Our forefather Abraham had a mind capacity and powers of reason that we can't begin to fathom. He realized – through observing the universe – that there is a single solitary G-d who defies any corporeal characteristics or description. Through intense observation and deep thought, Abraham arrived at the conclusion that G-d manifests Himself in the physical realm by way of the ten spheres and the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet, what the Midrash and Zohar call the building blocks that were used to create the universe. Together, these are the “thirty two lanes” that our forefather Abraham refers to in the opening chapter of the Sefer Yetzira, the “Book of Creation”, history's first Kabbalistic book.
The Sefer Yetzira talks about three dimensions of every Divine influence; they are olam, shana, and nefesh, or the dimensions of place, time, and body. In Chapter Four we learn the influences of several key letters. The letter Bet, for example, is the key influence of the planet Saturn (olam, place), Sabbath (shana, time), and the mouth (nefesh, body). The secrets in this tiny morsel are deep and vast. But from it, we learn how the mouth is especially connected to the Sabbath. We can now understand why speaking gossip and slander is seven times more devastating on Shabbat that it is during the week. Also, eating on Shabbat is much more holy than it is during the rest of the week.
The message of olam, shana, and nefesh - place, time, and body – teaches us vital information about ourselves and how to properly utilize our resources. The Gemara teaches us that man is a miniature world. With that in mind, just as conserving the earth's resources is vital to our sustenance, we must learn to conserve our own resources. Now that we're aware that Divine influences are manifest on three levels, we can do much to improve the quality of our lives.
Hashem enables our souls to fulfill their specific mission also by giving us the three dimensions of influence – place, time, and body. These are the soul's prime resources, which it must utilize effectively for a person to feel happy, fulfilled and successful. Consequently, when an individual squanders these vital resources, the soul suffers in the same manner that the entire world suffers when its natural resources are misused. Let's see how this works on an individual level:
Also featured this week:
Rabbi Shalom Arush: The Other Side of Arrogance
Rabbi Avraham HaCohen Kook: Three Priestly Blessings
Dr. Zev Ballen: The Old Neighborhood
Racheli Reckles: The Metamorphosis
Rivka Levy: No Mrs. Nice Guy
Dovber Halevi: Graduate-level Emuna
This week's editor's choice: The 21st Century Aryans, by Howard Morton - it's an eye-opener.
Have a great week! News of our upcoming (less than two weeks from now) USA-Canada speaking tour forthcoming, G-d willing...
If you're in Israel, don't forget about tonight in Hashmonaim. Hoping to see you!