more here or see below for details how you can hook up with our learning community.)
The next day, having tasted that we are on a Divinely orchestrated and guided journey of revealing our full selves, on a mission of bringing moonlight back to its original grandeur, coming to know that our healing as the feminine indicates a much deeper level of world healing, and that our rise is the best thing that can ever happen to the masculine ;)… we set out to identify our subconscious blocks and barriers that were creating dis-harmony in our lives. I was so touched by your journeys of discovery and only wished we had more time to sit in our small groups of safety and breakthrough. This was where the magic happened, as you brought it from the mind (the masculine) to the heart and body (the feminine). Well, the lower feminine :), guided by your higher feminine Bina wisdom and knowing!
Enjoy just below this little sneak peak inside the curriculum! These are some of the “maps of femininity” that you will receive and beH be able to navigate your life with.
In short, Nexus is an unfolding journey and you are invited for the ride! There is a lot in the pipeline with Hashem’s help. If you are subscribed, stay tuned for my next global free summit beH, hosting the Jewish world’s best teachers and attended beH by thousands of women all around the world. If you haven’t yet participated in a Nexus world summit, check them out here.
Wishing you much hatzlacha and may you continue to Rise! through the light of Torah.
All my love,
You will also find the Sarah, Rivka and Rachel Leah courses, the Tefilla series (introduction to Chassidus), the Shalom Bayis series, A Torah approach to intimacy, and more at the school. Most of these have been transcribed into written form, too.
Based on the Ohr HaChayim HaKadosh on Parashas Breishis
Tishrei is coming to a close. The year is just beginning to manifest a recreation that took place this past month. It is with this sentiment that we read Breishis, the story of the creation of Heaven and Earth and all that will ever happen between and within them.
The Arizal says that the word Tishrei can be read in Hebrew as “תשרה” which can mean, “He shall dwell”. Indeed, that describes the spiritual potency of Tishrei in which Hashem Presence literally “dwelt” with us.
The question is – where do we go now? What happens next? Parashas Breishis give us the answer in the creation of Heaven and Earth. It is not Heaven that concerns G-d as much as the Earth. In a word, what He wants most now and where we need to put our energies – is integration – between Heaven and Earth.
The Ohr Hachayim, sometimes called the “Baal Shem Tov of Morocco”, commentator on the Torah, offers twenty mystical interpretations of the first few verses of the Torah, mostly attached to the very first word, “בראשית”.
The twentieth one really spoke to me and is painfully beautiful. He says: (adapted/ translated from the original Hebrew)
The creation of the world is in fact a hint to the creation of man, since the purpose of the world is man. This hinted layer of Torah can be seen in the words themselves.
“In the beginning Elokim created the Heavens and the Earth” – man Is comprised of two components, body and soul, hinted to in the words “Heaven” and “Earth”, since his body was taken from the earth and his soul was blown into his nostrils by Hashem.
The purpose of man’s creation is that he may convert his “earthiness”, his physicality, into into G-dliness and ruchniut (spirituality), into “Heaven”). When he succeeds in transforming his body’s dense physicality into holiness and light, he is called a tzddik and satisfies the purpose of all creation.
The other option for man is for his precious and holy soul, the component called “heaven”, to be pulled into the muck of his “earth” – his courser existence, and become obliterated there. This is the choice of the reshaim, the wicked.
Let’s see how this plays out in the ensuing verses.
“And the land was tohu and vohu – emptiness and chaos.” The land refers to man’s body, the base animalistic layer of unrectified humanity.
“And there was darkness…” This is the yetzer hara, since the evil inclination is called “darkness”…
“On the face of the deep.” The Evil inclination at this stage rules the body with a supreme monopoly. Like a black hole, the body just absorbs more and more of the evil one’s darkness into an imploding abyss devoid of G-d.
“And the Spirit of G-d hovered on the face of the water…” the spirit of Hashem, prohibited from entering the body of man, cannot penetrate to redeem what seems unredeemable, with its simple force of goodness.
“And G-d said, “let there be light”. Hashem sends the only possible agent of change into the darkness of the body to transform it – the soul, carrier of light, itself hewn from the throne of Glory and a piece of G-d Himself. In this way, we do not have to drown in the mire and muck of our baser natures.
“And G-d saw the light that it was good.” What was previously an impossible set-up now has a fighting chance. We can succeed in this world and the story of creation WILL have a good ending.
“And G-d separated between the light and the darkness…” But He didn’t remove the darkness. In order for us to truly earn the highest good, the battle remains. Evil will only be neutralized on the day that history is complete with the coming of Moshiach.
“And He calls the light “day” and the dark “night”” – let us not get confused between them. Let the chaos and emptiness of a purely physical existence be infused with our light and thereby be transformed. We can only achieve this when we have clarity, know what is what and call it such.
“And it was evening, and it was morning, one day”. Together the darkness and the light set the stage of our lives and are ultimately One in creating the most perfect world – an inner world, for us to transform, from darkness to light.
