I seem to be going through a pretty heavy time at the moment, spiritually. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, some years it feels like every day of the Omer is an ordeal you just have to get through, and learn the lessons from.
Some years it’s more obvious, some years less so, and this year – it’s completely in my face from the moment I wake up.
But God always prepares the balm before the blow, so at the same time as I’m being buffeted by severe doubts in my own efforts and capabilities, and also in God’s willingness to help me out of the pit I’ve fallen into, financially and spiritually, there’s Rav Ofer Erez, explaining why it’s actually all really OK, and exactly the way it’s meant to be.
Just today, I was listening to another dynamite class of his where he was talking about galut hanefesh¸ or the exile of the soul. In a nutshell, he explained that the main difficulty for our generation is that we all know what’s true: we’ve read the books, we’ve heard the news reports; we’ve done the research on Google – but we can’t actually get there.
So on the one hand, of course we know it’s bad to smoke, and bad to eat sugar, and terrible to eat margarine, and on the other hand mmmmm, yummy donuts…
Ditto with childrearing. Yes, we all know it’s terrible to criticise our offspring, and horrendous to feed them white pasta, and border-line neglect not to have deep conversations with them at least once a month. But then, who’s got the time, energy or patience for it to be any other way, especially these days?
The same is true in every area of our lives, from our marriages, to our earning abilities (make $100k a month, from home!) to our relationship with God. We can see how it could look, should look, has to look – and we just can’t reach it.
We don’t have the strength to talk to God every day. We don’t have the energy to try and hold our husband together while we ourselves are continually falling apart. We don’t have the motivation to keep hanging on for a miracle rescue, even though we really do know 100% that God can give us one in a second.
Because we’re stuck in ‘reality’, and our current ‘reality’ and truth don’t make good bedfellows.
Which is when you can get really broken, spiritually, unless you get clued-in about what’s really going on. What’s really going on is that God has set up the rules in this generation in such a way, that’s it impossible to win the game – unless you’ve got a big tzaddik behind you.
That’s the only way to do it, and Rav Ofer explained that both the Baal Shem Tov and Rebbe Nachman were talking about how it was going to be for our generation, more than 200 years’ ago.
Spiritually-crushed people can’t just go and uncrush themselves. They need outside help just to wake up in the morning, let alone to fight off their yetzers and start drinking green smoothies.
So if you’re caught in the gap between what you know to be true, and what you want to embody, and what is actually happening in your life, join the club. It’s the exile of the soul, we’re all in the same boat, and it’s going to take a tzaddik of the calibre of Rebbe Nachman or Moshe Rabbenu to spring us out of prison.