 (“on the face of the water refers to the waters of impurity, unchecked passion and greed)
 The light can also refer to the Torah which is called light. In truth, the soul, Hashem and the Torah are all one (Zohar)
I had just finished tracing the theme of loving-kindness through the book of Ruth and wondering why the story is one of particular agony when I had to run out to do a grocery shop. I remember exactly which aisle at Pick n’Pay I was standing when I bumped into my friend Nicole Landau. I was so happy to see her. I told her my question. Together we thought about the question and exchanged ideas as to possible answers and then with hints of smiles on the corners of our mouths we parted to do our shopping.
When I came home (ok maybe it was later that night) I was floored to see that the Vilna Gaon had the same question that had disturbed me.
I will take you through the commentary, so you can directly taste the sweetness of his writings and discover the answer the way that I did.
The midrash begins expounding on the Book of Ruth by saying “And it was in the days of the judging of the judges… בני הפכפכין המה”. This was a generation in which the judges were being judged by the nation, and rightfully so, as the leadership itself was suboptimal and as wanting as the people who were meant to be following their guidance. “They were hafachfachin” says the midrash, which is a hard word to translate into English. הפך means upside down, inverted, up-side-down. And the shoresh – the Hebrew root – of this word doubles on itself, הפכפך, to mean utter reversal.
How does Hashem to respond to a nation that is not following their leadership (and indeed whose leadership is not worthy to be followed) and that is described by the midrash as being hafachfechin – up-side-down? How does He guide a misguided and confused mess of a people back to some sort of alignment?
“To destroy them, I cannot do.” Says Hashem – they are not evil – just off kilter. And besides, He promised that He would never destroy us. “I will have to inflict them”, says Hashem. And the famine begins.
To understand the spiritual underpinning of what this midrash means, it is necessary to tap into the mystical tradition and transform the way we look at the megillah (and life!) by so doing. Suddenly, it will fall into place with stunning simplicity. It is about seeing rightly that allows us to perceive, interpret and therefore interact with our world.
The Vilna Gaon says that there are two concepts that without some grasp of them, we cannot begin to understand the deeper dimensions of life. They are reflected in the two names of Hashem, י-הוה and שקי (the dash in the first name and the ק in the second name are ways to get around the prohibition of not writing Hashem’s full name. The ק is a substitution for the letter ד.) The first name, י-הוה, combines within it the words היה, הוה, ויהיה – He was, He is, and He will always be. This alludes to the Divine trait of loving-kindness, which is essentially the quality of expansiveness and magnanimity which by definition knows no bounds. This is His deepest truth and essence; He created the world to do kindness for us, and just like His essence will never run out, His Kindness for us will never die.
The second name that He uses to manifest Himself in creation is the name שקי – which is a shortened form of the phrase שאמר לעולמו די – “that He said to His [infinitely expanding] universe [at the time of creation] enough!!” At some point He had to place a limit on the forces of creation so that the world could function as an arena for His intended inhabitants, man. Hence, the name שקי denotes His attribute of דין – which literally means judgement and justice – from the word די – “enough.” Judgement is not the withholding of love, rather, it is the force that distributes it according to the merit of the recipient, and to the degree that it is ultimately the most loving. Together with these two names, a perfect world came into being.
Since we are created in the image of G-d, we too are made up of these two qualities of spiritual material. The proper placement of these traits as intended by G-d is hinted to us in the secret of the Mezuza scroll.
On the inside of the parchment, the sofer, scribe, writes the Shema and within that seminal statement of faith is the name י-הוה. Once the script of the Shema and its accompanying paragraphs is complete the sofer rolls up the scroll and writes the name Shakai – שקי on its exterior. Some mezuza cases even mirror this law with the letter ש written decoratively on it.
The message of the mezuzah scroll is that the force of endless expansion which is the hallmark of giving should be applied on the inside of the mezuza, and the force of limitation and restriction should be applied to its exterior. The message hinted to here is clear. “Please”, says Hashem, “emulate me in my quality of kindness. Please place your never-ending appetite for more and more within the domain of your souls. Never stop learning Torah, never stop giving to others, never stop loving. Never stop praying and ascending higher and higher to reach your greatest potential.” Like the inside of the scroll, our souls should be the recipients of our constant and intense desire for expansion.
On the outside of the scroll, however, on the bodies which contain our souls like the mezuza exterior holds the parchment within it, we etch the name שקי. We feed our bodies the food it needs, clothe ourselves with dignity, house our families with comfort and furnish those homes with warmth. But in so doing we have a foot on the brake, knowing that ultimately life is a see-saw, each side vying for our intense interest and dedication. The soul, the body. The body, the soul. Where we put our weight at that moment defines us. At times, we need to shift our weight towards the soul. At times we get stuck in a more chronic state of imbalance where the soul starts to receive a limited energy supply, only after the needs of the body find their full satiation (which, says chazal, by definition never happens). Like cinderella, waiting to receive her chance to start living, the soul sometimes finds herself fulfilling all the chores of the body, with hardly anything left over for her own development and beauty. This imbalance – this off-kilter-ness – is what the midrash is referring to when they described the generation as being הפכפכין – up-side-down and back-wards-round. The proper qualitites are there – the chessed and the din – only in reverse.
How does Hashem, in His infinite loving-kindness, coax us back to spiritual health and appropriate balance of the powers within us, to live lives that He is proud of?
The formula is as follows; when we apply limits to our physical pursuits, He opens up the storehouses of bounty in Heaven and showers us with their goodness. When we scramble and worry for our material satisfaction, He “turns off the shower” so that we experience limitation – since we didn’t apply breaks from within, He applies them from without. The more we clamor for tasty morsels and luxurious delights for the body, the more Hashem frustrates our attempts, as if to say; “your focus is off. Leave the blessing to Me. There is no-one who does it better. But who will shepherd your soul to its scintillating potential if not for you? You’re on a see-saw – and you need to shift your position.”
Similarly, when we do chessed to others, Hashem approves of our placement of chessed and mirrors our human kindness with HisDivine variety. There is no better place to see this principle in action than the verse in Malachi 3;10 “הביאוני את כל המעשר אל בית האוצר… ובחנוני נא בזאת…. אם לא אפתח לכם את הארבות השמים והריקותי לכם ברכב עד בלי די”
“Bring your tithes to my storehouse (the temple) … you can test me on this …. [if you do] I will open for you the windows of Heaven and pour on you blessing without limit”.
Nowhere else does the Torah say; you can test me on this! These are the spiritual laws of the universe and can be trusted.
As women, there is a deep resonance with this spiritual laws which is contained in the laws of taking challah – an olive size amount of dough when a significant and specific quantity of flour is used. (That’s where the name challah comes from!) This mitzvah involves separating and ideally giving away the dough to the kohanim in the time of the temple. [Today, we dispose of the removed portion of the dough]. As paradoxical as it feels to remove some of the dough from the very mass of nourishment that you just sweated to create, the act itself contains the secret of blessing. When we can restrict our intake of physical pleasure, we allow our soul to soar to great places, and Hashem responds by blessing us with all our needs in ample supply. Its when blessing starts to dwindle that we need to ask ourselves – where am I off – where am I הפכפך – essentially flipped, that Hashem is trying to bring me back into alignment?
This explains the story down to its every detail. As Elimelech runs away from helping the poor, the famine intensifies. His sons forget about the plight of the land of Israel while in Moav and marry Moabite princesses. Since they don’t have stirrings of teshuva even after a ten-year grace period in which Hashem was hoping they would repent, Hashem has no choice but take their lives. (It is the perpetuation of the soul of Machlon actually through the act of yibum – as the mystics describe – that he is given another chance!) Naomi suffers – though she herself was not guilty of this character deficit of kindness – but then again, she did not protest adequately to the misdeeds of her husband and sons.
Ruth, called by the midrash a pearl in the sand, a descendant of Lot, the nephew of Avraham, carried this hidden trait of kindness within her miserly host nation, and is attracted to the Jewish people by the law of attraction of likes. Through her kindness to Naomi, a new trend is set in motion, and she then graciously receives the kindness of Boaz. Through unfailing faith in G-d’s goodness despite the hardest of times, slowly, slowly, a new balance is set and spiritual health is restored. Hashem, through His tears so to speak of having had to remove His name of י-הוה out of manifestation for while, smiles down on His tzaddikim, Rus, Naomi, Boaz, and indeed a whole nation recovering from their temporary lack of righteousness. Chessed and Din occupy their right places in the hearts of the people as well in the working of the world and the window of history closes with the heralding of the eventual mashiach through David HaMelech.
The Vilna Goan closes his commentary of the first verse with going back to the opening words of the scroll. “ויהי בימי שפוט השופטים – and it was in the days of the judging of the judges.”
We have two compartments of our hearts, two inclinations that drive and motivate us. The yetzer tov when he is allowed to rule manifests only good and blessing in our lives. When the yetzer hara is given the reigns, we experience doubt in Hashem’s kindness and misery only. But there is a third state – called זה וזה שופטן – when both the evil and good inclinations thrash it out – seeing who will overpower whom in any given moment. This is the state of הפכפכון – when we sometimes follow our higher drive to do good and sometimes follow our lower drive motivating our own personal physical or ego centered pleasure. This is the internal flipping motion of real life – or the state of human mediocrity – of being a בינוני, an in-between person, when we are constantly being bombarded by conflicted messages from both domains which leave us confused and exhausted.
“And it was in the days of the judging of the judges – when the yetzer tov reigned – as well as the yetzer hara/ evil inclination – that Hashem had no choice but to afflict us, to bring us back to a state of pure good in which He can shower us with His abundant love.
In this light, yesurim, the Jewish understanding of suffering, is a vote of confidence, a chance to eradicate traces of evil that wrack our systems and implant themselves into our beings and only serve to prevent the greatest blessings from reaching our doors. Having this view of the difficulties of our lives is what will eventually bring us back to Hashem, and allow us to become the next hero in the story that He is writing of the very life that we are living.
May we all respond to the call with greatest kindness – kindness to others, and in so doing, we bestow kindness onto our own souls – and allow Hashem to do what He longs to do the most.
Let us never be caught – Ruthless.